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Know Your Foe #14: Rockies Welcome Offensively-Inept Mariners to Town to Kickoff Interleague Play

Can this man outsmart Jim Tracy. Probably? Will it matter? Hopefully not.
Can this man outsmart Jim Tracy. Probably? Will it matter? Hopefully not.

With the Mariners coming to town this weekend, we will get a chance to see how bad the Rockies' pitching staff truly is. Warning signs are abound with the some 40 batters walked by Rockies pitchers in the past week, as well as the fact that they struggled with the Pirates, who are by far the worst offensive team in baseball. But, if they're unable to keep the Mariners, who have a team 81 wRC+ and have been even worse than that lately, we'll know we have a historically-bad problem on our hands.

At least with the Pirates, they have one great player, one huge power threat, and about 12 duds. With the Mariners, they can't get on base (Dustin Ackley's .325 OBP leads the team), they can't hit for power (Kyle Seager's team-leading .446 slugging percentage has been in a sharp decline, as he has hit .205/.225/.282 in his last ten games), and they just generally stink, as their total team fWAR of 3 (which is on par with David Wright and has been eclipsed by Josh Hamilton) will tell you.

The Mariners have had stretches where they've hit well (see the four-game stretch in late April where they scored 30 runs against the Tigers and Blue Jays), so the Rockies can't continue to pitch poorly. On top of that, they may not be quite as bad as advertised; sure they're 16-24, but they've already played ten more road games than home games. While that may not seem like a bad thing on the surface as their home park is death on hitters, it's hard to get any momentum going that way.

Dustin Ackley

#13 / Second Base / Seattle Mariners





Feb 26, 1988

2012 - Dustin Ackley .260 .325 .377

As mentioned above, Ackley gets on base at a better clip than any other Seattle regular, as he has the ability to draw a walk and also has some pop in his bat. The line shown above definitely looks little bit pedestrian, but Ackley's career road slash line is .288/.349/.424, which suggests that getting out of that ballpark would do him a world of good. (Note to Rockies: Get him after this season)

The aforementioned Seager and Michael Saunders account for the rest of Seattle's above-average regulars in terms of OPS+. After that, it's a laundry list of has-beens, never-were's, and might-not-ever-be's. Ichiro Suzuki leads the team in hits with 45, but he has little-to-no power, and boasts just a .318 on-base percentage. Chone Figgins (.182/.248/.293) is still the biggest criminal in baseball, as he is stealing outrageous amounts of money from Seattle for the third straight season. And, to make matters worse, Miguel Olivo, Justin Smoak, Brendan Ryan, and Jesus Montero all have sub-.300 OBPs. Yuck.

Even worse, you'd think that the Mariners would have an above-average pitching staff due to pitching half of their games in the AL's version of Petco Park. However, that is not the case. They are 26th in the league in pitching fWAR, and 24th in baseball in ERA+. Outside of Felix Hernandez (3.02 ERA, 126 ERA+, 8.8 K/9, and NOT pitching in this series), their only above-average starter is Jason Vargas (114 ERA+), who the Rox will see tomorrow. In the bullpen, closer Brandon League hasn't been very good, as he has walked as many batters as he has struck out. Outside of him, they're not bad, as the pen is filled with a collection of guys who can get a strikeout without walking everybody on the opposing team. They are, however, fairly hittable, as their low ERA+ totals would suggest.

The Rockies are perennially good in interleague play - especially at home, where they've historically been great. So, on the surface, one would think this series should be easily winnable, if not sweepable. However, if the Rockies continue to fail to throw strikes and put themselves in bad situations, a series loss could occur, which may spell the end of some jobs.

Projected starters and more after the jump...

Game 1: tonight at 6:40 PM MT (ROOT Sports)

Kevin Millwood (1-4, 5.09 ERA) vs. Alex White (0-2, 6.75 ERA)

Game 2: tomorrow at 2:10 PM MT (ROOT Sports)

Jason Vargas (4-3, 3.28) vs. Christian Friedrich (1-0, 1.38)

Game 3: Sunday at 1:10 PM MT (ROOT Sports)

Blake Beavan (1-4, 4.58) vs. Jeremy Guthrie (2-1, 4.85)

Seattle Mariners Roster

pitchers # Pos.
Blake Beavan 49 P
Steve Delabar 35 P
Charlie Furbush 41 P
Felix Hernandez 34 P
Hisashi Iwakuma 18 P
Shawn Kelley 23 P
Brandon League 43 P
Lucas Luetge 44 P
Kevin Millwood 25 P
Hector Noesi 45 P
Jason Vargas 38 P
Tom Wilhelmsen 54 P
catchers # Pos.
John Jaso 27 C
infielders # Pos.
Dustin Ackley 13 2B
Munenori Kawasaki 61 SS
Alex Liddi 16 1B
Brendan Ryan 26 SS
Kyle Seager 15 3B
Justin Smoak 17 1B
outfielders # Pos.
Mike Carp 20 LF
Chone Figgins 9 LF
Michael Saunders 55 CF
Ichiro Suzuki 51 RF
Casper Wells 33 LF
designated hitters # Pos.
Jesus Montero 63 DH


Seattle Mariners Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Franklin Gutierrez pectoral 03/26/2012