Sunday, April 13, 2008

Series Preview: M's vs. Kansas City; April 14-15

Kansas City rolls in to town for a short two game set against the Mariners. Which will also mark Jose Guillen's first visit back after signing with KC in the offseason.

Things to Watch

April 14
KC: Zack Greinke, RHP, 2-0, 0.60 ERA
SEA: Jarrod Washburn, LHP, 1-1, 3.00 ERA

For the Royals:
Is Zach Greinke for real? The once highly touted prospect's stock has fallen rediculously over the past couple seasons. Sure, he could be just off to a hot start, but that's where the question comes in; Is he for real? I've nothing aganst Kansas City, but they don't have an offense equal to that of the NY Yankees, or that I've noticed, a superlative defense. They have a good bullpen, but nothing that would blow my mind away. With that in mind, the stats show that Greinke has just pitched really well to start the season. If he can come in and pitch like that again, then the Mariners may be in some trouble. Maybe it's the year that Greinke turns it around.

Jose Guillen probably knows the Mariners pretty well after spending a season here, and things probably have changed, but he would tip the Royals off in any way he could. I just want to say that he may have sort of an inside edge for the Royals in this series. Guillen hasn't been phenomanel at Safeco, and that's hard for a power hitter to do. But the fact that he played half a year under John McLaren makes me think a little bit.

For the Mariners:
Jarrod Washburn seems to be the main variable in an equation equaling Mariners success. He's handled the Royals pretty well in his career, going 8-4 with a 3.36 ERA. His career 15-18 record at Safeco don't quite coincide with the how spacious the park is. Regardless, it's tough to hit homeruns at Safeco, and with Ichiro patrolling center, getting extra bases aren't that easy to come by either. If Washburn can come in and pitched well enough to get in to the seventh inning, with a lead, or not enough of a deffecit that would disable the Mariners a comeback, then the Mariners may have game one in good shape.

The Mariners need to keep the offence rolling. After scoring eight runs in the first two games of their series with the Angels, they have shown that they are capable of scoring. That will need to carry over because the Royals have an explosive young lineup. Two runs probably won't suffice unless Washburn pitches a gem, but atleast 4-5 would allow the Mariners come wiggle room. Although 8 or 9 would be very nice...

April 15
KC: John Bale, LHP, 0-2, 5.84 ERA
SEA: Miguel Batista, RHP, 0-2, 6.00 ERA

For the Royals:
The Royals need to help out their young starter in any way possible, and they could very well do that. It's interesting to watch how young teams respond to the stimuli that is around them. Meaning that this game could be interesting. Bale looks like he could have success, but scoring some early runs and playing solid defence could give him a boost needed to get the win and his ERA down.

For the Mariners:
Pretty much the same. They have to help out Batista by scoring runs early. And the earlier the better. Batista was sort of in an awkward place after starting a couple days previous to getting a save, and then starting again after. That can't be a factor if Batista wants to have success. If he can stay on top of his game, then he'll have success. Focus is a key.

Hopefully Adrian Beltre's latest set back isn't much of a problem. If not, then his fill-in will be a concern. Naturally, Miguel Cairo, Willie Bloomquist or Mike Morse could play third, but none of the three are as good as Beltre defensively or offensively. Getting Beltre back healthy will be a key.

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