Series Preview: Seattle To Canada!
Seattle Mariners (10-10)
Toronto Blue Jays (10-9)
Pitcher Preview: Don’t mistake Romero’s drop in strike outs with declining stuff. He’s still missing bats at the same ratio as previous seasons and on top of that he’s seeing a few more ground balls. He may not be an “ace” in the traditional sense but he’s a very good pitcher. Mariners would be better off not “stacking” right handers against him, as he doesn’t have much of a career split. In fact he’s more apt to give up home runs off of left handed hitters. I haven’t figured out quite why that is as his change-up is above average and his four-seam/two-seam, while not much of a weapon, is a good pitch for him and he commands it well. This is going to be a tough game, where lefties are going to hope he makes mistakes and they can drive it.
Pitcher Preview: With Beavan’s career, I’ve been guilty of looking at stats and just writing him off, but despite his peripherals he’s been a pretty good pitcher. His velocity isn’t flashy but his size and deception allows his fastball to creep up on hitters. He gives up a lot of fly balls –that at times makes me cringe—but induces a lot of weak contact as proof of his 16.1% Infield fly balls. There are times in which he throws too many strikes and because of that gives up line drives. But he throws a good curve ball and his change-up is missing bats. The worry going into Toronto for me is those fly ball outs and can they continue to stay in the park formerly known as SkyDome.
Pitcher Preview: I know a lot of people are going to point out Morrow’s struggles to start this year and immediately stand on a mountain and proclaim that trading him –-much like Pineda—was the right move at the right time. I’m not going to argue that it’s not but there are more things than just FIP and xFIP to look at here. He is giving up fewer hard hit balls and balls that are being put into play are becoming outs. He’s throwing twice as many change-ups during games as he has in previous season AND it’s been working well for him.
He’s been in two games where he just couldn’t locate his fastball and the Rays and O’s jumped all over him for it. But, his change-up has been very good and his slider is nothing short of excellent here in the early part of the season.
If the Mariners are in a mood to take pitches, like we saw in Detroit, they could run Morrow out of the game early –similar to what they did with Max Scherzer– otherwise it could be a long afternoon at the ball park for Seattle hitters if end up getting themselves in pitchers counts and see much of Morrow’s secondary arsenal.
Pitcher Preview: I don’t love Millwood. I understand and accept he’s simply a placeholder and nothing more. In fact I’m a bit disappointed that Erasmo and Iwakuma are in the bullpen forcing Shawn Kelley and Chance Ruffin to Tacoma. It’s annoying to be honest. But that said Millwood has pitched better than the results have indicated. He’s not stranded a lot of runners and while he’s gotten hit hard I don’t expect him to continue to be this bad. He’s not great, but he’s not this bad either.
Everything really depends upon his locating his fastball on the edges of the strike zone. From there it’s about minimizing the amount of pitches he throws and not allowing him to pitch later than the 6th inning. His ability to pitch deep into ball games has faded and as a 5th starter that’s alright. That is the point of the bullpen and having guys like Ramirez, Delabar and even a Tom Wilhelmsen, who I like seeing pitch multiple late innings.
Pitcher Preview: I try to always come into a situation with a sense of optimism. But with Henderson Alvarez, he just seems like a bad pitcher. He’s gotten rather lucky because in generally he hasn’t been hit hard. But he has a problem keeping the ball in the ball park when it’s hit in the air and in generally he has gotten lucky with the amount of ground ball outs that he continues to get. He doesn’t miss a lot of bats and depends upon inducing weak contact. But he doesn’t have that premium control, like Beavan, to succeed. He misses a lot in the strike zone and he’s gotten pretty lucky thus far. I like the Mariners chances to rough him up a bit.
Pitcher Preview: Vargas is definitely improved upon what he was last year –a pretty good back of the rotation option—and starting to pitch his way into the conversation of being a decent #3 guy. That said, he has put himself in scary situations with early inning walks that, so far, have been turned into double plays. He won’t continue being that lucky. He has been curtailing the amount of fly balls he gets with his repertoire, which should help him while pitching at Rogers Center and against a Jay’s team that has some thump.
Probable Defensive AlignmentSeattle