What a rough four game stretch. First, Felix's perfect start is ruined by Brandon League inevitably blowing a save in a high pressure situation. Then Hector Noesi fails to get out of the second inning and the Mariners lose 7-3. It's OK though because they redeemed themselves the next day. Wait, what? Phil Humber threw a perfect game? Damn it. And yeah, that was terrible. It's about time though. After three years of really sucky hitting, someone was bound to perfect game the M's. They had it coming. Even so, a perfect game hurts. Especially with the way Brendan Ryan just whiffed helplessly at the final pitch. That was sad to watch. Sunday didn't get any better, but at least the M's scored four runs, which amounts to more than they scored in the first two games of the series. They blew yet another early lead though, as Kevin Millwood looked poor again. He's such a stop gap it's ridiculous.
Anyway, the 7-10 Mariners have more baseball to play. In fact, they have 145 games left to play. That can only be described as a lot more. So, yeah, they have some work to do. Fortunately, it gets a lot easier, since they go and play the Tigers in Detroit this week. What? Detroit is 10-6 and has the best offense in baseball at full potential? Shit. The M's are screwed.
April 24: Jason Vargas (2-1, 2.84) vs. Max Scherzer (1-1, 7.98)
Wow. Jason Vargas' line this year is really good. And by really good I mean decent on a team like the Mariners. In the middle of last week, I almost made the point that no M's starter had a losing record. Well, now three of them do, and Vargas remains the only pitcher with a winning record. I'm beginning to wonder whether Mr. Vargas will ever appear. Not to jinx it or anything. The last two times I've previewed a Vargas start, I've predicted that his bad side would come out. It hasn't yet. That being said, I think it will happen today. The Tigers can mash, and the M's are on the road. It just makes sense. I do hope that Vargas has turned the corner though, mostly so we can trade him for a shitload of prospects at the deadline. That's the life of a Mariners fan. Oh and Max Scherzer has an ERA of nearly eight. Nah, it doesn't matter. He's facing the Mariners. They love fixing ERA's.
April 25: Felix Hernandez (1-1, 2.76) vs. Adam Wilk (0-2, 4.00)
Who is Adam Wilk? Anybody heard of this guy before? Its fine though since his opponent is almost equally unknown. I'm sorry, I can't write that with a straight face. The Mariner somehow managed to screw Thursday night up for Felix. I swear if they screw up Wednesday I'm going to commit a crime. Wow, I can't believe I wrote that. I'm scaring myself. Please, offense and Brandon League, help Felix. Convince him that Seattle has something, anything to offer him. Why he wants to stay in Seattle continues to baffle me. That's why he's the King I guess. Felix's change up, which was i full filth mode on Thursday, should cause the Tigers hitters enough problems that the M's offense can get going against the guy that nobody outside of Detroit and most people inside of Detroit have never heard of. I'm sorry, I would refer to him by name again, but my computer keeps autocorrecting his name to Will. It's frustrating. All hail the King.
April 26: Hector Noesi (1-2, 9.49) vs. Rick Porcello (1-1, 6.32)
I dunno about you, but when I look at this matchup I see 10-8, 11-10, written all over it. Check out Noesi's sexy ERA. For those unable to do middle school math, he's averaging over a run allowed per inning pitched. For those who don't understand baseball, that fucking sucks. However, unlike old, crotchety Kevin Millwood, Noesi is a work in progress and not a stop gap. He needs to work out his kinks and has already showed an ability to spin a gem. He has two stinker starts and one awesome one. Maybe, if he operates on some sort of strange alternating system, he'll go the distance in Detroit. I wonder if the M's would take that. If you were a crappy team like Seattle, and you knew that a pitcher would alternate eight inning shutouts with 2 innings bomb tests ever start, would you pitch him? I think the Mariners would definitely do that. Also, Rick Porcello blows. We better not turn him into Phil Humber. Since the M's hit the Tigers pretty well last year, I think this could be a good game for the offense.
Three to watch:
Kyle Seager: His hot start disappeared over the weekend. His average dropped to .255. He had some really bad at bats where he had no idea where the pitch was going. He is, the most perplexing third baseman in the world. I don't always get base hits, but when I do, I get them with no one on base. I wonder if Kyle Seager drinks Dos Equis? Props if he does. This week in Detroit, the M's will need him to hit consistently and drive in runs when called upon. The other day I tweeted at a bunch of writers asking whether they though Kyle Seager could be the future third baseman for the Mariners. Jeff Sullivan of Lookout Landing tweeted back, "I think he's earning consideration." That pretty accurately sums it up.
Jesus Montero: Through 54 at bats, Montero has two homer runs and eight RBIs. That's not terrible. He has three extra-base hits. That is terrible. Middle of the order singles hitters is so 2009-2011 for the M's. Montero needs to stop that trend. This seems like a perfect series for him to turn that around, since at least one of these games will be a slugfest. The Mariners brought in Montero for his power, specifically to the opposite field. We haven't seen any oppo homers yet, but He has crushed two singers to deep center at Safeco. That's a great sign. Some doubles in this series would be nice also.
Miguel Cabrera: How can you look past Miggy? He's the best overall hitter in baseball, with no disrespect to Albert Pujols. He has a modest four homers with a .290 average and 12 RBIs so far in 2012. The Mariners really need a guy like that, where that line is considered below average. That guy would be a legend in Seattle. Also, Cabrera arrived on Twitter today. Good for him for joining the digital age once and for all. Mariner pitchers will want to stay away from Cabrera in big spots. Expect at least two or three intentional walks in the series.
This one could be ugly for the M's. 7-13 would suck, especially since it at worst should be like 9-11. I gotta think that by avoiding Verlander the Mariners will win at least one game against inferior pitching. Its a pretty obvious choice, but I like the Mariners in Felix's start and the Tigers in Noesi's. So I think Vargas' start tonight decides it. Jason has pitched really well this season as I touched on earlier, but this game also feels like one where he would bomb in. If he pitches well, not only will the M's win, they will feel very strongly about their number two starter and best trade chip. I'm gonna go with Detroit in a close one tonight, 5-4. I think Felix will dominate on Wednesday as usual, and the Mariners take that game 4-1. I think Noesi struggles again on Thursday, and Rick freaking Porcello manages to silence the M's bats for a little while. Detroit wins game three, 8-3 and takes the series.