Preview: Kansas City @ Seattle

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Mariners take on the Kansas City Royals (see how I abstained from a reference in which relates the Royals to stealing our left over’s. No need to come across like Sean Avery) over this weekend. I know big series right? Well if you wanted to see a 3-game winning streak extended these would be the time to go, since we are going to throwing our four best pitchers at them. They have a horrible defense and just as terrible offense, but again there is a reason why we play the games, Right?

Really it’s hard to get excited for games like this, they have next to no value overall. We have next to nothing but shame to gain from these games normally. The one thing that you could savour is the fact that we are ACTUALLY on a winning streak. Unbelievable, I know but should we win it would extend this amazing accomplishment to 4 games. I think that despite playing a terrible team we have something to prove. Good teams don’t allow themselves to be beat by sub .400 teams.

I also did a different style of break down. Let me know what you think.

Position players

PosMarinersWARwOBA PosRoyalsWARwOBA
 Catchers    Catchers  
 Rob Johnson0.50.284  John Buck0.30.304
 Kenji Johjima0.30.287  Miguel Olivo1.30.316
      Brayan Pena0.60.343
 Infielders       
1bRussell Branyan2.60.37  Infielders  
2bJose Lopez1.60.318 SSYuniesky Betancourt-1.10.249
3bJack Hannahan0.60.302 WFBWillie Bloomquist-0.40.295
SSJack Wilson0.10.239 1bBilly Butler1.50.356
😕Josh Wilson0.50.405 2bAlberto Callaspo0.80.333
ANYBill Hall00.279 3bMark Teahen10.335
         
 Outfielders    Outfielders  
ofIchiro Suzuki4.20.371 ofJosh Anderson-0.20.212
ofFranklin Gutierrez4.30.342 ofDavid DeJesus2.70.335
ofMichael Saunders0.10.266 ofMitch Maier0.40.312
ofRyan Langerhans0.80.311     
      DH  
 DH   DHMike Jacobs00.321
DHKen Griffey Jr.0.20.325     
😕Mike Sweeney-0.70.304     

Okay well we know that there are a few former players but none as infamous as Yuniesky Bentacourt. A guy with the talent and just let it all get away from him. I’ve heard a lot of people think that he still has the talent it’s just buried deep behind the laziness and fat that he has accumulated over the last few years.

Mark Teahen is overhyped, yeah just had to get that off my chest. He can now terrorize the Mariners the rest of the series and you can blame me, but the guy isn’t as good offensively as everyone tries to make him out to be.

 I was really amazed to see according to the value charts Dave DeJesus is the most valuable Royal to date, I guess because I don’t really pay attention that much to the rest of the league very much, but i think this epitimizes the Kansas City Royals team at this time.  His current defensive ratings show that he isn’t that bad (for a left fielder on a defensively poor team like the Royals), but his bat really isn’t that great and I would take Michael Saunders in left over him.

Speaking of Michael Saunders, he has seemed like he’s been having some more issues at the plate. I draw that conclusion simply because that he’s lost points in his wOBA over the past few series. I know he made some adjustments a week (or more) ago, which led him to some initial success. However, since he has had some issues. What they are I don’t know. I don’t really get to see him being that I’m stuck on radio only out here in the desert. If someone has a comment (maybe Jon???) I would love to know. I would like to dig up more data on his situation but that will require time. Time I don’t have at this very moment.

Starting Pitchers

Royal PitcherswFB/CwSL/CwCT/CwCB/CwCH/CwSF/CwKN/C
Kyle Davies-0.9313.510.12-1.361.08XX
Brian Bannister-0.45X0.36-2.312.09XX
Gil Meche-0.45-0.92X0.25-3.1XX
Zack Greinke1.042.52X-0.27-1.14XX
        
Mariners PitcherwFB/CwSL/CwCT/CwCB/CwCH/CwSF/CwKN/C
Douglas Fister-1.498.22X3.715.12XX
Felix Hernandez0.441.12X0.822.29XX
Ian Snell0.361.74X-5.420.26XX
Ryan Rowland-Smith-0.29-0.55X2.480.64XX

Thursday: Doug Fister Vs. Kyle Davies

Doug Fister has been pitching pretty well. He has some how gone on to show he is a little above average statistically, which in and of itself is an enigma. He has faced some tough line ups the last three starts, but the real test is how will he do against a line-up filled with by perhaps the weakest line-up in baseball. Ultimately if he continues to miss some bats and pitch to some soft contact which he has managed so far, it should work out very well for him.

Kyle Davies isn’t as bad as a 6 ERA shows but he isn’t a lot better either. You have to remember when looking at these Royals pitchers that they pitch with a terrible defense. But Davies has also averaged an extra walk per 9/IP than he did last year in which he was a solid league average pitcher. Also last year he had an outrageous 6.9% HR/FB, it has returned to 2007 status currently at 12%, his .301 BABIP is pretty average as well. While these negatives he has missed more bats this year than he did last year which is a positive and maybe if you put a good defense behind him you give him the needed confidence to make a mistake. It seems like he maybe just scared to allow his fielders to help him but, with Bentacourt and Bloomquist helping out behind him. Do you really blame him?

FridayFelix! Vs. Brian (emissary of sabermetrics) Bannister

It’s Felix! Even though he seemed really bothered by that groundball that Jose Lopez misplayed, he has still been an exceptional pitcher this year and has managed to put his emotions in a place where he can control them. I expect him to continue furthering his resume in this quest for a Cy Young.

