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Polar Mariners stand in the way of Rockies' season best streak

Sorry, I'm not a lit or philosophy guy. I'm a different kind of geek. Regarding momentum:

A body in motion stays in motion, unless it is acted on by an external force.

After sweeping consecutive NL Central leaders on the road, the Rockies have to hope that the switch to Coors Field and interleague play is too weak of a force to slow their blinding momentum and league best eight game winning streak. Perhaps it will even be an extra boost to a team that has played more road games than any MLB club.

In the Rockies' first home interleague series, Colorado draws the Seattle Mariners. After acquiring Erik Bedard before last season, Seattle stumbled out to the second-worst MLB record in 2008, which enabled them to draft Dustin Ackley this week. They have bounced back this year and are currently tied for second place in the open AL West.

Don Wakamatsu's club raced out to a 7-2 record, then coasted to a 13-9 April record. May was on the flip side, thanks to a 1-9 stretch and an 11-18 record overall. Seattle has rebounded to a 6-3 record in June and is on a two game win streak.

Some interesting team stats: Seattle is a respectable 14-16 on the road. Those 14 road wins represent the second most of any team without a winning record. We are first, with 17 after winning eight in nine days. Also, the Mariners have been involved in 27 one-run games. No other MLB club has been in more than 21. They have used it to their advantage, winning 15 of the 27, meaning exactly half of their wins have come by just one run. Perhaps it isn't surprising, then to know that they have been outscored by 21 this year.

The Rockies are 10-13 against Seattle in interleague play history - 4-4 at home, 6-9 on the road. We have won only two series against the Mariners in club history, one in 1997, and one coming the last time the two teams faced: June 30-July 2, 2006. That series will always be remembered by Josh Fogg's career performance, as he threw a CG SO while facing only 27 men.

Also, this series offers an additional excuse to check out Lookout Landing, perhaps the best MLB SBNation team blog from a statistics point-of-view.

Seattle Mariners (30-30, W2, t-2nd)

Friday-Sunday : 3-game series at Coors Field

The Bats: F

Bringing in Ken Griffey Jr was a popular move, but his production is not replacing their last ancient LF, Raul Ibanez, who is only the most valuable OF in the entire NL right now. Twelve year veteran Russell Branyan is on a career pace (over 40 HR in fact) in his second season of being a full-time starter. Ichiro will always be dangerous, but the rest of that lineup is abysmal. And by abysmal, I mean putrid. And by putrid, I mean absolutely god-awful.

The Mariners check in with a .310 team wOBA (the Rockies have 11 hitters higher), which is better than only Oakland and San Francisco. Worse, they have scored the least amount of runs in MLB. They also sport the league's worst OBP and one of the worst BB/K rates. They don't even slug all that well - thir team SLG is worse than Dexter Fowler.

Ichiro - RF .360 5 17
Russell Branyan - 1B
.317 14 29
Adrian Beltre - 3B
.258 4 28
Ken Griffey Jr - LF
.215 6 16
Jose Lopez - 2B
.241 8 36
Yuniesky Betancourt - SS
.242 2 19
Franklin Gutierrez - CF
.261 3 19
Jamie Burke - C
.167 1 1

Wakamatsu's lineup could very much be in flux. Junior has been the DH all season, so putting him in the outfield robs starts for Wladimir Balentein and Endy Chavez. Given Jr's age and the spacious Coors OF, he figures to take a seat at least once in the series. IF's Mike Sweeney (former Royal) and Ronny Cedeno (former Cub) could see time as well. With Kenji Johjima on the DL and Jeff Clement in AAA, the Mariners feature two stop-gap catchers in Jamie Burke and Guillermo Quiroz. But we know that a stopgap catcher can still be dangerous.

The Arms: A-

It's hard to complain about a pitching staff that has a better ERA than any team sans the Dodgers. The starters are doing their job, as evidenced by the Mariners having the fifth least relief appearances. But none of the peripheral stats seem to support that low of an ERA - most barely crack the top ten. Not surprisingly, then, they have the third largest negative split in ERA/FIP, but a 4.10 FIP is still very good.

Brandan Morrow lost his closer job mid-May after two horrific blown saves against Texas. He has been replaced by Colorado native David Aardsma, who has 11 saves (8 as official closer) with one blown save and a sparkling 1.78 ERA. We will luckily miss Felix Hernandez in the series, but the three starters we do draw have ERAs at 3.07 or below.

The D: C

Only three teams have made more errors than the 46 Seattle has committed, but they are 10th in UZR/150.

Probable Pitchers:

Tonight, 7:10 pm MDT

2009 - Jarrod Washburn 3-4 3.07 1.19 50 18

2009 - Ubaldo Jimenez 4-6 3.91 1.38 66 31

Saturday, June 13, 6:10 pm MDT

2009 - Erik Bedard 5-2 2.47 1.16 65 22

2009 - Jason Marquis 8-4 3.98 1.34 39 28

Sunday, June 14, 1:10 MDT

2009 - Jason Vargas 2-1 2.35 1.20 23 10

2009 - Jason Hammel 3-3 4.33 1.54 36 15


For the third straight series, the Rockies draw a hot star. Ichiro (10-for-24 last 7 days) is on fire. Adrian Beltre (9-for-23) and Jose Lopez (8-for-24, 3 HR) are raking as well. Yesterday, the Mariners allowed three runs in a win. It was the first time they allowed more than two runs in any game in June.

IceKen Griffey Jr (3-for-19) has continued to show age recently. Gutierrez, Cedeno, Betancourt, Chavez and Balentein are all below .154 hitting the last week as well.

Bandaid_mediumRyan Rowland-Smith (triceps), Carlos Silva (shoulder), Kenji Johima (toe), Ray Corcoran (neck) and Shawn Kelly are all on the 15-day DL. Franklin Gutierrez (knee) and Rob Johnson (foot) are listed as questionable.