Mariners

Mariners at Indians: Series Preview

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Logan Morrison's performance could be the key to the Mariners' success on their current road trip. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)

Logan Morrison’s performance could be the key to the Mariners’ success on their current road trip. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)

Jason A. Churchill, 1090 The Fan Jason A. Churchill
Jason joined 1090 The Fan after 4 1/2 years at ESPN Insider, covering...
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(1090 The Fan) — The Seattle Mariners (54-51) hit the road having lost 13 of 20 and falling out of the No. 2 Wild Card spot. The club has plated just 62 runs in 22 games in July, counteracting the continued solid pitching. The offensive woes are not the fault of Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager or Dustin Ackley, each of whom are swinging it well this month.

The Mariners start their six-game trip in Cleveland where the Indians (52-53) are hanging around in the Wild Card hunt and are 29-19 at home. Good news for the M’s: Seattle is 28-20 on the road this season and two of their starters in this series already have pitched well and beaten Cleveland.

As the series begins Tuesday, trade rumors are swirling around both clubs. The Mariners have been linked to several outfielders while the Indians are believed to be willing to move right-hander Justin Masterson, who is slated to return from the disabled list. If the Indians become true sellers — currently they sit four games behind Toronto for the No. 2 Wild Card spot, but would need to pass four clubs to secure a berth in the Wild Card game — names such as Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher, Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Brantley may hit the market.

2014 Indians
Category Stat
Vs. AL West 8-11
Vs. LHP 14-19
Vs. RHP 38-34
AVG .256 (7th in AL)
OBP .324 (6)
SLG .400 (7)
HR 104 (7)
RISP .259/.332/.418
RISP, 2 Out .204/.297/.316
wOBA .321 (5)
wRC+ 105 (5)
RPG 4.48 (5)
DRS -62 (15)
ERA 3.89 (8)
FIP 3.67 (5)
SP FIP 3.69 (4)
RP FIP 3.64 (7)

2014 Mariners
Category Stat
Vs. AL Central 12-11
Vs. LHP 22-14/td>
Vs. RHP 32-37
AVG .243 (t13)
OBP .299 (15)
SLG .371 (t14)
HR 82 (10)
RISP .258/.321/.414
RISP, 2 Out .246/.332/.390
wOBA .296 (15)
wRC+ 88 (t14)
RPG 3.84 (14)
DRS 3 (5)
ERA 3.07 (1)
FIP 3.63 (2)
SP FIP 3.82 (6)
RP FIP 3.22 (1)

Pitching Matchups | Jason A. Churchill, 1090 The Fan
Tuesday: Hisashi Iwakuma, RHP vs. Trevor Bauer, RHP
Iwakuma was bit by the home run ball again last time out versus Baltimore, but he was otherwise solid again, striking out five without issuing a walk.

Iwakuma hasn’t been locating the splitter enough his past handful of starts; batters have been taking the pitch and Iwakuma has adjusted to throwing it for strikes a little more. The end result hasn’t been worth it as lefties have been able to drive it.

Iwakuma vs. Indians
Michael Bourn: 0-3
Michael Brantley: 2-5, 2 BB, SO
Asdrubal Cabrera: 1-7, B, 2 SO
Yan Gomes: 2-3, HR, SO
Jason Kipnis: 2-7, SO
David Murphy: 6-22, HR, 2 SO
Ryan Raburn: 1-4, HR, SO
Carlos Santana: 2-7, 2B, 4 SO
Nick Swisher: 1-6, 2B, 2 SO

Iwakuma Splits (big-leagues):
LHB: .286/.292/.405, 6 HR
RHB: .202/.223/.313, 6 HR
Home: 3.04 ERA, 8 HR, .233 BAA
Road: 3.18 ERA, 4 HR, .263 BAA

Scouting Trevor Bauer
Grades reflect 20-80 scouting scale; 80 is outstanding, among league’s best, 50 is major-league average, 20 is poor, not in line with big-league standards.
Four-seam Fastball (93-98 mph): 60
Cutter (85-88): 45
Slider (81-83) : 55
Curveball (77-79): 55
Changeup (83-85) : 40
Control: 45
Command: 40

