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Series Preview: Cleveland Indians @ Seattle Mariners

-5.2 (21st) -6.5 2.5 (11th) Cleveland
5.4 (5th) 1.3 -1.3 (21st) Seattle
-0.6 (22nd) -0.4 2.9 (7th) Cleveland
-0.4 (14th) -5.7 4.1 (11th) CLEVELAND

The pitching wasn't the problem. The rotation turned in a pair of good starts and the bullpen was satisfactory. The Rangers offense dropped a few tenths of a run over the series.

The Mariners welcome in the hated Cleveland Indians to Safeco Field to begin the 2011 home season. Remember to hate them for making Joey Cora cry in 1995 and for post-hoc ruining our 117-win season in 2001. It's been 10 and 16 years and revenge is a dish best served cold. The Indians' main lineup so far includes five left-handers and two switch-hitters. I don't know if they will attempt to deploy Austin Kearns and Adam Everett to balance the lineup out against Vargas and Bedard, but neither is much of a threat at the plate any longer so there's a limit to how much mitigating these two could accomplish.

Fri 08 April 19:10


Alright! Home Opener! Woooo, Felix Da -- what? Jason Vargas? Aw, man. I probably undervalue Jason Vargas or at least his change up. His change up is quite a good pitch and Safeco Field is the perfect place for Vargas to pitch, affording him a margin of error for his fly balls. Change ups are traditionally a better pitch against opposite-handed hitters so Vargas against the Indians line up might not be as dominating as you would expect seeing so many left-handed hitters. 

Carlos Carrasco also has a good change up, but being right-handed is a more of a threat than Vargas because he gets to use his change up to better neutralize our biggest left-handed threats and also because Carrasco gets to face the Mariners. Lucky not-Mariner players.

Sat 09 April 18:10


As you will hear in further discussion on the upcoming LL Podcast (or not), if the Mariners call up Josh Bard to take Adam Moore's roster spot then the team has an opportunity to run out or normal lineup except for the middle infield with Bard at catcher, Adam Kennedy at second and Luis Rogriguez at short stop. The side effect of that seemingly random alignment is that every hitter would be either left-handed or switch-hitting.

Come on, Wedge. Nine lefty hitters against Justin Masterson. You know you want to do it. Masterson has about a 200-point OPS platoon split over his career. Doooooooooo it. Meanwhile, taking the hill for the Mariners on Felix Hernandez 2010 A.L. Cy Young Bobblehead Night is Doug Fister

Sun 10 April 13:10


Josh Tomlin's a weird cat. His sinker is a good pitch at generating swings and misses even while he keeps it in the strike zone, but he doesn't get ground balls out of it. It's actually more of a cutter than a true sinker. For as effective as his curve ball is, you'd expect him to feature it more, but it's better for us that he doesn't. Tomlin throws strikes so it might behoove the top half of our lineup to be aggressive and go for fly balls. For Figgins, that means he might get one all the way out to an outfielder.

Erik Bedard's curve ball, unlike Vargas' change up, is a pitch more suited to destroying lefties so that coupled with the day start makes me expect a more balanced batting order for this game. However, there's a limit to how many righties the Indians call roll out there so I am looking for Bedard to show us some solid success in this outing and further raise our hopes before dashing them on the hidden tide rocks lurking just below the surface.