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Series Preview: Seattle Mariners @ Boston Red Sox

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MARINERS (11-15) Δ Ms RED SOX (11-13) EDGE
HITTING (wOBA) -7.3 (21st) 5.9 3.3 (13th) Boston
FIELDING (UZR) 0 - 0
ROTATION (tRA)
5.1 (7th) 3.2 -6.9 (24th) Seattle
BULLPEN (tRA)
1.8 (15th) 1.8 4.2 (8th) Boston
OVERALL(RAA)
-0.5 (17th) 10.9 0.6 (15th) BOSTON

A series later makes all the difference! The Mariners launched just four extra base hits in a four game set against Oakland and then went off in Detroit and smashed 12 in three games. It was a series that proved to be a tonic that was so badly needed by three of our biggest strugglers. Erik Bedard tossed a gem. Miguel Olivo homered twice which is also how many times he struck out. Okay, Miguel, I will accept your crazy swings from here on out so long as for each strikeout, you hit a home run. Even Chone Figgins had five hits, a walk and reached base twice via error.

Speaking of, the Mariners lead all of baseball in reaching base via error (RBOE). In fact, on an individual player basis, Jack Wilson leads with five. Behind him is a three-way tie of Chone Figgins, Milton Bradley and Marlon Byrd. In case you're ever wondering why there's a giant discrepancy between the wOBA that I list and the ones that FanGraphs lists, it's because FanGraphs does not include RBOE and I do, per Tango's formula.

The Mariners have grounded into the league's lowest number of double plays at just nine. The Cardinals have grounded into 35 and Albert Pujols alone has nine. By this one measure, the Mariners entire offense is as good as Albert Pujols is by himself, which sounds about right.

Fri 29 April 16:10

JASON VARGAS* DAISUKE MATSUZAKA

Daisuke Matsuzaka has a reputation for being a very slow pitcher. It is not an unearned reputation. Brad Penny belongs in that discussion now though. Still, Matsuzaka remains the title holder in this particularly death-worthy statistic and oh goody there's Clay Buchholz too! And never mind trying to get them out of the game because Daniel Bard checks in at 26 seconds between pitches and Jonathan Papelbon at a skin-crawling 31 seconds.

Jason Vargas averages 19 seconds between pitches. He's the second fastest among Mariner starters, behind Chirps at 18 seconds and just ahead of Maestro Felix's 20 seconds. The Mariners are throwing their three quickest working starters at the Red Sox who will respond in kind with three versions of the guy who cannot decide between the red or green curry at the mediocre Indian place on the corner. It's not like this is good stuff; just pick one you jackass!

Sat 30 April 16:10

DOUG FISTER JOHN LACKEY

Doug Fister's gameday photo is adorable looking and Fister himself has earned some rugged bonus points with his scruffy but not gross new beard. Meanwhile, John Lackey is still John Lackey*. On principle alone, every vibrating string in the multiverse** should be rooting on our side in this one.

*Don't look directly at it. Image best viewed through a shoe box lens like an eclipse.**

**This game brought you to cosmology! Gooooooo Science!

Sun 01 May 10:35

FELIX HERNANDEZ CLAY BUCHHOLZ

Clay Buchholz has never been one to throw many strikes or be stingy with the walks allowed, but he would get by with above average strikeouts. Thus far into 2011, Buchholz has seen his swinging strike rate drop two points and is now below average and he has just 15 strikeouts and 15 walks through 27 innings. Oh, and his ground ball rate has dipped below average as well.