Bauer vs. Mariners
Dustin Ackley: 0-1, 2 BB
Endy Chavez: 2-4, HR, SO
Brad Miller: 1-3, SO
Logan Morrison: 1-3
James Jones: 1-3
Kyle Seager: 2-3, 2B, SO
Mike Zunino: 0-3, SO

Bauer Splits
LHB: .276/.355/.414, 5 HR
RHB: .267/.306/.428, 5 HR
Home: 2.82 ERA, 5 HR, .251 BAA
Away: 5.18 ERA, 5 HR, .292 BAA

Bauer lost to Seattle at Safeco June 27, but was solid in 6 1/3 innings, yielding three earned runs on nine hits. He’s been solid if unspectacular in all but one outing this season, but still is having slight control issues.

Bauer has walked 30 batters in 84 2/3 innings and as a fly ball pitcher those come back to hurt him when he serves up the long ball.

When he’s right, Bauer will sit 94-96 mph with the fastball, mix in a cutter and get strike outs up in the zone with the four-seamer and with a chase-level low-80s slider. His changeup flashes average but it’s inconsistent and he doesn’t throw it regularly.


Wednesday: Felix Hernandez, RHP vs. Corey Kluber, RHP
Hernandez has historically been handled by the Indians’ current lineup (.281/.338/.461, 19-2B, 9 HR) but The KIng dominated Cleveland June 29 at Safeco Field with eight shutout innings. He allowed just one hit in that game, walked three and whiffed nine.

The Indians have not been consistent offensively this season and are susceptible to the strikeout in high-leverage situations.

Hernandez vs. Indians
Mike Aviles: 7-20, 2-2B, 5 SO
Bourn: 2-6, 2B, 2 SO
Brantley: 8-22, 2B, HR, 2 BB, 3 SO
Cabrera: 3-17, 2B, BB, 4 SO
Lonnie Chisenhall: 2-6, 2B, SO
Chris Dickerson: 2-3, HR, SO
Kipnis: 6-17, 2-2B, 4 SO
Murphy: 24-76 (.308), 6-2B, 3 HR, 4 BB, 18 SO
Raburn: 0-6, 4 SO
Santana: 3-16, 2-2B, 2 BB, 2 SO
Swisher: 11-53, 2-2B, 4 HR, 7 BB, 13 SO

Hernandez Splits
LHB: .202/.246/.270, 2 HR
RHB: .190/.228/.291, 4 HR
Home: 2.09 ERA, 4 HR, .190 BAA
Road: 1.88 ERA, 2 HR, .204 BAA

Scouting Corey Kluber
Four-seam Fastball (92-96 mph): 55
Sinker (92-95): 65
Slider (88-90): 65
Curveball (81-84):
Changeup (84-86:
Control: 60
Command: 60

Kluber vs. Mariners
Cano: 1-4, 2B, 2 BB, SO

Kluber Splits
LHB: .262/.320/.439, 8 HR
RHB: .220/.253/.285, 2 HR
Home: 3.01 ERA, 7 HR, .235 BAA
Road: 2.55 ERA, 3 HR, .245 BAA

Kluber has been fantastic this season and has been outstanding in his two starts since the break, compiling 20 strikeouts, one walks, nine hits allowed and just two earned runs in 17 2/3 innings. He’s efficient, goes deep into games with regularity and has multiple out pitches in his short but late-breaking slider and plus sinker.

Kluber can get ground ball outs as he’s using a lot more sinkers this season and stays away from the long ball. The sinker has all but eliminated a below-average changeup.

Last time out he took a perfect game into the eighth inning and that start was a great example of what Kluber can do with his sinker and slider, attacking batters down in the zone and throwing tons of strikes.


Thursday: Chris Young, RHP vs. Zach McAllister, RHP
Young has found his strikeout pitch in tandem; an upper-zone mid-80s four-seamer with some late life and a 77-80 mph slider that he can throw for called strikes and induce swings and misses ripping it away from right-handed batters.

Young is throwing more fastballs lately and at times is just a two-pitch arm but he’s commanding both well and has cut down the walks — just nine over his past 195 batters faced — and has struck out 43 over the same span.

