mariners

Mariners vs. White Sox in Chicago: Pitching, series preview, analysis, predictions

 Wildcard = 6.5 Games

August 24-26

The Seattle Mariners hope that their recent winning streak will breeze through the windy city. Tough matchup awaits them though. Seattle is 4-21 against the White Sox since the start of the 2010 season.

Pitching match ups:

Game 126: LHP – Jason Vargas vs. RHP – Jake Peavy

Matchup | Preview

Jason Vargas is searching for his 14th win for the season against the A.L. central Division leaders, the Chicago White Sox.

Vargas has been quite the story for the Mariners this season, and while he is pitching exceptionally well this season, the truth of the matter is that he has always pitched really well. (at Safeco especially)

The difference this season is that his team is backing him up both defensively and offensively.

Chicago White Sox

Game 126: Vargas vs. Peavy

Even with the loss of gold glove outfielders Franklin Gutierrez and Ichiro Suzuki, the M’s have upgraded left field and third base, not to mention Brendan Ryan‘s nightly magic shows at short stop.

The odd thing is that Vargas’ WAR rating (a stat indicating approximately how many wins the player contributes to the team over a replacement player at the same position) was higher last year than this one.

A major weakness of Vargas, and a likely reason he wasn’t traded is that he gives up a lot of home runs.  That could be a problem in this game in Chicago.

If the ball stays in the park, the M’s defense can help, because as well as the team is doing right now, it is hard to depend on the offense.

  • Current Line: 13-8 / 3.53 ERA / 44 BB / 109 SO / 1.14 WHIP
  • The current Sox lineup is hitting .337 against the Seattle southpaw

Jake Peavy led his team to a 7-4 win against Seattle back on June first, however he received a no decision in the match up.  There is no doubt that the Mariners pitching staff have tightened things up since that point in the season, so this may not be as soft a game as Peavy and the White Sox are anticipating.

The real key to Peavy’s success this season is the fact that he is throwing his curve ball more than ever in his career. Peavy’s strike out rate is higher than last season, but not nearly as high as earlier in his career.

Players that do connect hit line drives less than 20% of the time, as they tend to pop up the curve ball and send their team back to the dug out.

  • Current Line: 9-9 / 3.11 ERA / 37 BB / 150 SO / 1.08 WHIP

Game 127: RHP – Blake Beavan vs. RHP – LHP – Jose Quintana

Blake Beavan has dropped his ERA down to an even 5.00. It was as high as 6.06 when he was recalled from a stint at AAA.  The most encouraging thing is that he was able to make the changes required to come back and perform well.

He has lost only one game since his return. As well as a no decision which was a major disappointment from the rest of the M’s squad.

He doesnt seem to get as stressed out in pressure situations.  Beavan hates to make mistakes, which is evidenced by his total of 14 walks on the season.  However mistakes will happen more if you throw a guy too good of a pitch to avoid the walk.

If Beaven has learned to use the strike zone, then his odds of beating the Sox for this game go way up.

  • Current line: 8-7 / 5.00 ERA / 14 BB / 57 SO / 1.25 WHIP.

Quintana has only been the pitcher of record in 4 of the past 10 of his starts. What this tells the Mariners is that the White Sox squad do not have the same level of confidence in this southpaw than they do in someone like Chris Sale, who has dominated this season.

This may be more of a subconscious attitude than anything else, but in baseball the mental game is mightily important.

The Mariners don’t have a lot of hitters that induce a lot of dread for pitchers, so the strategy might not work.

  • Current Line: 5-2 / 2.76 ERA / 58 BB / 58 SO / 1.17 WHIP

Game 128:  RHP – Kevin Millwood vs. RHP – Gavin Floyd

Kevin Millwood is coming off a fairly dismal performance where he gave up 3 runs of 5 hits and 3 walks over 6 innings.

Jason Vargas, Seattle Mariners

There is no doubt the Mariners pitchers have tightened things up

Eric Wedge believes that Millwood is a good veteran presence for the team, and that is great for off the field.  Wouldn’t he have the same impact as a coach? At least then his presence on the field wouldn’t be so hard to take as fan.

I don’t mind the laid back demeanor, in fact I encourage it, but it seems like most times he doesn’t even care at all.

  • Current Line: 4-10 / 4.29 ERA / 47 BB / 97 SO / 1.40 WHIP

Gavin Floyd has been struggling since the All Sat break, but most experts still slant the tables toward the 6′ 6″ 235lb right harder.  With dimensions like that who can blame them though?  Floyd’s favorite pitch has to be the  fast ball which can be a deceiving pitch.

However the M’s seem to be seeing the ball better the past two weeks, so there is a possibility that the table is slanted the wrong way.

  • Current Line: 9-9 / 4.56  ERA / 52 BB /  113 SO / 1.42 WHIP

M’s vs. White Sox Series Predictions

Game 1:  The numbers really put this game in the White Sox favor.  If Vargas is on the top of his game they can have this game, if not – watch the 8 game streak end here.

Prediction:  Loss (Mariners 2 – Sox 3)

Game 2:  Quintana won’t be prepared for the hot Seattle team.

Prediction: Win (Mariners 4 – Sox 2)

Game 3:  The sooner Millwood is in the dugout the more likely the M’s will win.

Prediction: Win (Mariners 6 – Sox 5)

Notes:

The White Sox have hit 38 homers in August, the most in the majors.  Seattle is seeking its first nine-game winning streak since May 27-June 5, 2003.

Mariners CF Michael Saunders has four homers and seven RBIs in his last four games.

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