Series Preview: Seattle @ Detroit

 

Probable starters:

Tuesday, 24th

xFIP

K%

B%

BABIP

LD%

LOB%

HR/FB

GB%

Max Scherzer

3.51

24.6

5.8

0.419

31.8

57.9

12.5

31.8

Pitcher Preview: Despite having a rough first outing against Boston, Scherzer has put together a very good start against Chicago and then another good start versus Kansas City. Scherzer since arriving in Detroit (part of the Curtis Granderson trade) has proven at times to erratic. Kind of like a harder throwing version of what we’ve seen early on out of Noesi.

This year Scherzer has focused more on throwing his two-seam fastball than his four. Which, not surprising, has induced plenty of weaker contact and you might expect him to throw it more as the season progresses. Tonight you’ll likely see a lot of change-ups, as Seattle will likely stack lefties against him (career FIP vs. left handed batters 4.25 opposed to FIP vs.  right handed 3.43), his change-up is average at best and not really a weapon of any kind. The Mariners are best suited to take pitches and allow Scherzer to pitch into hitter counts. Wouldn’t that be weird if they did that.

 

xFIP

K%

B%

BABIP

LD%

LOB%

HR/FB

GB%

Jason Vargas

3.58

19.2

7.1

0.225

21.1

76.6

8

43.7

 

Pitcher Preview: Despite not missing as many bats as he did last year, yet he’s striking out more and throwing more strikes. I’m not sure Vargas is that “#2” type guy you want behind Felix, but the team is young and he’s still not a bad pitcher. Oddly enough we’re seeing a little inverse of Vargas’ batted balls early in the season. Traditionally being a fly ball pitcher we’re seeing him keep the ball on the ground more through his first 4 starts. Despite that you seeing him give up home runs more often. Something to watch for when going up against the long ball oriented Tigers.

 

 

Wednesday, 25th

 

xFIP

K%

B%

BABIP

LD%

LOB%

HR/FB

GB%

Adam Wilk

4.5

15

5

0.345

12.9

92.6

20

38.7

 

Pitcher Preview: Wilk is a young left hander who relies heavily upon his change-up.  He’s kind of a better version of Luke French (whom we got from the Tigers along with Mauricio Robles for Jarrod Washburn… haha, remember that?), in that he’s going to get fly balls, if we were in Safeco that wouldn’t be such a problem, but we’re not, so… they become home runs.

Being that he’s got a real weapon in the change-up it’s likely we’ll see a right handed heavy line-up against him in hopes to neutralize the pitch. The goal will be to make him throw more mediocre fastballs (and a few cutters) and maybe a couple of curveballs.

Wilk has the classic profile of a guy that isn’t a good pitcher, but he’s got one good weapon that could make it annoyingly interesting if they don’t work the at bat. It’s not like Wilk doesn’t leave pitches up in the zone and if I was Casper Wells or Alex Liddi that’s all I would be looking for, a pitcher out and up over the plate and just try to hit it a very long ways.

 

 

xFIP

K%

B%

BABIP

LD%

LOB%

HR/FB

GB%

Felix Hernandez

3.15

26.1

4.2

0.304

28.2

76

4.2

41

 

Pitcher Preview: There isn’t much left really to talk about. Felix had an absolutely dominate start, where he held his velocity into the 8th inning. His change-up is perhaps the best pitch in baseball. His slider and curve ball are each plus pitches too. Long, live the King.

 

Thursday, 26th

 

xFIP

K%

B%

BABIP

LD%

LOB%

HR/FB

GB%

Rick Porcello

3.3

12.9

2.9

0.357

25.9

58.6

18.2

55.2

 

Pitcher Preview: Porcello in a lot of ways makes me think of a miniture version of Doug Fister. He walks few batters, throws a ton of strikes and misses hardly any bats. He throws a TON of two seam fastballs and lives off ground ball outs (I feel like that should be nicknamed the Colorado special) and he couples it with a very good change-up that also induces a ton of weak contact.

Porcello is going to be a frustrating pitcher. He can leave pitches over the plate against left handers at times but those moments are few and far between. The Mariners will need line drives from Jaso, Saunders and Ackley and will need them to fall in for extra bases if they want to win this game.