Young vs. Indians
Bourn: 5-10, 2-2B, BB, SO
Brantley: 0-2
Cabrera: 0-2, SO
Chisenhall: 1-2, 2B, SO
Gomes: 0-2
Kipnis: 1-2, 2B
Murphy: 0-1, BB, SO
Santana: 0-2, SO
Swisher: 4-12, 2-2B, HR, BB, 2 SO

Young Splits
LHB: .237/.314/.430, 10 HR
RHB: .181/.234/.338, 8 HR
Home: 2.21 ERA, 6 HR, .179 BAA
Road: 4.09 ERA, 12 HR, .251 BAA

Scouting Zach McAllister
Four-seam Fastball (90-94 mph): 55
Two-seam Fastball (90-93): 45
Slider (82-84): 40
Curveball (76-79) 40
Changeup (79-82): 40
Control: 40
Command: 40

McAllister vs. Mariners
Ackley: 3-13, BB
Endy Chavez: 1-3, 2B
Brad Miller: 0-2, BB
Kendrys Morales: 3-9, 2B, SO
Seager: 6-14, 3-2B, SO
Zunino: 1-2, BB, SO
Morrison: 0-2, SO

McAllister Splits
LHB: .269/.331/.437, 3 HR
RHB: .269/.333/.418, 3 HR
Home: 4.99 ERA, 5 HR, .248 BAA
Road: 6.27 ERA, HR, .288 BAA

McAllister relies on command and changing speeds with two fastballs, two breaking balls and a changeup, none of which are above average. When he does not locate the deep counts pile up and he has not pitched well with runners on base — .314/.361/.524, 5-2B, 5 HR.

The 27-year-old, as a result of the inconsistencies, has not been able to get deep very often, including last tine out versus Detroit when he had his best fastball — up to 97 — and spotted the two-seamer well.

His arm path is long which could allow James Jones to easily swipe a bag or two, but he’d have to get on base first.


Sandmeyer Says | Steve Sandmeyer, 1090 The Fan
The most recent homestand (2-5 vs NYM and BAL) was a gentle reminder that this team is still the up-and-down mediocre baseball team we saw during the first half of the season. The peaks and valleys may not be quite as dramatic as they were in the first half — but the team is still the same punchless offensive squad whose pitching can’t bail them out every time.

I’m curious to see how many runs will be scored *by both teams combined* this series. I’m not expecting either team to put a ton of crooked numbers up in any of the three games. Iwakuma made one mistake to Delmon Young his last start against Baltimore — and that meant doom for the M’s. His margin for error will be similarly small again in Cleveland.

Felix is on the verge of setting the record for most consecutive starts with seven or more innings and two or fewer runs. Chris Young continues to defy logic and age by staying effective almost two-thirds of the season so far.

I’m excited to see what Chris Taylor can do. He didn’t wow anyone during the recent homestand, but he certainly looked the part of a big leaguer. Not bad for a guy who originally was a glove-first prospect. Not bad for a team with a few extra options at shortstop just a day or two before the trade deadline either.

Key Stats | Jason A. Churchill, 1090 The Fan
Dustin Ackley will bat leadoff for the Mariners in Game 1 of the series. That spot has not been kind to Ackley over his career, as the fourth-year player owns a .233/.299/.354 triple-slash there in 429 official at-bats. Ackley’s best two spots in the order have been No. 3 — .273/.350/.400 — and No. 5 — .278/.333/.444 … Chris Taylor will get his third start and bat second Tuesday. In Triple-A Tacoma, Taylor, who was leading the PCL with a .328 batting average when he was called up last week, batted second in 45 games producing a .368/.409/.551 triple-slash. Pardon the pun, but the shortstop could be tailor-made for batting No. 2 in the order with his ability to go to his backside and handle the bat … Kendrys Morales’ struggles in 2014 appear to be centered around, well, nothing statistics can explain. Scouts have opined that he’s out of shape, but one thing to watch is where his hands are at contact. Video study shows he’s dropping his hands more than in the past, which could explain for the increase in fly balls and especially infield fly balls, which are always outs.


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