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Series Preview: Seattle Mariners @ Texas Rangers

Seattle: 1-3
Texas: 1-2

-7.2 (27th) -7.2 -6.0 (28th) Seattle
0.0 0.0 0.0 Push
-3.0 (22nd) -3.0 2.8 (6th) Texas
0.1 (12th) 0.1 -3.9 (29th) Seattle
-10.1 -10.1 -7.1 TEXAS


Well that could have gone better. It could also have gone worse. It's been four games and the big question to ask yourself is this: have you changed your mind on anything? Forget the 1-3 record. Have you seen anything in these four games that would change any of your individual player projections for all of 2010? No, you have not. 


Fri Apr 9, 17:05: Jason Vargas* vs. Colby Lewis

Sat Apr 10, 12:10: Felix Hernandez vs. Matt Harrison*

Sun Apr 11, 12:05: Ian Snell vs. Scott Feldman

I get having day games during the weekends, but why are the start times so slightly different? I could come up with a reason for it to be slightly later on Sunday, but why earlier? The best I can come up with is that it is a getaway game for the Mariners since they have to fly back to Seattle afterward, but was five minutes going to really be felt? Hey, maybe it's enough extra rest to do without a seventh reliever! What do you say, Wak?

So we get to be second hand participants in the Colby Lewis return to baseball. I really hope we don't embarrass ourselves because that's annoying enough already and doubly so when we do it against a division foe, but I also really don't want to deal with the resulting megahype that will come Lewis' way if he works us over like Dallas Braden did.

What does he throw? I have no idea. I have exactly 77 typed pitches for Colby Lewis as a starter in my database. He was awful in that one start. He was awful before that too. He was universally awful and then he went to Japan for two years and was like the best pitcher ever. I'm not going to even try. I can tell you what he threw back in 2007. It involved mostly a 90mph fastball and a mix of other slop.

People around the baseball community have made much hay over Lewis' fantastic strikeout to walk ratio in Japan, especially last season. It is a genuinely great ratio. 186 strikeouts and just 19 walks is a 9.8 ratio, almost double the next best pitcher in Japan. Two small points though, first Lewis pitched in the non-DH league in Japan. If I recall, Japanese stats have in the past been put on the equivalence scale somewhere between Triple-A and Double-A and the Central League is like Japan's NL.

Secondly, despite walking only 19 batters, Lewis plunked 14. You can't ignore hit batters as they get a free base just like if they walked and often times they illustrate more wildness on the part of the pitcher than walks do. I've long been a proponent of discussing "net walks" which I define as BB+HBP-IBB. That's the number used in FIP and it just makes sense when talking about a pitcher's control.

I don't know what it's like in Japan, but given the massive upward trend in hitters crowding the plate here in the States, I might look for high HBP totals here to. When you factor in HBPs, Lewis's strikeout to net walk ratio is down to 5.6. Still great, don't get me wrong, but when we're talking about a level of competition that might be equivalent to Double-A, try to stay grounded. With that said, boy is he going to own us. He's going to own us something fierce.

There was actually some changes in the pitch charts after only one start! For instance, Felix generated so many ground balls off his fastball in the season opener that his career (spanning the pitch f/x era) rate went from 52.24% to 52.39%! SACREBLEU, WHAT A PITCH!! Okay, that's a minuscule change but it happens to straddle my pre-determined line (52.32%) between what constitutes a 75 rating from an 80 in ground balls on four-seamers.

More impressively, Felix's curve went from 60-50-65 to 55-45-70. Again, it's not like there were huge swings in his rates, but by pure happenstance, Felix's curve was hanging out right on the border just waiting to cross all three categories like a Cuban hanging around a poorly patrolled marina with lots of rafts.

Jason Vargas Felix Hernandez Ian Snell
Pitch % Sp K BB GB
Fastball 64% 88 30 30 40
Change 17% 80 80 70 35
Slider 8% 82 20 20 40
Sinker 8% 82 80 35 45
Overall -- -- 45 45 35
Pitch % Sp K BB GB
Fastball 69% 94 75 60 80
Slider 13% 88 75 65 75
Curve 10% 83 55 45 70
Change 8% 87 65 70 80
Overall -- -- 60 60 70
Pitch % Sp K BB GB
Fastball 58% 92 55 35 40
Slider 27% 84 70 55 40
Change 13% 84 40 25 60
Overall -- -- 60 50 45

Colby Lewis Matt Harrison Scott Feldman
No Data
Pitch % Sp K BB GB
Fastball 64% 91 50 45 65
Change 15% 81 70 45 25
Sinker 12% 86 50 25 60
Overall -- -- 40 40 50
Pitch % Sp K BB GB
Fastball 66% 91 55 50 70
Slider 15% 85 20 25 60
Curve 12% 76 45 35 50
Change 7% 84 35 20 25
Overall -- -- 35 40 55