 

xFIP

K%

B%

BABIP

LD%

LOB%

HR/FB

GB%

Hector Noesi

5.16

17

10.2

0.350

21.4

53.2

13.6

26.2

 

Pitcher Preview: There is a lot to say about Noesi and at the same time then there is little to say at all. He hasn’t been good. It’s not his release point, though he wasn’t getting good movement on his slider against the Sox, and it’s not the umpires making poor calls. He’s just not spotting his pitches and his command has been erratic. Pitches are getting drilled and it’s being prayed across the field.

He needs to work on getting strike one (only happens 54% of the time, ouch) and then staying ahead of the hitter. If he can do that then there is a change we can see the same Noesi that we saw against the Athletics. He has the potential but he needs to convert that to something tangible.

 

 Probable Defensive Alignment

 

  Seattle

FLD

wRC+

WAR

    Detroit

FLD

wRC+

WAR

C Miguel Olivo

1

-3

-0.3

C Alex Avila

-1

123

0.3

1B Justin Smoak

0.1

56

-0.3

1B Prince Fielder

0.1

128

0.3

2B Dustin Ackley

-2.8

71

-0.3

2B Ryan Raburn

1.5

-18

-0.3

3B Kyle Seager

1.2

89

0.3

3B Miguel Cabrera

1.2

-27

0.7

SS Brendan Ryan

2

99

0.5

SS Johnny Peralta

-0.8

80

0

LF Chone Figgins

-3.7

70

-0.4

LF Delmon Young

95

-0.2

0

CF Michael Saunders

-0.1

94

0.1

CF Austin Jackson

2.3

143

1.1

RF Ichiro Suzuki

1.2

93

0.3

RF Brennan Boesch

-3.3

39

-0.6

DH Jesus Montero

-1

67

-0.2

DH Andy Dirks

-0.5

108

0.1

   

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

B John Jaso

N/A

163

0.1

B Brandon Inge

1.6

-39

-0.1

B Casper Wells

0.3

112

0.1

B Gerald Laird

0

202

0.3

B Alex Liddi

-0.7

111

0

B Clete Thomas

-0.2

 N/A

0

B Munenori Kawasaki

-1.1

-7

-0.3

B Ramon Santiago

-1.3

24

-0.3

B Don Kelley

0.6

33

0

 

  

 

Relievers

 

Seattle

WPA/LI

K/9

BB/9

BABIP

GB%

HR/FB

xFIP

WAR

Tom Wilhelmsen

0.9

10.64

2.45

0.310

37.9

0

2.6

0.5

Brandon League

0.22

6.23

3.12

0.231

44

0

3.82

0.2

Charlie Furbush

-0.22

9.82

2.45

0.125

22.2

16.7

3.76

-0.1

Erasmo Ramirez

0.03

4.15

3.12

0.250

51.9

14.3

4.47

-0.1

Steve Delabar

-0.57

13.5

0

0.200

36.8

44.4

1.81

-0.2

Lucas Luetge

0.14

14.73

4.91

0.375

25

0

2.39

0.1

Hisashi Iwakuma

0.11

4.5

2.25

0.125

50

33.3

3.69

0

Detroit

WPA/LI

K/9

BB/9

BABIP

GB%

HR/FB

xFIP

WAR

Collin Balester

-0.05

5

5

0.200

43.3

0

6.27

0

Duane Below

0.57

6.3

0

0.241

37.9

0

3.14

0.2

Joquin Benoit

-0.1

13.5

8.59

0.526

42.1

0

3.34

0.2

Phil Coke

0.09

11.81

3.38

0.308

27.3

0

3.75

0.2

Octavio Dotel

0.24

10.5

3

0.286

64.3

0

2.27

0.2

Jose Valverde

0.02

6.23

6.23

0.296

40.7

0

5.17

0.1

Thad Weber

-0.01

0

9

0.6

75

0

5.93

0

 

 

 

Series “three” pack, featuring:

 

Fansided’ National League Director and Motor City Bengal Contributor John Parent:

 

Harrison  Crow: Phill Coke, at long last, in the bullpen, always and forever… Seems like –with the way the season has started– he really likes it there. With Valverde’s deal up at the end of the year, and him dominating early on, is he the heir apparent for this team?

