mariners

M’s vs. Rangers: The pitching, series preview, analysis & predictions

Seattle vs. Texas Matchup

Series Starts April 9th. (Yes that’s today)

Young Seattle Mariners line-up travels to Arlington to find out if their newly acquired offensive production is legit.

Probable Pitching match ups:

Game 5: Hector Noesi vs. Yu Darvish

Texas will debut Yu Darvish in this game.  Darvish is dominate pitcher similar to Felix Hernandez.  His career numbers are impressive: 76 wins 28 losses in five seasons with an ERA of 1.72, a WHIP of .0890 and a strike out rate of 9.5 K’s per 9 innings.

Hector Noesi is getting his first start for Seattle in the first game of this four game series.  Noesi worked out of the pen for the Yankees in 2011 and had success against the Texas power line-up in the 1.2 innings he worked against them.

Game 6: Blake Bevan vs. Neftali Feliz

This will be Neftali Feliz’s first start for Texas graduating out of the closer role he carried the past several seasons.  Feliz dominated the Mariners in 2011 with a 0.00 ERA, 0 hits, 13 K’s and only 2 Base on Balls in 9.2 innings of work.

Blake Bevan worked in the Seattle rotation for the second half of the 2011 season facing Texas twice going 1-1 but maintaining an impressive 1.84 ERA against the plethora of power hitters of the reigning American League champions.

Game 7: Kevin Millwood vs Colby Lewis

With the Absence of C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis has moved in the #1 spot in Rangers rotation.  Lewis has had limited success in the majors holding a career 4.97 ERA (3.63 ERA against Seattle in 2011).

Kevin Millwood came into the Mariners spring training camp as a non-roster invitee and ended up on the roster.  This will be Millwood’s 16th MLB season with his 7 MLB team. He has only faced Texas for one game in the past three years in which he lost.

Game 8: Jason Vargas vs. Derek Holland

While Holland is not the most stellar pitcher in the American League he fared well against Seattle 2011 going 3-0 in 4 starts with a 2.77 ERA

Vargas will be pitching in his third game in this young 2012 season and has performed well.  He enjoyed success against the Rangers last season which we as fans can only hope continues in 2012.

Predictions:

Game 1:

This game will draw international attention as Japanese star Yu Darvish makes his major league debut. Japanese baseball fans will tune in for no other reason than to see Darvish face Ichiro Suzuki.  Expectations will be high on the 25 year old as fans and management are hoping he will be an adequate replacement for their former ace C.J. Wilson.

If the M’s can jump on Darvish early they could take advantage of the butterflies in his stomach and the hitter friendly park in Arlington.

The advantage is in the Mariners favor. Mariners 6 Texas 4

Game 2:

Feliz is expected to pitch more innings this year than the three previous years of his career combined.  This early in the season Feliz will be under a strict limited pitch count, probably around 80 pitches.  If the M’s can make that happen early in the game and get to the bullpen sooner rather than later, it will be their game to lose.

The Texas bullpen has been week in the beginning of the 2012 campaign and Bevan has shown good control through the spring. Mariners 4 Texas 3

Game 3:

Millwood has been strong this season and with his experience is likely to pitch well in his Mariners debut.  By the third game of the series the Rangers are going to adjust to the Mariners new line up. Lewis is likely to have a lot of confidence pitching in front of the home crowd.

Seattle M's vs. Texas Rangers

Mariners vs. Rangers Series Preview

This game will be more even and is likely to head into extra innings.

It is really a coin toss on the winner.  I will go with the M’s just because I have more faith in Brandon League than Joe Nathan. Mariners 6 Rangers 5

Game 4:

Vargas will have a strong showing in this game and by this time the Mariners will show if the success they have shown in Oakland will carry over to the long season.

Vargas has typically gone without much run support and if the M’s are not focused mentally (which is likely on the eve of the home opener in Seattle) they will not perform well.

Holland and the Rangers offense will be likely performing well, although with a tired bullpen by this time could play well in the Mariners favor. Mariners 3 Rangers 5

Other Details:

These four games will be good to watch as we will get our first look at the Mariners 3-4-5 starters.  The Rangers are also the reigning American League champions two years running as well as being division rivals.

It will also be nice to see the Mariners play someone other than Oakland.

However the pressure the M’s felt in facing Yonis Cepedis will happen with nearly every batter in the Texas line up, not to mention that Texas stadium is a very hitter friendly ball park.

We should be seeing quite a few home runs, hopefully not exclusively from Texas batters.

Watch for news on the Mariners disabled list as Adam Moore is on a rehab assignment in Tacoma and eligible to return at any point and Mike Carp has been reported to be ready by the home opener on April 13.

Their successes or failures could change the M’s roster by the time they hit the ground in Seattle for the first time this season.

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