Series Preview: Mariners Sail Into New York

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It’s always exciting to head to New York for a multitude of reasons. Of course there is the prestige but part of me enjoys the challenge that comes with facing what is often considered the best team in the league. As much as the national media makes a point of poking holes in their rotation it’s really not that bad and if Andy Pettitte brings any vague ghostly image of years past with him in his return from retirement there is a great chance that they no only make the play-offs but make a run for yet another Championship.

The Yankee offense isn’t quite as “high octane” and filled with dingers as years past but it’s that time of year that Mark Teixeira normally starts heating up and with a team that already has 4 really good hitters you don’t need to see them add a 5th. I think the match-ups are even and may even slightly favor Seattle over this series. There is a good chance the Mariners walk out of this series with 2 wins but the team is going to need guys like Saunders, Liddi and Wells to play key roles during the weekend and hopefully we’ll see a return to form very soon from Ackley and Smoak, two guys that this offense was built around.

Should be a fun weekend.

If you would like to listen, here is a fun little podcast that myself and Mr. Bryant Bartlett recorded with the YanksGoYard.

 

Seattle Mariners (15-18)   New York Yankees (17-14)
85 wRC+ 121
3.4 Fielding -8.2
3.99 FIP 3.87

 

Pitching Match-Ups

Friday, May 11th – 4:05pm

 New York FIP xFIP K% B% BABIP LD% LOB% HR/FB GB%
Hiroki Kuroda 4.26 4.17 14.4 7.8 0.298 23.7 72.7 11.1 45.8
                   
 Seattle FIP xFIP K% B% BABIP LD% LOB% HR/FB GB%
Felix Hernandez 2.47 3.12 25 6.9 0.246 18.9 83.3 4.5 47.7

Preview: Yankee fan’s are familiar with Felix and his ability to always step up and in big ways while in New York. It’s a lot of fun to see the King of pitchers step into a cathedral and pitch masterfully. I don’t think Yankee fans are the only one’s that look forward to see him pitch in New York. It’s quickly becoming a favorite story line for me, simply because I know he’s one guy out of reach for their organization.

Kuroda has had some good starts and bad starts this year and it’s going to be important to see how he controls his pitches. This isn’t the helpless Mariners offense of times past. If he starts allowing his pitches drift over the center the plate these hitters are going to drive the ball. Guys like Alex Liddi, Casper Wells, Jesus Montero and even Justin Smoak will make him pay for those types of mistakes.

Saturday, May 12th – 1:05pm

  FIP xFIP K% B% BABIP LD% LOB% HR/FB GB%
Phil Hughes 5.67 4.21 22.9 6.1 0.317 19.1 59.2 17.4 29.2
                   
  FIP xFIP K% B% BABIP LD% LOB% HR/FB GB%
Hector Noesi 5.65 5.16 14 10 0.250 16.5 62.5 12.2 33

Preview: I like Noesi, but this is going to be a situation where he needs to step up and pitch to his potential. He needs to use his four-seam fastball to get ahead in counts then use his slider and change-up to put hitters away. He’s got good stuff but too often he is pitching out of poor counts  and leaning on a below-average curveball that really has hurt him all year.

Hughes hasn’t been as bad as his overall line makes him look. Overall he’s given up a lot of flyballs and some inopportune home runs. But he’s missing bats and he’s seen his velocity return. He’s making baby steps back to what he was back in 2010 a pitcher that

Sunday, May 13th – 10:05 am

  FIP xFIP K% B% BABIP LD% LOB% HR/FB GB%
Andy Pettitte N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
                   
  FIP xFIP K% B% BABIP LD% LOB% HR/FB GB%
Blake Beavan 4.78 5.12 9.8 2.8 0.276 20 76.3 8.9 33.3

Preview:  We still aren’t sure if Beavan is going to be out there but I’ve got a good feeling about this match-up. Yankees haven’t done well against pitchers they don’t have much of a book on and Beavan –as well as Iwakuma– fit that mold. I’ve liked what I’ve seen out of Beavan the last few games and I think that he’s a little under rated among people in the blogosphere.

