Game 47, Mariners at Devil Rays
RHP Gil Meche v LHP Mark Hendrickson. 4:05, FSNW for TV.
Also, since this gets asked every game thread — it’s Darnell Coles in the booth with Rizzs.
This series appears like it’s perfectly timed. After a brutal schedule against other AL East teams, finally a rest against a patsy. The Mariners are 18-28, we’ve got a rotation that’s in deep trouble, a bunch of automatic outs in the lineup, and the big question is whether there’s a 2004-style dismantling in the team’s near future. You would think that Tampa would be a tonic for this battered squad.
It’s not so simple. Park-adjusted, the Devil Rays offense ranks 7th in the majors, the Mariners 24th. Their pitching, though, has been awful awful awful. If you think the Mariners are bad, the Devil Rays are giving up another full run each game, and even if you want to give Safeco some credit, there’s no way that gap isn’t wide. And their starters — 5.82 ERA, 38 HR in 48 games and 262 IP. 129 walks to 151 strikeouts. That their bullpen (4.95 ERA) offers any improvement is a horrible comment on how bad their pitching’s been.
However, particularly relevant to tonight’s matchup, the current Mariner splits
v. LHP: .225/.285/.334
v. RHP: .254/.312/.388
Last time I looked at this, I suggested that opposing teams should consider calling up anyone left-handed from their AAA teams to make spot starts against the Mariners. At this point, I would consider having my right-handed starters throw left-handed to turn the Mariners into the harmless (but cute) basket of kittens that shows up against southpaws.
The counter-argument, of course, is that the team can’t hit either way. 30 points of OBP? Who cares? Have the right-handed groundskeeper relieve, they’ll get themselves out.
Or, to put this another way: against left-handers, the Mariners are nine Royce Claytons, hoping to be nine Adam Everetts. They’re nine Kazou Matsuis.
Against right-handers, they’re nine Chone Figgins. Sure, there’s a bump in OBP and a bigger bump in power, but it’s the difference between a team that scores three runs runs most games (3.3 average or something similar) and possibly four, five a game (Chone Figgins has a RC27 of 4.6, which isn’t the best comp, but it’ll do). One’s awful and the other’s below average, so your choice is “is this lefty’s ERA more than a run and change over the right-hander I was going to spot here?
If you’re Tampa, it’s unlikely any left-handed option would be that bad, given how awful their starters are. I’d throw a left-handed kitchen sink at the Mariners if I was them.