 

John Parent:  Phil Coke would prefer to start games and he’s made no secret about that. Unfortunately for him, the Tigers have a quartet of young left handers they’d rather give that opportunity to, in the bullpen Coke will remain. Even with Valverde’s deal being up after the season, this club has a “win now” feel to it and I think they’re more likely to pay for an established closer than they would be to slide Coke into the ninth inning role. Jim Leyland tends to pigeon-hole his players a bit and he seems to like Coke as a set-up man.

 

HC: You and I have spent a lot of time in the past year talking about the Tigers left field situation. We’ve gone back and forth about Casper Wells (now, of course, a Seattle Mariner), Ryan Raburn (traditional late starter) and a bit on Delmon Young (all around suckage). Where are the Tigers at with left field right now? Brennan Boesch is of course in the other corner out field black hole (aka right field), so should the Tigers start thinking of a move to help fix their outfield? Do you just hope that Austin Jackson, Prince Fielder, Miggy and Availa are enough in the line-up?

 

JP: The short answer is no, they don’t start thinking of a move to fix their outfield. Frankly speaking, we are 16 games in, how do we know if it’s broken? While you may want to assume that Boesch and Young will have bad seasons or are bad players, I find it curious that you include Jackson as a part of the solution, unless you’re speaking from a strictly defensive standpoint. Otherwise, looking at a 16-game sample and making sweeping changes based off of that is more than unwise, which I’m sure you know, just as it’s unwise to assume Jackson will be an offensive force this season based on his hot start. Boesch is in line for a big year, I believe, and Young will get his share of RBI chances. I know the arguments against each player and the Tigers know those arguments as well. But the management knew the strengths and weaknesses of these players long before today and they are willing to gamble that the offensive contributions will outweigh the negative defensive and base-running measurements on each player. It may be a flawed design, but it’s the one the Tigers brass has pushed in with. I promise you that they won’t look to make changes to that plan before July, and then only if absolutely necessary.

 

Harrison  Q: I’ve talked rather negatively about the Tigers since March, not because I don’t like them, but because I feel like people put too much stalk in one move (ie. Prince). The team, as you probably recognize, still has holes. The starting pitching, of course has potential, but is wildly inconsistent. The OF, as mentioned, has problems and outside of the corner infielders, 2b and SS have combined for -0.8.. with no one even posting positive numbers. Is this really the odds on favorite to win the central and be a playoff team, let alone the World Series? Am I making too much of this? Are they a better team than the Yankees?

 

JP: Of course this team still has holes. Every team has them, including Texas, who I think is the best club in baseball. But again, we are 16 games into the season and you are putting way too much into the numbers at this point in the year. It’s easy to point to second base as a problem area, especially when your two main players there are each hitting under .100, but Jhonny Peralta is second in the league in doubles and is driving the ball the other way with consistency. He looks better at the plate thus far in the season than at any point last year. We haven’t seen scorching starts from Miguel Cabrera or Brennan Boesch or Delmon Young, and Prince Fielder has homered in only one game this year. That said, the starting pitching has been surprisingly good. Verlander has been tremendous and Drew Smyly looks like a veteran though his made only three big league starts. Porcello was bombed in his last start, but outstanding (not just good, but outstanding) in his first two.

 

This is a club that really hasn’t broken out offensively as of yet, that has won six of ten against Texas, Boston, and Tampa, and is using two rookies in their starting rotation. The rest of the Central is simply not as talented as the Tigers are. Chicago, to me, is the second-best club there with Cleveland also in the mix for second place.

 

This club won the division by 15 games last year. Even if you consider the Fielder signing a lateral move in that he replaced Victor Martinez, it certainly did nothing to bring them back to the pack. The Tigers are very much the favorite to win the division, probably by at least eight games. Are they as good as Texas? Maybe not, but I’d take them against any other club in either league. Yes, there are holes, but there is also a heck of a lot of potential as well.

 

 

 

 

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  • http://sodomojo.com/ MattyK

    Just looking at Delmon Young’s stats this season, I don’t think much is different from last season. The thing that stabilizes the quickest (that we actually keep track of) is swing rates. Young’s plate discipline shows that he’s swinging at pitches both in and out of the zone at the same rate he did last year. His contact rate is down a bit, but that’s based on a smaller sample. 
     
    I think he’s pretty much just a +0.5 or +1 hitter. However he’s already getting paid $6.75 M in his last year of arbitration. I’m not sure he’s a good investment if he’s going to cost more than he does now…