Brain Bannister has been pretty outspoken about sabermetrics, and that’s cool and everything but, it also hasn’t completely recreated him as a pitcher. However he has gotten better from the past year. Currently his tRA is 4.58, which isn’t horrible and he averages 6 innings per start. He is in reality solid option every five days from the mound. Though he won’t miss a lot of bats his contact rates have improved this season by 1.4%, he has also become an extreme ground ball pitcher (49.8%) and his FB/HR % has dropped too (from 11.5% to 9.5%). This would help explain why his BABIP has improved by .18 points this year from last.

Saturday: Ian Snell Vs. Gil Meche

Ian Snell has slowly gotten better with each start; he looked rather good in the game against the A’s. The biggest problem he seems to be having is his high pitch counts and walks. If he can keep from giving guys free passes he should have a much easier time of it. Also he needs for hitters to start missing his pitches. It seems like Kenji has gotten a better game plan for him so far but they really need to stay away from using his fastball as much as what they have been, his slider and change-up are superior pitches.

Gil Meche had been thought to of reinvented himself but the biggest problem is that he has had some good fielding behind him and for whatever reason it’s not there now; his tRA has been 4.26, 4.41, and 4.91. obviously this year for whatever reason his pitches haven’t been as sharp. His fastball has been extremely hittable and I don’t know if it’s because it’s lacked movement or (more likely) if he just is having problem locating it. Further proof for his possible control issues he has seemingly lost a K per 9/IP and gained a BB 9/IP from 2008. His HR/FB% is up but he also has allowed a lot less FB going back to become yet another extreme ground ball pitcher. His BABIP is just a bit over average at .319 but not directly responsible for adding .5 runs to his tRA. Ultimately while luck hasn’t been on Meche’s side he hasn’t helped himself at all.

Sunday: Ryan Rowland-Smith Vs. Zack Greinke

RR-S since coming back from the DL has been inconsistent but has shown over all to be a solid pitcher. RR-S gave up 9 hits against the Athletics but didn’t walk a batter; he only had 4 swinging strikes and 1 strike out, but only gave up 2 earned runs. He wasn’t sharp and didn’t have great stuff but still managed to pitch 6.1 innings, this is a positive after his last outing against Detroit that didn’t go quiet as well. It’s good to know that a pitcher outside of Felix! Can have a day where he doesn’t have his “stuff” and still manage through it. Now, defense played an important part, but if you didn’t already realize that, I’m not going to waste my time typing it out.

Zack Greinke started the season off extremely hot he has fallen back to orbiting the earth (he is still a great pitcher, it should take him a while to return the atmosphere) a really good article about comparing him to other great pitchers can be found here at beyond the box score, but here is another article showing that he has come down a bit, however the article doesn’t really take into account all the events how he gave up all the runs. Everyone knows how good he is. I’m not going to waste my time or my words trying to articulate something that can’t be done.

 *note: I changed the weight pitching stat I used; the difference in wFB/C vs. wFB is it’s over the course of 100 pitches. While it’s impact to understand what pitches they throw and how good they throw them it’s more important to put it into context.

THE BULLPEN:

 

Kansas City RoyalswFBwSLwCTwCBwCHwSFwKN
John Bale2.4-1.3X0.7-3.8XX
Bruce Chen-1.5-1X0.42.8XX
Roman Colon-41.8XXX-0.7X
Kyle Farnsworth-3.13.90.1X0XX
Robinson Tejeda5.30.3XX-0.1-0.1X
Jamey Wright-3.20.3-6.75.70.7XX
Joakim Soria1.7-0.3 4-0.5  
Yasuhiko Yabuta       
        
Seattle MarinerswFBwSLwCTwCBwCHwSFwKN
David Aardsma151.1X0X-2X
Sean White7.60.2X-1.11.7XX
Mark Lowe0.17XX-2.1XX
Shawn Kelley20XX-0.7XX
Miguel Batista-3.4-0.6-0.4-0.9-0.20X
Randy Messenger-1.2XX0.10.2XX

 Really the bullpen for KC has been pretty average. I like what Robinson Tejeda has done so far this season, he’s a bit of a journeyman. But he’s put up some okay numbers in a small sample size of 38 IP. He has posted a 50K/30BB during that time with a tRA of 3.25, and even the BABIP (.309) isn’t really affecting him. His real problem has been his control, and this year has been a step in the right direction. I hope to see him continue his success, just not against the Mariners.

Let me take some time to rave about Sean White, his fast ball has gotten better as the season has gone on. His other pitches have gotten sharper, and his tRA is currently sitting at 4.36 (according to statcorner, fangraphs tRA seems to have him a bit lower at 4.00). He isn’t missing a lot of bats (only 6% swinging strikes) but his 20 BB in 63IP is a welcome sight to a bullpen that sometimes struggles with its control. He also has been doing a great job in inducing ground balls (48.5%), which is extremely important being a right handed pitcher in Safeco. Currently his BABIP is sitting at .238, and his HR/FB is sitting right at 4.5%, with a FB% of 16%. I do worry about the amount of innings he’s pitched after having surgery last year. But, I think that a lot of credit has been given to Mark Lowe and David Aardsma (which both have been good through out the season, don’t misunderstand me) and I wanted to give a shout out to Sean White for his solid pitching.