The Mariners now go from a series against Jeter, A-Rod, Teixeira, Cano, Granderson, Ichiro and the Yankees to a series in which they get to face… the Royals. Talk about a drop-off. The Royals come to town for a four game series that begins tomorrow night.
Current record: 41-56
Last game: vs. Angels. Once again, the Royals offense was able to put up some runs, but once again, the pitching was awful and the Royals dropped yet another series. Since the beginning of the series against the Mariners, the Royals have scored a total of 45 runs in 10 games, or an average of 4.5 runs a game. In that time, they’re 3-7 and have given up an average of over six runs per game. To say that the pitching is shaky is quite an understatement.
Familiar Faces: Yuni again! Remember Yuni? Remember how bad he is? Well in the four games he’s played since the Royals’ last series against the Mariners, he’s 6-for-12 with a homer, two double, four RBIs and only one strikeout. His OPS is 1.417.
Miguel Olivo, of course, used to play for the Royals. In the playing time he received since being rejuvenated by the opportunity to play against his former team (which has totaled one game), he has stepped to the plate four times. He has also struck out four times. Not too shabby, Miguel. His OPS in that time frame is 0.000.
Baseball is funny sometimes.
Last series against Seattle: July 16 – July 19, 2012. The Mariners, as the series took place on the road, brought their big boy bats, scoring 31 runs over four games and taking the series 3-1. In the opener they faced Jonathan Sanchez… who was promptly demoted to AAA and then traded to the Rockies. The scheduled game two starter, Everett Teaford, was forced to pitch in relief in the opener so the Mariners faced Ryan Verdugo… who was also demoted to AAA after his bad start.
Pitching matchups: Thursday – Jason Vargas vs. RHP Luis Mendoza. Vargas doesn’t seem to generate much emotion or feeling from Seattle fans because he can’t throw a 95 MPH fastball and his curve doesn’t fool hitters like that of Tom Wilhelmsen, but he’s quietly putting together a good season. He’s now 10-7 on the year and aside from his home run problem, which should be limited at Safeco, he’s maintained his status as a solid starter. Luis Mendoza, on the other hand, has been up and down. While he has been in and out of the rotation, his past few outings have been promising – lasting an average of seven innings and giving up just over two runs per outing.
Friday — Blake Beavan vs. Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie was the Royals’ return in the Jonathan Sanchez trade – but he hasn’t fared much better. He gave up five runs in five innings in his only start for the Royals. He led the league in losses in both 2009 and 2011 with 17. On a personal note, a few years ago I was hanging out at Safeco Field by the visitor’s dugout and Jeremy Guthrie came over and signed autographs for a bunch of fans. At this point, his signature is all but faded from my baseball glove, but I can’t root too hard against the guy.
Saturday — Kevin Millwood vs. LHP Bruce Chen. Let’s be honest. Nobody’s going to Saturday’s game to watch a matchup between Kevin Millwood and Bruce Chen. We saw that matchup last Wednesday and it was boring. Both pitchers were bad, but not bad enough to get a decision. Saturday is going to be all about Randy Johnson and Dan Wilson, who are going to be inducted into the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame. I locked up my tickets to this game months ago, and the pitching matchup is the last thing on my mind.
Sunday – Felix Hernandez vs. LHP Will Smith. The Mariners will be sending King Felix to the mound and the Royals will be countering with… The Fresh Prince? Sorry. Don’t even worry about Will Smith in this one – it doesn’t matter much.
Expected results: Two series previews ago, I predicted a 3-1 result against the Royals, and the series fell in the Mariners favor, 3-1. Last series, I expected the Yankees to best the Mariners 2-1, which is just what they did. Looking at these matchups here, I’m going for it. You heard it here first. The Mariners are going to record their first four-game sweep since… July 7 – 10, 2005 against the Angels. The winning pitchers in that series were Joel Pineiro, Jamie Moyer, Ryan Franklin and Gil Meche. Chone Figgins went 6-17 in that series against the Mariners. Things have changed.