Aug
03

8/3-8/5 Series Preview: Seattle Mariners

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Didn’t these two teams just meet? The Yankees took two of three from the Mariners in Seattle last week, but lost Alex Rodriguez to a hand injury in the process. Felix Hernandez hit him with a pitch. Will the Bombers retaliate? I’m guessing no, it’s not worth losing someone to a suspension.

What Have They Done Lately?

The Mariners haven’t lost a single game since the Yankees beat them last Wednesday. They took four straight from the Royals and four straight from the Blue Jays, all at home. This hot streak has moved them into … still last place. Seattle is 50-57 with a +3 run differential, well out of the AL West race.

Offense

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Away from Safeco Field, the Mariners have been a completely different team this year. They’ve mustered a pathetic 65 wRC+ at home this season compared to a 98 mark on the road. They’re basically league average offense away from Safeco, a marked improvement over the last two or three years.

Seattle’s best hitter all season has been John Jaso (138 wRC+), who is essentially a platoon bat against righties. Michael Saunders (108 wRC+) and Kyle Seager (101 wRC+) have been solid as well, ditto Mike Carp (98 wRC+) and Casper Wells (98 wRC+) in smaller samples. Ichiro Suzuki came to the Yankees and has been replaced by the recently acquired Eric Thames (one homer in three plate appearances) and the recently recalled Trayvon Robinson (4-for-12). The rest of the roster is filled out by Dustin Ackley (79 wRC+), Brendan Ryan (67 wRC+), Chone Figgins (48 wRC+), Miguel Olivo (46 wRC+), and Munenori Kawasaki (28 wRC+).

And, naturally, we have to talk about Jesus Montero. The former Yankees wunderkind has hit .260/.305/.395 (89 wRC+) with ten homers this season, doing most of his damage against lefties (178 wRC+) and on the road (118 wRC+). He’s been abysmal against righties (47 wRC+) and at home (61 wRC+). Montero has been pretty awesome since the All-Star Break (.323/.400/.477), and he’s already homered once at Yankee Stadium this season. I highly recommend this Lookout Landing post breakdown his season.

Pitching Matchups

Friday: LHP CC Sabathia vs. RHP Kevin Millwood
It’s the exact same three guys the Yankees saw in Seattle last week. Millwood held the Bombers to three runs in seven innings in the series opener, and overall has pitched to a 3.90 ERA and 3.46 FIP. He’s doing it with peripherals that don’t exactly jump out at you –6.48 K/9 (16.9 K%), 3.20 BB/9 (8.3 BB%), and 44.6% grounders. Millwood sits right around 90 with the four-seamer, two-seamer, and cutter, backing them up with a low-80s slider, a low-80s changeup, and a low-70s curveball.

(AP Photo/Kevin P. Casey)

Saturday: RHP Hiroki Kuroda vs. RHP Felix Hernandez
Felix pitched pretty well when he wasn’t busy breaking A-Rod‘s hand last week, allowing two runs in 7.1 innings. He’s allowed two earned runs or fewer in eight of his last nine starts, leading to a 2.79 ERA and a career-best 2.93 FIP. The strikeout (8.88 K/9 and 24.4 K%) and walk (2.38 BB/9 and 6.5 BB%) rates are ridiculous, though the ground ball rate (46.3%) is down quite a bit from recent years. Felix is more low-90s with the fastball than mid-90s these days, but his secondary stuff — upper-80s changeup, mid-80s slider, low-80s curveball — is among the very best in the game. He’s nasty.

Sunday: RHP Freddy Garcia vs. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma
The Yankees scored just one run off Iwakuma last week, but they forced him out of the game after five innings due to his pitch count. The Japanese veteran will be making his sixth start since coming out of the bullpen, and overall he’s pitched to a 4.10 ERA and 5.27 FIP. The strikeout (7.58 K/9 and 20.2 K%) and ground ball (52.4%) rates are solid, but the walk rate (4.25 BB/9 and 11.5 BB%) is not. Iwakuma is a classic kitchen sink type, throwing a low-90s four-seamer, a low-90s sinker, a mid-80s splitter, a low-80s slider, and a low-70s curveball. The Yankees will be the first team to see him twice as a starter, so hopefully that experience pays off.

(Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Bullpen Status
Both clubs are coming off scheduled off days, so the bullpens are rested. The Mariners’ relief corps looks quite a bit different than it did last week following the trades of Brandon League and Steve Delabar, but it is still anchored by closer Tom Wilhelmsen (2.44 FIP) and LOOGY extraordinaire Lucas Luetge (2.14 FIP vs. LHB). Shawn Kelly (3.49 FIP) handles most of the right-handed setup work these days, though Josh Kinney (3.77 FIP) figures to see some late-inning time as well.

Two recently recalled rookies have taken the place of League and Delabar. Hard-throwing but erratic right-hander Stephen Pryor (5.33 FIP in limited action) is back off the DL and fellow righty Carter Capps is the third 2011 draftee to reach the big leagues behind Trevor Bauer and Cody Allen (a 23rd round pick by the Indians). The next appearance Capps makes will be his first as a big leaguer. The last guy in Seattle’s bullpen is Oliver Perez (1.80 FIP), who appears to have found some success in the great northwest. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for details on Joe Girardi‘s bullpen, and check out U.S.S. Mariner and the aforementioned Lookout Landing for the latest and greatest on this weekend’s opponent.

Categories : Series Preview

30 Comments»

  1. Eddard says:

    The Mariners are hot as a firecracker right now but we should have no problem taking at least 2/3. CC has to bounce back and be the ace that we signed him to be. Kuroda-King Felix will be a great matchup.

  2. Cris Pengiucci says:

    Yankees HAVE TO SWEEP or the season is over!

    OK, returning from the ledge now.

    I expect 2 of 3. A sweep would be nice. It’s certainly doable, even with King Felix going for Seatle. Kuroda has been awesome.

  3. dkidd says:

    montero will homer at least once, at which point i will log on to read the comments

    win the series

  4. Billy says:

    Yanks only have a chance to win the CC game…no way this team is beating Felix at this point….can’t depend on Garcia. Wouldn’t be surprised to see the good guys get swept.

  5. Bartolo's Colon says:

    I’m not saying they should retaliate, but would someone get suspended if they hit a mariner? I could see if the teams were warned, but it seems it would have to bhe pretty bad for a suspension.

    i know they were just pitches that got away from felix, but isn’t it ridiculous that he hit 3 batters that night? obviously he didn’t have very good control. would it be outrageous for an ump to warn a pitcher after 2 hbp and throw him out for 3, even in unintentional cases like this? I am pretty certain felix would not have pitched as far inside on arod if that were the case.

    i remember the same thing happened last year with beckett

    • Rich in NJ says:

      I’m not saying they should retaliate, but would someone get suspended if they hit a mariner?

      As long as it’s not in the head, no. The Yankees should pitch inside more anyway, if only to move guys off of the plate.

      As for Felix, if you don’t have command of the inside of the plate, don’t pitch inside. If a pitcher continues to do it anyway and hits serial batters, it’s reckless, and yeah, a price should be paid.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      They can retaliate by sending Seattle a picture of what the postseason looks like.

  6. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Matchups look favorable. Millwood’s an old pro who will have his ups and downs. Kuroda/Felix looks like a pitcher’s battle, and I trust in the sweaty one. I don’t ever truly predict sweeps, but two out of three looks easily doable here. Just get to the division title.

  7. Bartolo's Colon says:

    it’s crazy that, as bad as the yanks have looked for 2 solid weeks, they still have the biggest division lead of an team in mlb. however, it sort of sucks to think what that lead could have been if they were playing even .500 ball

    also crazy that the a’s are back in second in the al west. very surprised by that team now, but i can’t see them keeping this up the last 2 months

  8. Brian S. says:

    Any updates on Teix?

    • Jacob says:

      He is now supporting a sports app called “Sportsyapper” where riends can talk to eachother about sports and more sports, somethings like twitter but sports central

  9. Jacob says:

    Freddy will throw a perfect game and they will have to give him about 3 towels to wipe all the sweat away when he is done

  10. MannyGeee says:

    I think the Yankees are due for a good one against Felix, so I am predicting 2/3, as I also think Freddy is due for a clunker. And Ichiro will carry is hitting streak through the weekend, going 3/10 with 2 walks and 2 doubles. Yeah, that math works out to 3 more one hit games…

    That said, this is a fully sweepable team, and as Mike mentioned, they have been horrible outside of Seattle.

  11. LLFP says:

    Yanks are taking at least 2 of 3.

    But please folks, getting hit by a pitch doesn’t mean its intentional. So the talk of “retailiation” really has to calm down. This is Yanks/Ms were talking about here.

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