Game 33: Orioles vs. Mariners

The O’s split their four game set with the Twins in Minnesota, and come home with a 9-23 record but having won 7 of their last 14 games. The Birds host the Mariners, who swept them last month in Seattle. The series will pit two of the worst offensive team in baseball against each other, though the M’s have top-notch run prevention in theory. Game one sees David Hernandez face off against Cliff Lee.

M’s line-up:

  Bat Pos Batting Def WAR
Suzuki, Ichiro L RF .326/.370/.388 2.4 0.7
Figgins, Chone S 2B .185/.326/.241 -0.3 0.0
Gutierrez, Franklin R CF .322/.396/.475 1.2 1.4
Lopez, Jose R 3B .222/.250/.294 8.0 0.5
Langerhans, Ryan L 1B .100/.500/.100 0 0.0
Wilson, Josh R SS .286/.444/.643 -0.4 0.3
Griffey Jr, Ken L DH .208/.265/.234   -0.5
Saunders, Michael L LF .500/.571/1.167 -0.2 0.2
Johnson, Rob R C .140/.302/.240 -1 0.0

Griffey Jr. was one of my favorite players growing up, but he really should have retired after last season. I can’t imagine the M’s will let him keep playing at this level all year, and being pushed into retirement mid-season isn’t the way an all-time great should go.

Lee:

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 GB rate FIP^ xFIP^ WAR^
7.8 0.0 0.0 51.2% 1.35 2.63 0.8

He’s only made two starts since coming off the DL, but hasn’t walked a batter or given up a home run. Accumulating 0.8 WAR in 15 innings is pretty damn impressive.

His stuff^:

Lee is really pounding the strike-zone so far this year – even more than he usually does – and throwing more of the groundball inducing two-seamer. If the Orioles’ hitters fall behind in the count then he’ll carve them up with his assortment of pitches.

O’s line-up:

  Bat Pos Batting Def WAR
Lugo, Julio R 2B .244/.292/.244 -1.5 0.0
Jones, Adam R CF .225/.250/.367 -2.7 -0.5
Markakis, Nick L RF .298/.394/.455 -1.3 0.7
Tejada, Miguel R 3B .284/.331/.440 0.7 0.6
Wigginton, Ty R DH .283/.363/.646   0.7
Wieters, Matt S C .283/.347/.425 1 0.8
Reimold, Nolan R LF .203/.304/.342 -0.7 -0.2
Atkins, Garrett R 1B .247/.272/.303 -0.9 -0.5
Izturis, Cesar S SS .226/.270/.250 0.9 -0.2

I can’t wait until an Oriole is above 1 WAR to stay. Hope to see it by the end of May.

Hernandez:

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 GB rate FIP xFIP WAR
5.7 5.5 1.2 27.0% 5.48 6.04 0.0

Hernandez is giving up home runs at half of last year’s rate, but he’s actually pitching worse. A 1.05 strike-out to walk ratio is not acceptable for a major league starter, and if David can’t shut down the lowly Mariners’ offense at least somewhat tonight I think there’s a fair chance that either Chris Tillman (38 to 8 K:BB ratio in 34.2 IP) or Jake Arrieta (30 to 9 K:BB ratio and a bunch of groundballs) might get called up to take his place in the rotation.