Pettitte makes his grand return from retirement and does so in Yankee Stadium in front of a very excited crowd. While I don’t think he’ll be bad there are plenty of people that wonder how sharp he’ll be in his first start back. If the Mariners can some how manage to be patient and work counts they should see plenty of good hittable pitches and could capitalize on it. Here is to hoping!

 

Defensive Line-ups

  Seattle FLD wRC+ WAR     New York FLD wRC+ WAR
C Jesus Montero -1 91 0   C Russell Martin 0 84 0.4
1B Justin Smoak -0.1 39 -0.8   1B Mark Teixeira 2 69 0
2B Dustin Ackley -1.1 80 0.1   2B Robinson Cano 5.5 109 1.5
3B Kyle Seager 2.8 136 1.2   3B Alex Rodriguez -0.4 138 1.1
SS Brendan Ryan 4.2 48 0.4   SS Derek Jeter -4.6 169 1.6
LF Mike Carp 0.2 40 -0.1   LF Andruw Jones 0.3 98 0.2
CF Michael Saunders -1.4 116 0.6   CF Curtis Granderson -7.9 154 0.8
RF Ichiro Suzuki 6.2 114 1.3   RF Nick Swisher -2 146 0.6
DH John Jaso 0 139 0.3   DH Raul Ibanez -3.3 126 0.1
                     
B Chone Figgins -6.2 60 -0.8   B Eduardo Nunez 1.4 112 0.5
B Casper Wells 0.3 83 0   B Chris Stewart 0 47 0
B Alex Liddi -0.4 107 0.2   B Jayson Nix 0.4 -100 -0.1
B Munenori Kawasaki -1.2 38 -0.3   B Dewayne Wise 0 56 0

 

Bullpen

 

Seattle IP WPA/LI K% BB% BABIP GB% HR/FB xFIP WAR
Tom Wilhelmsen 17.2 -0.17 24.7 10.4 0.292 40 10 3.7 0.1
Brandon League 16 0.28 13.9 10.8 0.245 46.8 0 4.24 0.2
Charlie Furbush 10 -0.09 30.8 7.7 0.182 29.2 14.3 3.36 0
Shawn Kelley 3 -0.24 33.3 0 0.167 12.5 40 2.55 -0.2
Steve Delabar 16.0 -0.22 31.8 3.2 0.176 41.7 23.5 2.83 -0.1
Lucas Luetge 9.1 0.01 26.3 15.8 0.273 47.6 0 3.61 0.1
Hisashi Iwakuma 8 0.01 28.1 6.3 0.263 47.6 28.6 2.64 0
                   
New York IP WPA/LI K% BB% BABIP GB% HR/FB xFIP WAR
Cody Eppley 5.2 -0.04 18.2 13.6 0.286 73.3 50 3.61 0
Boone Logan 12.2 -0.2 26.8 10.7 0.333 41.2 8.3 3.53 0.2
David Phelps 17.2 0.3 19.7 9.9 0.178 42.6 22.2 4.11 -0.2
Clay Rapada 8.1 0.10 17.1 14.3 0.292 56.5 0 4.45 0.1
David Robertson 13.2 0.3 42.1 10.5 0.385 44.4 10 1.75 0.5
Rafael Soriano 13 0.09 20 13.3 0.350 33.3 0 4.31 0.2
Cory Wade 14.2 0.6 27.6 3.5 0.282 51.3 0 2.59 0.5

 

 

Series Preview 3-on-3 Featuring:

Fansided’s own Christopher Carelli Senior Editor of Yanks Go Yard

Harrison Crow: What do you think about the Yankees current outfield and what do you see in the future? Obviously Granderson sticks around for the next few years, but there always are the rumors around Swish and sometimes it feels as if the Yanks don’t necessarily value Brett Gardner as highly as they should. Do the Yankees make a move on a big name outfielder this off-season? Be it Hamilton or even someone like an Adam Jones.
Christopher Carelli: There is very little chance the Yankees make a big splash in the off-season. They are trying hard to bring their payroll under $189 million in order to avoid paying any luxury tax in 2013. They will want to save money for Robinson Cano and Granderson for sure. Gardner sticks around because he is inexpensive, but Swisher could be looking for work elsewhere in 2013.
 
