Aug 13-16 Seattle Mariners Series Preview

Defense:

Team UZR/150: 7.6

That 7.6 figure is the second best in the AL, behind only the Tampa Bay Rays. Considering that their staff is pretty fly ball oriented, the excellent defense of Ichiro (7.3 in RF) and Franklin Gutierrez (17.5 in CF) really provides a shot in the arm to the team.

Pitching:

Team FIP: 4.50

Thursday: Ian Snell vs. C.C. Sabathia

Friday: Ryan Rowland-Smith vs. Andy Pettitte

Saturday: Luke French vs. Sergio Mitre

Sunday: Doug Fister vs. Chad Gaudin

New York lucks out again, missing Felix Hernandez for the second time this season. With Erik Bedard on the DL and Jarrod Washburn in Detroit, Seattle’s rotation is pretty young and fairly uninteresting. Ian Snell is probably the most recognizable name up there, but he’s in the midst of an odd season to say the least. While still in Pittsburgh, Snell personally requested a move to triple-A in order to work on his pitching issues, as well as to get away from the negativity in Pittsburgh. The issue is just as strange as it sounds. Clearly he had fallen out of favor in Pittsburgh, with GM Neil Huntington going as far as to call the Snell contract extension a mistake while his client was still in town. His stuff is still there, evidenced by the seventeen strikeouts he posted in his first start back in Triple A. I understand Triple A hitters are different than major league hitters, but seventeen strikeout games aren’t thrown by talentless hacks. His debut in Seattle has been messy though, and he’s coming off of a four out, six walk game against Tampa Bay. Given that in major league action this season he’s walked almost as many hitters as he’s struck out, C.C. Sabathia shouldn’t have to worry about run support tonight.

Ryan Rowland-Smith is a lefty who sits in the high eighties and doesn’t have much of an out pitch. He’s a fly ball pitcher, which isn’t necessarily bad given his home park and outfield defense. The key for the Yankees is going to be putting the ball out of the ballpark. If Rowland-Smith can keep the Bombers in the yard, he could have some success.

Lucas French is Jarrod Washburn’s replacement in the rotation. Conveniently enough, he features a very similar repertoire and skill set. Like Rowland-Smith and Washburn, he’s going to be able to post a decent earned run average with a large yard and a good defense behind him.

Doug Fister is making his second major league start this Sunday. He’s a fringe prospect due to a lack of velocity and should be fodder for the Yankee offense.

Relief pitching:

As a whole, the bull pen is pretty bad. Closer David Aardsma has been a revelation, though he’s due some regression in the home run department. He has a slider for a change of pace, but the vast majority of the time he pumps 96 MPH fastballs. He throws hard, but one has to wonder how he’s only given up two home runs with such a simple arsenal. Mark Lowe is a decent reliever. Shawn Kelley and Sean White aren’t terrible. Garrett Olson is the lone lefty in the pen. He currently leads the world in HR/9 allowed.

To sum up, the Yankees are lucky to avoid Felix Hernandez. He’s really the only pitcher the Mariners have that ought to scare anybody. Losing Posada, Rodriguez, or Jeter for any combination of games will be a blow, but with a comfortable lead on Boston, the Yankees don’t have to panic. Taking two from Seattle would make this a successful series.