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Rampaging Mariners Invade Texas

HITTING (wOBA) -1.9 (19th) 1.3 -1.0 (17th) Texas
FIELDING 3.3 (5th) 1.5 0.9 (14th) Seattle
ROTATION (tRA) 0.0 (16th) 0.2 3.1 (6th) Texas
BULLPEN (tRA) -1.3 (22nd) 0.7 2.5 (4th) Texas
OVERALL(RAA) 0.1 (14th) 3.7 5.4 (8th) TEXAS

All black in the delta column for the Mariners as the two-game stand in Oakland went about as well as could have been hoped for. Even though the team allowed 10 runs in the two games, the pitching ticked up as offenses exploded across the league. A far cry from the first slate of games which were pitching dominated. While the first few days of regular season baseball averaged about five runs per contest, it jumped to 9.5 over Saturday and Sunday.

These games have already and will continue to be billed as a good test for the Mariners. And that's true, but they're also just four games. They're four games that matter, but not four games that will provide definitive proof of anything.

Mon 09 Apr 17:05

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Please don't be embarrassing. Please don't be embarrassing. Please don't be embarrassing.

Jesus Montero is sitting this game out by the way. Dustin Ackley have Dustin Ackley DH and Munenori Kawasaki playing second base. That means seven left-handed hitters in the line up and yet Miguel Olivo starts over John Jaso. I'm starting to think Jaso's never going to play until an injury forces it. It can't be that Noesi can be demonstrably more comfortable throwing to Olivo.

Tue 10 Apr 17:05


So the Rangers finally moved Neftali Feliz into the rotation in the season in which a nearly identical ERA from the year before masked a gigantic drop off in actual effectiveness. In 2010 Feliz struck out 71 and walked or hit 23, but that fell to 54 and 30 last year. The most curious part is that the drop was almost entirely against right-handers, of which Feliz is one. Facing left-handed hitters, Feliz struck out 36 and walked 11. Against a nearly same number of right-handers, he punched out 18 and walked 19.

It was a totally bizarre happenstance that I'd never seen before. Relievers are vulnerable to small sample size weirdness, but this is a yawning difference and particularly makes the move into the rotation an odd to me. Especially so when it coincided, somewhat, with moving Alexi Ogando from the rotation, where he was fine, back to the bullpen. Flipping the two's roles makes sense long term for the Rangers, Feliz being younger and regarded as having a higher ceiling -- but it is curious to happen now.

Meanwhile, Blake Beavan exists.

Wed 11 Apr 17:05


A little bit lost in all the Jason Vargas of the first four games and the looking forward to Yu Darvish of tonight's game is that the back of the Mariners rotation is Blake Beavan and Kevin Millwood. If I were using speech recognition software, there would have been a really long sigh typed out after that previous sentence. Nothing against either of those two, but Michael Pineda and Erik Bedard and Doug Fister they are not. Not as writing topics, not as pitchers to watch, not as people. Somewhat so as chemical compounds. When you get really into it, we're all pretty much the same.

Okay, but what about the game?
Oh, right.

Kevin Millwood was in a gradual but steady decline in the American League for four straight seasons. For example, his swinging strike rates from 2007-10 went: 7.2%, 6.8%, 6.4%, 6.0%. That's troubling, now, for us Mariner fans because now Kevin Millwood is a Mariner pitcher instead of a Rangers or Orioles pitcher.

No one number tells a complete story however, and Millwood's contact rates have been far more level (though still ticking up a bit). Hitters weren't being fooled increasingly less often by Millwood's stuff so much as they were swinging less often in general. And then came Colorado. In an abridged quarter of a season last year, Millwood changed tack and posted improved, some strikingly so, rates across the board. More strikes, more swings and misses, more ground balls. Is that a resurgence or a fluke? Did the move to the National League have a hand in it? We will start finding out soon.

Thu 12 Apr 11:05


I had a mental impression of Derek Holland as an annoying pitcher for the Mariners to face and not just because it means that I have to see this:

Sure enough, a look at Holland's career splits shows that in 48 innings pitched against the Mariners, Holland has 47 (24%) strikeouts, 13 (6.5%) walks and just four (2%) home runs allowed. Compared to his non-Mariner stats of 18% strikeouts, 9% walks and 3% home runs. C'mon, Mariner hitters, wipe that self-satisfied little grin off his face for a little while at least.

Series Beer: Widmer Brothers W'12 Dark Saison.
Widmer is mostly known for their hefeweizen, but I find it a bit watery and uninteresting in flavor, relying much on the citrus-y elements that I already get in abundance from northwest-style IPAs. That's not to say Widmer doesn't make some good beers though. This year's Brewmaster's Release is a darker bodied saison (a.k.a. farmhouse) style beer. It still tastes like a saison does mostly of spices and fruits, but has a touch more sweet malt to it that blunts the usually tartness.