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Seattle Mariners Swing by Boston for Pit Stop

MARINERS (16-20) Δ Ms RED SOX (15-19) EDGE
HITTING (wOBA) -25.2 (29th) -0.8 17.4 (6th) Boston
FIELDING 16.5 (4th) -1.7 3.6 (13th) Seattle
ROTATION (tRA) 12.8 (8th) 1.5 -26.6 (29th) Seattle
BULLPEN (tRA) -8.9 (27th) -0.5 -0.9 (15th) Boston
OVERALL(RAA) -4.8 (16th) -1.5 -6.6 (17th) SEATTLE

Hitting has not been the problem for the Red Sox, but their run scored totals are a little deceiving. Cumulatively, Red Sox hitters have batted in parks that have averaged a 106 park factor for runs. Of course, that has similarly applied to Red Sox pitches. In fact, a little bit more so as they have pitched in situations averaging a 107 park fact for runs. That goes to show the sometimes folly of looking at unadjusted run totals.

I hadn't realized, or remembered, until just now that the Red Sox missed the playoffs in 2010 as well. So they haven't won a playoff game since 2008 and their odds don't look so good this year. If the gods of narrative could contrive an American League post-season without the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers or Angels in it, even with five spots, I would be tickled blush-red.

Unrelated to this series, here's a first for 2012:


Woooo, you've gone bold, Albert!

Mon 14 May 16:10


To date in 2012 Jason Vargas has a nearly 80% strand rate, which is quite a bit above what would be expected for him. That level is typically only maintained by very high strikeout pitchers, of which Vargas is not among. Additionally, Vargas' past history hints that his talent lies more in the traditional 70% area. That would lean toward Vargas being lucky so far this season in keeping the runners he's allowed on base from scoring. Paired with that is Vargas' exceptionally low BABIP (.221), about 65 points lower than we'd expect. So Vargas (and the Mariners' defense) has managed to keep runners off base and once on, from scoring.

I don't expect that to continue at this level and with Jason Vargas being in his fifth team-control year, he's due a sizable raise next season at the age of 30 regardless of performance and then will be a free agent after 2013. Not that I don't appreciate Vargas' stability as an AL average starting pitcher the last two years, but it may be time for Jack Zduriencik to seriously start figuring out Vargas' worth on the trade market.

What I'm unsure of is what positions of need Zduriencik might target for a return. More pitching? More outfielders? You might think that first base could be the most pressing need for the Mariners, but that's also a position that Alex Liddi, Mike Carp, Vincent Carticala or someone with similar defensive limitations could end up if Justin Smoak fails to improve.

It's funny that Vargas might end up being the most valuable player from the Franklin Gutierrez/J.J. Putz trade. You never know with baseball. You never know with anything, because the future is unknowable.

Tue 15 May 13:05


Little has changed with Blake Beavan this season from last, but one area where he has improved is in first pitch strikes. He's starting off many more at bats with pitches in the strike zone and for a pitcher without much of an out pitch, getting ahead is always going to be important for Blake. Unless he wants to go back to throwing in the mid-90s or develop a breaking ball or something. You're only 23, Blake, don't peak this young.

Josh Beckett has been filleted by Boston, but the glaring problem for him has only been too many home runs allowed. That's a big problem, but when all the other numbers look normal or close to for him, my bet is that it's just a fluke. Beckett isn't going to return to the form from Boston's playoff runs though. The ground balls have fallen off too much for too long and the strikeouts aren't likely to come all the way back into the 23% range from his present day 17%, but he's still capable of being a good pitcher.

Series Beer: St-Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale
I've had the apricot ales brewed by Pyramid and Dogfish Head and found neither worth writing about. I thought they were fizzy, lacked depth and felt watery to me. With reluctance did I pick up the apricot wheat ale from McAuslan, only doing so because it's a brewery I'm completely unfamiliar with. I am glad that I did, because this is how I think a fruit beer should be. The apricot dominates the aroma, but not the flavor. The taste, feel, everything of this was like a normal wheat style, just with the lovely scent of apricots everywhere. I had this beer four days ago and I can still still apricots from the empty bottle.