HC: In Seattle we talk about Ichiro and his just pure almost robotic ability to be the same player, year in and year out, regardless of age. Naturally he finally had an off year and he’s back to producing this year. Jeter is showing a bit of robot as he just is on an insane streak. What one specific thing about this first month of the season has been so surprising, in regards to the Yankee captain?

CC: Jeter looks totally at ease this season. His approach at the plate has been fantastic. Since he reached 3,000 hits, he’s been very good. I’m not sure if he was feeling extra pressure trying to get to 3,000 or not, but since then he’s driving the ball to the opposite field which usually tells us he is locked in.
HC: I hate questions like this in general but is David Robertson destined to be the next Mariano Rivera? He’s been so good for the past few years that I made the statement last year that for 80% of clubs he’d be their closer. His curve ball is wicked, possible the best fastball in baseball that is missing elite level velocity.27 now, is David Robertson the next long term closer for the Empire?

CC: If the Yankees are really serious about the payroll, don’t be surprised if Robertson is around for a little while. Of course, he may need to wait another year to be fully annointed closer if Rivera makes it completely back from his torn ACL and meniscus. Rivera coming back could create a monetary issue and I mentioned in your first question, as I imagine the Yankees were not anticipating him pitching in 2013. He’s making $15 million, so that’s a lot of cash they may have been expecting to come off the books. That was never made clear by Rivera, he only said he knew what he was going to do prior to his injury, and would inform everyone else when he was ready. Now that he got hurt, is missing the season and is going to stage a comeback next year, it make create unforeseen issues.

 

——
CC: How are Mariners’ fans taking to Jesus Montero?

HC: I think there is a little excitement. I’m surprised I kind of believed there would be monumental expectations on him, and maybe it’s due to Pineda’s injury, but people have been really patient with him including his struggles to start off the season. In generally I think the fans have welcomed him well with their collective breaths held as we’ve already seen one “pure” hitter that was “major league ready” struggle.

 

CC:For the upcoming series, name a position player Yankees fans should pay attention to. Why?

HC: With a couple of left handers taking the hill this weekend you should see Alex Liddi at least half a dozen times and while he has yet to prove he’s an every day player he’s done little to disprove it. Pushing towards more time in the field and making it harder for Wedge not to select him for the every day line-up. He’s got quick hands and a powerful stroke that isn’t inhibited by Safeco’s left field. Moving out to a location like Yankee Stadium could procure some righteous tower shots if Yankee pitchers aren’t careful. He’s only got 2 HR’s in 52 PA’s but I’ve personally counted 6 catches on balls that have occurred on the dirt of the outfield track.
Casper Wells is another. He hasn’t had much in the way of time due to some struggles at the plate during spring training. But he’s got great power potential and drives pitches really well. It’s unknown if he’s an every day player but the Mariners are giving opportunities for guys to prove themselves and it’s possible with Gutierrez injury, Ichiro’s uncertain future and Mike Carp’s limited every day exposure that there could be jobs for next year won (or lost) as early as the first half of this year.

 

CC: Same question among the three starters? Why?

HC: Should he start, Blake Beavan –who was subjected to taking a line drive off the bat of Miguel Cabrera off his elbow–, is a guy that I’m finding more and more to becoming extremely interesting. He gives up a ton of fly balls. A TON! But largely they tend to stay in the field of play. Which is absurd.

He generates plenty of contact so you would think that in general he would be susceptible to a lot of long balls and line drives with big innings but has been mainly been able to avoid much in the way of hard hit balls and induced a lot of weak contact.

Beavan throws a ton of strikes, walks VERY few people and gets outs. He’s a really fascinating pitcher and I’m starting to wonder if he couldn’t become something in the way of a mini Matt Cain that just doesn’t miss many bats. That said he does have an interesting curveball that when on can certainly miss bats at times. His change-up has been known to catch hitters off guard and his size, length and deception is attributed to his low 90’s fastball being so effective.  We’ll see if any of that can remain true after coming out of the game early Monday

 

 

 

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