Series Preview: Tigers Strike Back

 

Seattle Mariners (13-17) Detroit Tigers (14-13)
88 wRC+ 95
3.4 Fielding -15.4
4.14 FIP 3.80

Pitching Preview

 Monday – May 7th, 7:10pm

FIP K% BB% BABIP LD% HR/FB GB% LOB%
Doug Fister 3.60 21.4 7.1 0.3 30 0 60 100

Pitcher Preview:  As Mariner fans we’ve been rather poor in our ability to recognize certain contributions by individuals who later leave our organization. Doug Fister has kind of been put up on pedestal by fans –and while I don’t necessarily agree with it — since this will be his first start since being traded and I think he’s owed a good round of applause.

 

FIP K% BB% BABIP LD% HR/FB GB% LOB%
Blake Beavan 5.04 9.9 3.1 0.267 19.3 9.8 33.9 76.5

Pitcher Preview: Everyone want to label Beavan as “Doug Fister 2.0″ and I admit they have a few similarities in common. But, I like him better as a Matt Cain jr. The only problem is that he doesn’t miss bats like Cain. If he can start missing a couple extra bats, there is a serious potential for Beavan to be better than any of us ever conceived.

 

Tuesday – May 8th, 7:10pm

 

FIP K% BB% BABIP LD% HR/FB GB% LOB%
Justin Verlander 2.42 23.9 5.1 0.231 20 4.2 40 70.7

Pitcher Preview: Felix Hernandez is arguably the best pitcher in baseball… well… so is Verlander. We skipped him last time through Rock City, unfortunately there is no avoiding him this time through. I don’t think the Mariners offense is as bad as people continue to make it. In fact I think it’s rather good. This is going to be a real test.

FIP K% BB% BABIP LD% HR/FB GB% LOB%
Kevin Millwood 3.59 15 7.9 0.344 21.6 6.3 45.4 59.2

Pitcher Preview: I keep saying that Millwood has, by and large, been misunderstood by the masses and undervalued this season. Him pitching and keeping us in the game against Verlander would go a long ways towards the media and surface layer fans to acknowledging that.

Wednesday – May 9th, 7:10

 

FIP K% BB% BABIP LD% HR/FB GB% LOB%
Drew Symly 3.26 25.7 7.1 0.306 17.8 10.7 43.8 94%

Pitcher Preview: I think it’s appropriate that Beavan faces off against Fister, just as much as Smyly faces Vargas. He’s basically the young version of Vargas since he started missing more bats. He’s going to like pitching at the Safe and I see this as being a tough game. But make no mistake about it, he’s been awful lucky so far in his past dealings. This one may not be that way for him.

FIP K% BB% BABIP LD% HR/FB GB% LOB%
Jason Vargas 3.88 18.4 7.5 0.218 15 9.6 44.1 79

Pitcher Preview: Vargas has been pitching very, very well. Despite the fact that he’s going up against a high octane offense he’s playing in his environment and he’s shown his intelligence a lot this year in that he knows how to pitch to his strengths and avoid his weaknesses. I keep labeling him a good #4 but the more I see of him, he may just have taken that step to be a #3.

Defensive Alignment

Seattle FLD wRC+ WAR Detroit FLD wRC+ WAR
C John Jaso 0 170 0.2 C Alex Avila -2 134 0.5
1B Justin Smoak -0.1 48 -0.6 1B Prince Fielder -0.9 125 0.4
2B Dustin Ackley -1.1 85 0.1 2B Ryan Raburn 0.4 6 -0.6
3B Kyle Seager 2.8 137 1.1 3B Miguel Cabrera -4.3 141 0.5
SS Brendan Ryan 1.6 46 0.4 SS Jhonny Perelta -2.6 86 -0.1
LF Mike Carp 0.2 65 0 LF Don Kelly 0 69 0
CF Michael Saunders -1.4 111 0.5 CF Austin Jackson 4.9 158 2
RF Ichiro Suzuki 6.2 113 1.2 RF Brennan Boesch -6.4 46 -1.1
DH Jesus Montero -1 102 0.1 DH Andy Dirks -0.2 149 0.3
B Chone Figgins -6.2 60 -0.9 B Delmon Young -0.5 70 -0.2
B Alex Liddi -0.4 121 0.2 B Gearld Laird 0 153 0.3
B Munenori Kawasaki -1.2 38 -0.3 B Ramon Santiago -1.9 12 -0.5
B Casper Wells 0.3 88 0 B Danny Worth -0.4 36 -0.1

 

