Series Preview: Red Sox At Mariners

By Editorial Staff

We’ve got sweeping changes to the series preview. Please, leave feedback as I’d like to continue to make changes so this gives YOU the information you’d like to see.

Inside this issue, after the jump, you’ll find:

  • Graphs! We love graphs!
  • Pitching matchups!
  • A new manager rating!
  • Perspective from a Red Sox blogger!
  • Depressing realizations of how awful the M’s are!

Look, a graph!

Note that only players on active rosters are used for the purpose of a true matchup. This can help or hurt a team if someone is on the DL.

Something new from the Carsoncalc is a manager score. The formula uses each manager’s career numbers and is uses the following stats: Wins, Losses, Playoff Appearance (50 points each), Pennants (75), World Series Wins (150). The formula is W – L + PA + PEN + WSW / 100 / 10 – with the dividing used to create a small number that fits with the rest of the chart.

We all have different views on how important a manager is, which this post isn’t for, but I thought it might be interesting to see how they stack up using an actual metric. Tony LaRussa’s manager score is 6.37 which is understandable much higher than Eric Wedge’s.

So, on to the preview!

At first look, you might say something like: “Hey, look! The Mariners lead in two categories!” The problem, of course, is that a smaller xFIP is better than a bigger xFIP. So, really, the only thing to have a small celebration about is that the Mariners Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) is better than league average.

The Red Sox are better than the Mariners in every area that helps teams win games. You likely didn’t need a graph or words to learn this, but it’s helpful to see how far off the M’s are from being good.

To see how I think the pitching matchups may shake out along with some stuff on the Doug Fister trade, Michael Pineda, Brandon League and more, check out some answers I gave to Derek over at BoSox Injection as part of their Series 6 Pack.

Derek was kind enough to answer a few questions for me, also. I thought it might be neat to see what a Red Sox fan/blogger thinks about these subjects:

  • No, seriously. What the hell is wrong with John Lackey?

To be honest, I have given up on trying to figure out Lackey.  He starts the year 4-8 with an ERA comparable to the amount of weight he dropped in the offseason and doesn’t have any control of any of his pitches.  Then he goes on the DL, comes back and is decent for an outing or two then blows up again.  A cortisone shot last month has apparently made the difference as all of a sudden Lackey seems to have gotten his game turned around, albeit he’s still good to give up four or five runs in a game, so the offense had better show up.  He’s won 6 of his last 7 starts and perhaps with Erik Bedard now in Boston, Lackey will be pushed a little harder to try and secure that number three spot in the rotation.  Now after months of me ripping Lackey apart, I’m starting to give him a little bit of credit, so don’t be surprised if he goes out tonight and throws everything flat across the heart of the plate.  It’s happened before, which is why I can’t figure out Big John.

  • You know how us West Coast folks love to belly ache about bias from the media for your coast. Do you think Josh Reddick wins Rookie of the Year, or does Michael Pineda have a legit shot while playing for a bad club in a bad division?

I think Reddick will be in the conversation but I don’t think he’ll win AL rookie of the year.  While Reddick is putting up terrific numbers at the plate and has flashed his leather in the outfield an numerous occasions, I still believe this is Pineda’s award to win.  If you look at Reddick’s numbers a little deeper you’ll find the following:  in the month of May when he was recalled from AAA, he only had 9 plate appearances.  In June he increased that to only 27 at bats, granted he did hit over .400 for the combined 36 AB.  So it was late June when Reddick started to play on a regular basis, first when Carl Crawford went on the DL and now most recently JD Drew (thank god for that).  Had Reddick been in the opening day lineup then and still put up these kinds of numbers, then I think it would be a shoe in for him to win the award. 

Pineda may be on a bad club, but he’s still picking up the wins despite an obsolete offense.  To me, Pineda has been in the bigs all year and has been grinding it out with this gritty Seattle ballclub. He was a big part that the M’s stayed in the division race up until a month ago.  He is proving every time he takes the mound that he is not only for real, but dominating.  Sure the media loves the east coast and many media members don’t stay up to watch a full Mariners game because of the time change, but the numbers don’t lie and to me the numbers favor Michael Pineda as the rookie of the year.

  • Boston (and New York) have tried a few times to wrestle King Felix away, but Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik is not interested at all at moving him. What do you think about the offer the Mariners shot down from Boston in 2008 that would have also netted us Adrian Gonzalez from San Diego? Are you glad that never went down and are you happy to have A-Gone instead?

I googled this trade and this is the list of prospects that the Red Sox had apparently offered to Seattle.  The Mariners could have picked any five in return for King Felix: RHP Clay Buchholz, RHP Daniel Bard, RHP Justin Masterson, LHP Nick Hagadone, RHP Michael Bowden, LHP Felix Doubront, OF Josh Reddick, SS Yamaico Navarro

Looking back at this offer straight up for Hernandez, I am very happy this deal didn’t go through.  Buchholz and Bard are the future of this ballclub and Reddick is looking like he is going to be around and helping this ballclub win many games for the next few years.  Those three players alone are so valuable to the Red Sox now that it’s hard to imagine this club without them (despite Buchholz being on the DL).  Sure Hernandez is one of the best in the game, but Bard very well could be our closer next year and Buchholz will be a 20 game winner within the next 3 years, providing he stays healthy. 
Then there was the possibility of sending Gonzalez to Seattle along with Buchholz and a couple unnamed prospects.  WHAT?  Think how well this Seattle team would be right now had they pulled the trigger on that deal.  From one Red Sox fans opinion, thank you that this trade never happened.  Sure we had to live through an early round exit from the playoffs in 2009 and missing the postseason all together in 2010, but watching Gonzalez this season in a Red Sox uniform has been worth the short term pain.  In my opinion he’s the AL MVP this year and could be very instrumental in how well the Red Sox do in the postseason.  His smooth lefty swing was born to hit at Fenway Park.  Sure it helps to be surrounded by All-star caliber hitters in the lineup, but he was still producing these kinds of numbers in San Diego with a less offensive lineup around him.  Don’t get me wrong; Hernandez is an ace on any team he goes to.  But he only plays every fifth game.  Gonzalez will likely play 160 regular season games this year.  Yes, pitching wins championships and with Buchholz on the shelf the Red Sox don’t have the starting rotation that the Phillies or Giants have, but they do have an offense that can get them to the fall classic and after that, as the Giants proved last year, anything can happen. 

Thanks again to Derek. May he do this with us again, even if the Mariners play spoiler this weekend for the BoSox.