Neighbors to the north
July 30-August 1
The trade deadline is here. What will the Seattle Mariners roster look like by the end of this series?
The last time these 2 teams met, Toronto took 2 of 3 from the Mariners. They doubled the Mariners run total in that series, 11-22. With the Mariner bats coming aline and Toronto pitching hurting, the Mariners have a chance to make a sizable statement in this one.
Pitching match ups:
Game 105: LHP – Ricky Romero vs. RHP – Hisashi Iwakuma
Romero will have a chance to prove his worth in the starting rotation by facing Seattle. The Lefty has struggled this season and has posted a loss in 6 consecutive starts. The M’s have struggled against lefties this season and have consistently played poorly at home.
The current M’s have a .187 combined batting average against the Blue Jays hurler, but Seattle will be digging for their longest winning streak of the year (5) in winning this game. Should be a good match up.
- Current Line: 8-7 / 5.75 ERA / 68 BB / 85 SO / 1.57 WHIP
- Romero’s BB/9 innings is 4.95 up from 3.20 last season. M’s need to be patient.
Hisashi Iwakuma left suddenly for Japan last week for some unknown personal reasons. He is back now and hopefully whatever the situation was wont distract him from his start. Iwakuma pitched well in his last outing against the Yankees holding the team to a single run in 5 innings.
Easier said than done.
The real key to his success seemed to be the fact he was mixing his pitches well compared to his normal reliance on a sub-par fastball.
- Current Line: 1-2 / 4.56 ERA / 25 BB / 37 SO / 1.46 WHIP
- The Japanese right hander gives up a lot of hits but seems to work well under pressure.
Game 106: LHP – Aaron Laffey vs. LHP – Jason Vargas
The former Mariner, Aaron Laffey returns to Safeco to pitch against his former team. Like most players that have come through Seattle, Laffey has shown better numbers since his departure. The most notable change is the WHIP which which was 1.64 with the M’s but only 1.19 with the Jays. His drastic change may be due to adding a cut fastball and practically excluding his slider.
- Current line: 2-1 / 3.22 ERA / 11 BB / 26 SO / 1.19 WHIP
Speculation is still think on if Jason Vargas will make this start or will be traded before the deadline. The 29 year-old has communicated his desire to stay with the team. One wonders how well he would do away from the friendly dimensions of Safeco field.
This is definitely been a career season for Jason, with the exception of giving up home runs. Vargas gave up 22 homers all of last season and has all ready given up 25 half way through this one. Good thing Jose Bautista is still on the DL for this series.
- Current Line: 11-7 / 3.76 ERA / 41 BB / 96 SO / 1.16 WHIP
- In their last outing against Vargas, Toronto batters were held to a .182 average.
Game 107: RHP – Carlos Villanueva vs. RHP – Blake Beavan
At 6-0 Villanueva is undefeated thus far into the Season. He made the switch to the starting rotation for the Blue Jays after a series of injuries left the team with few options. In the last month he is 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA. Watch out M’s!
- Current Line: 6-0 / 2.92 ERA / 31 BB / 65 SO / 1.28 WHIP
Blake Beavan has looked great since his return from AAA. At this point Beaven looks to be the only piece from the 2010 Cliff Lee trade that has potential of being valuable. Blake last faced Toronto in late April where he allowed 3 runs on 7 hits.
- Current Line: 6-6 / 5.20 ERA / 12 BB / 44 SO / 1.25 WHIP
Blue Jays vs. M’s Series Predictions
If Iwakuma can provide a good performance and the M’s continue to work hard to get runs early in the game, there is a good chance the M’s can take advantage of the struggling Romero.
Prediction: Win (Jays 2 – Mariners 4)
It is so helpful that Bautista is out of the line up for the Mariners. However if Vargas gets traded the outlook for this game may look very different. Still I think Wedge has a good handle on how to approach Laffey, even if he has added the cutter.
Prediction: Win (Jays 3 – Mariners 4)
Beaven will pitch well, but Villanueva will pitch better. Although I would love to be proven wrong.
Prediction: Loss (Jays 5 – Mariners 1)
- Hisashi Iwakuma has pitched well his last 2 outings, but came away with No Decisions in both starts.
- The last time he pitched against Toronto, he came in relief and gave up a Grand Slam to Edwin Encarnacion.