Things Are Just Bigger In Texas
The Mariners have one more look at the stiff competition at the top of the division as the season winds down.
Pitching match ups:
Game 144: RHP – Hisashi Iwakuma vs. RHP – Yu Darvish
Two former elite level Japanese pitchers square off against each other in this match up between Hisashi Iwakuma and Darvish. Darvish was by far the media darling at the beginning of the season, but it is Iwakuma that is turning heads with his good stuff on the mound since being added to the starting rotation part way through the season.
He has gone 5-2 in his last 10 games for the M’s offering what Seattle needed most on the field – consistency.
- Current Line: 6-4 / 3.39 ERA / 41 BB / 83 SO / 1.29 WHIP
- The Rangers have hit well off of Iwak this season. 7 earned runs in 8 innings with an average of .364. Yikes!
With double digit wins, Darvish certainly has helped the Rangers in their quest to be champions again this season. Notice something similar between these two pitchers? The number of walks.
I’m not sure if the strike zone is a little more liberal in Japan, but both of these pitchers give up a lot of free bases.
The difference is Iwak is more likely to keep them on base and not allow them the satisfaction of scoring. (Iwak’s left on base percentage is 80.3% while Yu’s is set at 69.8%).
A lot of this obviously has more to do with the defense behind them.
The Rangers do not have as good a defense as Seattle, but man can they hit.
- Current Line: 14-9 / 4.14 ERA / 85 BB / 196 SO / 1.33 WHIP
- Darvish is 1-2 against the M’s with a 9.00 ERA, giving up 16 earned runs and 14 walks in 16 innings.
Game 145: LHP – Jason Vargas vs. RHP – Scott Feldman
Vargas is trying to finish is good season strong, but the M’s seem to be on a spiral downward at the end of the season, with no hope of the playoffs and a last place finish.
The M’s have not finished above last place in their division since 2007. Vargas is 1-1 against Texas this year with a 4.73 ERA, which in comparison with 2011’s numbers is not an improvement. Last year the lefty was 2-1 with a 3.92 ERA.
He has a chance to match those numbers with a win in this game.
Jason Vargas has been helped tremendously by his defense, according to his fielding independent average (fip) Vargas’ ERA would be up to around the 4.70 mark without the backup.
Vargas becomes a free agent in 2014 so this offseason would be a good time to try to move the southpaw from Apple Valley California, but he may be safe just due to the fact that the M’s want to keep a lefty in the rotation (and 2011 top draft pick LHP Danny Hultzen has been struggling mightily in AAA).
Only time will tell.
- Current line: 14-10 / 3.85 ERA / 50 BB / 127 SO / 1.17 WHIP.
Feldman could find himself out of a roster spot for the playoffs if he doesn’t show an improvement for this game. The 29 year old from Hawaii is 0-5 in his last six starts and lost his last start to “rest up” for the Mariners. Seattle is hitting only .216 against Feldman, but have kept him to a 0-2 record with a 6.30 ERA.
All that being said, Feldman’s wins over replacement (WAR) rating is a 2.2 over Vargas WAR which sits and an even 1.0. WAR is a difficult stat to master but basically gives an average number of wins that player assures the team over someone else that would take their place.
In other words Feldman is a better pitcher than the numbers indicate.
- Current Line: 6-11 / 4.97 ERA / 25 BB / 81 SO / 1.34 WHIP
- Kyle Seager is hitting .600 against Feldman
Game 146: RHP – Blake Beavan vs. LHP – Matt Harrison
Blake Beavan pitched well in his last outing until he fell victim to the home run ball as Cody Ross took one over the wall in what proved to be the deciding factor in that game.
Beavan is the picture of control, only allowing 19 walks the entire season. Don’t forget that Beavan was a 1st round draft pick by the Texas Rangers in 2007 so he has good stuff, but he tends to be fairly predictable early in the count.
He could use a lesson in varying his lead off pitches.
- Current Line: 9-9 / 5.01 ERA / 19 BB / 61 SO / 1.27 WHIP
- Adrian Beltre and David Murphy both have averages in the .400’s against Beavan.
Harrison picked up his 16th win of the season in his last start. He pitches well against left handed batters which may be why the M’s have gone 0-3 against him this year.
- Current Line: 16-9 / 3.36 ERA / 52 BB / 115 SO / 1.28 WHIP
M’s vs. Rangers Series Predictions
Game 1: Prediction: Win (Mariners 3 – Rangers 2) If the M’s can truly get their offense going there is no reason they can’t win this game.
Game 2: Prediction: Loss (Mariners 2 – Rangers 8) – could be a difficult match up for the M’s
Game 3: Prediction: Loss (Mariners 0 – Rangers 5)
Harrison tires easily, so the M’s really need to concentrate on grinding through at-bats and hit his pitch count up in the early innings if they want to have a chance against Harrison. Can the M’s prove they can do this? Doubt it.
Darvish needs four strikeouts to become the 16th rookie since 1900 to fan 200 batters. Mariners 3B Kyle Seager has hit in four straight and was 7-for-13 in the series vs. the Blue Jays.
Nathan’s blown save was his first since April 11, snapping a franchise-record 31 in a row.