The Orioles are what we want the Mariners to become. Well, maybe not the 2015 Orioles, who look a bit like the 2015 Mariners so far actually. No we want the Mariners to be the 2012-2014 Orioles, a team that averaged 91 wins, made 2 playoff appearances and managed to slay the mighty AL East in 2014. The team was built on a combination of drafting well, shrewd trades and the odd free agent acquisition. Sound similar?
The Mariners Train built up some speed in the recent 6-3 homestand however they still find themselves 17-20, well back of the Astros with the Angels still between them. They are in desperate need of a quality start from Taijuan Walker. It speaks to Walker's dismal season thus far that his FIP is 5.02 and we are desperately hoping his ERA regresses toward that mark. The things to look for with Walker are the same as always: fastball command, and a willingness to throw a breaking pitch. In fact focus especially on that last one since:
Avg SP throws a breaking ball 23% of the time. Walker throws his 6.5%. Basically, he is pitching like a reliever.— Eric Blankenship (@FGChoo) May 18, 2015
Walker has a sky high BABIP and absurdly low strand rate but these are not all luck factors. He, largely, has been a bad pitcher so far this year.
In better news the Mariner offense has been showing signs of life and will face a potentially favorable match up in Miguel Gonzalez. Gonzalez has thus far outperformed his FIP on the way to a 2.93 ERA and 0.6 fWAR in 46 surprisingly effective innings. There is little in the peripherals, however, suggest he is much more than an adequate at best major league starter.
The Mariners may need to score 5+ runs to win tonight's game. But at least the lineup looks like one of the better ones they can throw out there. At least until newly acquired Welington Castillo falls from heaven to save us with his spectacular averageness.
Need more? If you rummage over in this corner you'll find the series preview and over in that other corner, underneath the old box of 8 tracks you can probably find the Q&A with brother-sister blog Camden Chat. Also, read this terrifying analysis on Robinson Cano. You are now fortified and ready to baseball.
- Mariners @ Orioles, 4:05 PST, Camden Yards
- TV: ROOT, Radio: 710ESPN, Online: MLBTV
|SEATTLE MARINERS||BALTIMORE ORIOLES|
|Seth Smith - LF||Manny Machado - 3B|
|Brad Miller - DH||Jimmy Paredes - DH|
|Robinson Cano - 2B||Adam Jones - CF|
|Nelson Cruz - RF||Chris Davis - 1B|
|Kyle Seager - 3B||Steve Pearce - 2B|
|Logan Morrison - 1B||Travis Snider - LF|
|Mike Zunino - C||J.J. Hardy - SS|
|Dustin Ackley - CF||Alejandro De Aza - RF|
|Chris Taylor - SS||Caleb Joseph - C|
|Taijuan Walker - RHP||Miguel Gonzalez - RHP|