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Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles @ Seattle Mariners

MARINERS (26-26) Δ Ms ORIOLES (24-27) EDGE
HITTING (wOBA) -40.5 (29th) -3.1 -27.3 (26th) Baltimore
15.1 (5th) -6.2 2.6 (12th) Seattle
8.1 (6th) 1.4 -14.7 (25th) Seattle
-17.2 (22nd) -7.8 -39.4 (27th) SEATTLE

The Yankees are no easy offense to deal with and they gave fits to our starters, but a yeoman's job by the bullpen and a tepid but opportunistic offense gave us the series win. Against the best team in the American League, I will take it happily. I'm trying my best not to take the relevance of the Mariners for granted. Given that the season has looked dead in the water at least twice already, just being around .500 is nice. That the rest of the division is cooperating by stupidly not being healthy is a pure bonus. 

Our fortunes could change in a hurry and I'm not one to proclaim ever long faith in either Fister or Vargas to succeed indefinitely, but consider:
Felix Hernandez, signed through 2014
Michael Pineda, team control through 2016
Doug Fister, team control through 2015
Jason Vargas, team control through 2013

Only two teams have managed to use just five starting pitchers this season and guess who they are?. The Rockies, by contrast, have used nine starters already. The Orioles will drop out of the club on Wednesday if/when Brian Matusz makes his season debut and the Mariners will stand alone. It's cool though, we prefer it that way. Our relationships are just, like, deeper, you know? We're not all about playing the field like those amorous Coloradans.

Mon 30 May 13:10


Jake Arrieta might be more dangerous than he looks based on this chart. His strikeout rate has nearly doubled this season, though it does not appear to be supported by a better tendency to make hitters miss. With his awful control, I'm not sure there's much of a reason to even bothering swinging the bat against him in the first place. Let him walk you, Mariners. For the sake of our comment threads, let him walk you, Chone Figgins.

The rotation over the last two days and coming three is Felix, Vargas, Fister, Bedard, Pineda which some might recall was also the initial rotation the Mariners used this season. It took about two months, but they have come all the way around back to where they started. And look at that, .500 record! That's 52 completely wasted games.

Doug Fister has made ten starts this season and has thrown 105 or more pitches in eight (80%) of them. Last year that happened on only five of 28 (18%). I don't suppose that means much --it's an arbitrary cut off point-- but Fister has certainly been throwing more pitches per start this year.

Tue 31 May 19:10


Erik Bedard's ground ball grade on his sinker went figuratively off the charts thanks to his last start. Nineteen balls were hit against Bedard in that start and 14 stayed on the ground including 10 from his sinker.

You might never guess from his terrible grades here that Jeremy Guthrie so far has 40 strikeouts and just 10 walks on the season and despite a 2-6 record has just a 3.63 ERA. Guthrie has taken a significant step forward in throwing strikes this season when he was poor in that area both in 2009 and 2010, but he's not going to fool many hitters. Carlos Peguero might even hold it to just one strikeout should he start.

Wed 01 Jun 12:40


Michael Pineda followed the best start of his young career with his worst but there's no need to over react to it, or to even react in any negative way. Like the loss that stopped our recent winning streak, it's probably a good thing for Pineda to experience some discomfort. It might motivate him to continue honing his change up should he need any additional motivation. More importantly, it gives us fans the chance to realize how dominant Pineda has been by finally giving us a start to contrast all the others with. And he still didn't get knocked around like we've seen Jason Vargas so many times, he simply did not have his usual control. He should not have borrowed Tom Wilhelmsen's control.