Something I used to do as a kid was grab the Seattle Times, open up the sports section to the baseball roundup page and read the probables for the upcoming day in the MLB. I used to especially look out for matchups that were particularly lopsided. If I was my 12-year old self flipping through the paper today, I’m sure the Aaron Harang vs. David Price matchup would be one I would point to and and laugh at.
Be honest with yourself. How much of chance do you give the Mariners of winning this game? Ten percent, maybe? Harang has been horrifying in his last two starts. In seven innings, he’s allowed 14 earned runs. That’s an ERA of 18.00, for those playing at home. In those starts, he also has five walks and just one strikeout. His last good road start came on July 5 when he beat the Reds 4-2. Truthfully, his July wasn’t awful, but the way his August has started he cannot be trusted to perform in a road start against a contending team.
Making matters even worse, Price takes the mound to oppose Harang for the Rays. While this season’s numbers havent necessarily been vintage Price (6-5, 3.17 ERA), this is still the pitcher who led the AL in wins last season with 20 on a team that didn’t make the playoffs. In his last four starts, Price has allowed one earned run or fewer and pitched through the seventh inning every time, including two complete games. He has walked ONE (ONE!) batter combined in those four starts while striking out 21. THAT is vintage David Price.
Oh, did I mention Price is left-handed? Because he is. Yesterday, I wrote about how the Mariners inability to hit lefties is a big problem. As of yesterday, the Mariners were hitting 21 points lower against lefties than they were against righties. That number was .230. What are lefties hitting off of Price? Why .212, of course.
Even further complicating things, the Mariners have six hitters in their lineup tonight that prefer the left side of the plate. Kendrys Morales is actually a better hitter from the right side this year by 15 points, and Michael Morse and Humberto Quintero are right-handed. If Franklin Gutierrez and Mike Zunino were available, this might be a little bit less daunting, but alas, they are not.
All of this goes to show not only how difficult tonight’s game will be for Seattle, but how important last night’s win was. Erasmo Ramirez beat a red hot rookie of the year candidate in Chris Archer, and Oliver Perez, Yoervis Medina and Danny Farquhar were stellar out of the bullpen. The Mariners are in the midst of a brutal road trip, and despite their best efforts, games like this might not be winnable.