Jul 28, 2011

SERIES PREVIEW: The umbrella ready stop

by Aaron Giddens

Safeco Field
Courtesy: cronncc on Flickr

Once again the Rays dodge utter devastation. With our season all but over, the Rays will head to Seattle for the final leg of this 10-game road trip. If you don't remember our first time in Seattle this year, I don't blame you a bit. But just for the record let's recap. The Rays were owned. With that out of the way, let's preview our return trip to Safeco Field in Seattle.

Seattle probably has the worst luck of any team in the MLB. They are running fourth in the American League West with a record of 44-60 (.423 Win percentage). The Mariners are 25-27 at home this year. They're coming off a 1-8 road trip where they were swept by Toronto and Boston and narrowly avoided the sweep by the Yankees. They are also fresh off a 17-game losing streak and will be looking to build momentum.

As a team here are the stats. They have the worst offense in the league. 30th in Runs (345), Batting Average (.226) and OBP (.290). They are 29th in Slugging percentage with .335.

Pitching again is an entirely different beast. 9th in ERA (3.55), 5th in quality starts (64) and batting average against (.242). And 3rd in WHIP 1.21.

Individually their best player offensively has been none other than Ichiro Suzuki. He's batting .272. Pitching wise, always be aware of the dangerous Felix Hernandez.

The series will kick off tomorrow night with a 10:10pm ET first pitch with the Rays sending Jeff Neimann, who was masterful in his last start, to the mound. Last time Neimann once again lost in extras and took a no decision. The Mariners will send Erik Bedard to the mound. He holds a 4-6 record and a 3.00 ERA. The goal is to start strong and use the momentum from today's win to put them over the top. You have probably your hottest pitcher on the mound, get him some run support early and ride it to victory.

Saturday the Rays and Mariners will be on FOX Saturday Baseball with a 4:10pm ET first pitch. The Rays will send Alex Cobb to the mound. He is undefeated in his Major League career. The M's will counter with Michael Pineda, he holds a 8-7 record and a 3.64 ERA. One again you have a hot pitcher on the mound, but this time there's a good pitcher on the opposing side. Capitalize on early mistakes and score a few runs, they will be at a premium.

The series and the road trip wraps up Sunday. The Rays will send Jeremy Hellickson to the mound. The M's will send Jason Vargas to the mound. He hold a 6-9 record and a 4.09 ERA. I believe this game will be a slug fest, capitalize on mistakes and you can out slug the M's and go to a victory.

This series, after the last one, as a chance to be really ugly. It could also be a well needed weekend of our offense shows up and doesn't miss opportunities with RISP. Our season is, in my opinion, essentially over. Now we're fighting for our dignity. We must finish out this last 2 months on a strong note. So why don't we go rain on the Mariners' parade, shall we?

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