Bullpen

 Seattle IP WPA/LI K% BB% BABIP GB% xFIP
Tom Wilhelmsen 17.2 -0.17 24.7 10.4 0.292 40 3.70
Brandon League 14 0.19 13.6 10.2 0.267 48.8 4.26
Charlie Furbush 8.2 -0.14 33.3 6.1 0.167 25 2.99
Shawn Kelley 0.1 -0.24 0 0 0 50 7.03
Steve Delabar 15 -0.29 30 3.3 0.182 42.9 3
Lucas Luetge 8.1 0.28 29.4 17.7 0.278 41.2 3.53
Hisashi Iwakuma 5 -0.06 20 10 0.167 50 3.91
 Detroit IP WPA/LI K% BB% BABIP GB% xFIP
Luke Putkonen 1.2 -0.09 0 18.2 0.333 77.8 8.18
Brayan Villarreal 1.2 -0.05 14.3 28.6 0.250 75 5.35
Jose Valverde 12.2 -0.19 16.7 13.3 0.325 39 4.99
Octavio Dotel 10.1 0.4 31.6 5.3 0.217 62.5 2.13
Phil Coke 10.1 0.11 22 4.9 0.286 29.6 4.05
Joaquin Benoit 12.1 -0.02 34.5 15.5 0.483 48.3 2.56
Duane Below 12.2 0.66 20.2 2.2 0.200 42.9 3.16

 

Series Preview Three Questions:

With Fansided MCB Author’s Samuel Genson and John Vergurg

 

Harrison Crow: With Both Fielder and Cabrera locked into long term deals and preferring to play the field what happens to Nick Castellanos? Does he get moved off to another position? Can they somehow convince one of their lumbering home run giants to that it would be better for the team if they could rotate them through the DH? What happens and what’s the plan?  I’ve got to think with a hitter of his caliber and the desire of the front office to keep him in the organization that he’s anything but trade bait at this point.

Sam Genson: Castellanos is only in High A.  He probably won’t be with the Tigers until late 2013 at the earliest, if not 2014.  There is also the thought that he could be moved to a corner OF spot.  Miguel seems to be doing well at 3B…but who knows what he looks like in 2 years.  If he keeps up his conditioning then I suspect Castellanos moves to LF.  The Tigers will keep him at 3B as long as possible though – that is what they tend to do with prospects.

John Vergurg: In the short term, I don’t think they do anything with Castellanos positionally. He is still a ways off at this point, and a lot can happen before 2014 which looks to be his full time arrival. If he is knocking on the door in the middle of next summer in AA, then maybe they move him to LF, but a DH spot will open up when Martinez is gone, and I see Fielder moving into that role with Cabrera going back to 1st. People forget Castellanos was a high school SS. He isn’t the most natural 3B, but the arm plays and he isn’t a statue.

 

HC: How worried are about Jacob Turner?  How worried should Tiger fans be at this point?

SG:Not worried one bit.  Kid is not even 21 yet.  He had one minor arm issue this spring that he is still recovering a bit from.  Right now, the Tigers are luckily in the position that he does not have to be pushed.  I think he is VERY much in their future plans, especially with Scherzer likely to only get more expensive.  If Turner can meet his potential and if Smyly can continue to be a big plus, then I would look for the Tigers to move Scherzer (not Porcello) this offseason.

JV: I can tell you that from a Tigers fan perspective, there isn’t much worry at all. However, I differ from most people on this opinion. I think there is a little cause for concern, despite this, his record is pretty nice for a 20 year old pitcher, who has already made a couple big league starts. However, there is a lack of dominance that you would like to see from top flight prospects, and his stuff is still down a little bit. He reportedly was 89-93 his last outing in the Florida State League. I was an advocate before the season of dealing Turner as part of a package to net us a guy like Garza, and still would be in favor of a deal, especially considering the emergence of Drew Smyly. Again, he is still a very good prospect, but I think a tempering of expectations for Turner would be in order from the Tigers fans. He isn’t an ace type prospect at this point in my opinion.

HC: Austin Jackson, has he taken a serious step forward or is it just an early inflated BABIP? Can this guy be a serious MVP candidate?

SG: I think it is a combination of both.  Jackson will live and die with BABIP.  However, he seems to have taken a step forward with his K/BB ratio.  He will never get consideration for MVP on a team with Cabrera, Fielder, and Verlander unless he takes another major leap forward (puts up numbers like Ellsbury or Granderson).  He certainly helps this team go, but I think the previously three mentioned are more important to this team.  One thing to note, unlike his 2010 year, Jackson seems to be more on top of the ball and hitting it up the middle or two LF rather than slapping the ball into right.  I think the work on his stance paid off at least in those regards.

JV:I think it’s a little too early to say it’s a serious step forward, but there is a legitimate reason for improvement despite his high BABIP. Jackson, in fact, seems to be one of those guys that has a high BABIP as a natural part of his game. For those not familiar with the Tigers, Jackson worked hard in the off-season to eliminate a high leg kick, and it is helping him get the bat head out in front, allowing him to strike the ball with a little more authority this season. Whether or not that vaults him into MVP discussion, we will have to see come July and August where he is at. Defensively, he is a major plus, so when is all said and done, he is going to pile up a ton of WAR this season if he can maintain his hitting. He is the Tigers MVP to this point for sure.

 

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