Originally posted on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 5/7/12
Tigers In Town!

The M’s were able to rally together and break a 7 game losing streak in their second game against the Twins.

The M’s have lost the most games in which they once had the lead in all of baseball with 10.

Their problem is obvious, although they are in 4th place of all the 30 teams in hits, they are not getting those base-runners home. 

As the M’s are edging toward last place will they be able to turn things around?

Pitching match ups this week:

Game 31: RHP – Doug Fister vs. LHP – Blake Beaven

This will be Fister’s first start after coming off the Disabled List.  So far this season he has thrown a total of 53 pitches so the Tigers may opt to limit his pitch count his first time out since the injury.

Fister of course played for the Mariners until he was traded for OF Casper Wells, LHP Charlie Furbush, and minor leaguer 3B Francisco Martinez  and RHP Chance Ruffin.

  • Fister knows most of the M’s lineup, though he hasn’t faced many of them in a game he has watched them play and knows their weaknesses.  However, M’s pitching coach Carl Willis will be able to better prepare the Seattle hitters with a pitcher who was once one of his students.  Should be an interesting match up.
  • Despite having a 2-6 record at Safeco Field last season, Fister has an ERA of 3.00 in the M’s stadium.

Beaven is coming off a tough performance against Tampa Bay but overall has shown tremendous control and poise this season.  Blake comes into this game with a 1-3 record and a 4.45 ERA, but with only 4 walks in 5 starts.

Impressive stuff.

  • Beaven only played in 15 games last season, and although the M’s have already played against Detroit this season this will be his first appearance against the Motown Tigers.
  • The batters that succeed against Beaven either wait for a hitters count or attack him on an 0-1 count as Beaven tries for the second strike.  He doesn’t throw many balls, but it could be to his advantage to learn to use pitches out of the zone as a weapon.
Game 32: RHP – Justin Verlander vs. RHP – Kevin Millwood

The reigning American League Cy Young award winner, Justin Verlander, along with the rest of the 2012 Tigers pitching staff, has been beat up a bit so far this season.  Despite his 2.38 ERA and 42 Strike Outs he is holding just a 2-1 record.

This is mainly due to a disappointing Tigers offense.

  • Verlander is a pretty dominant pitcher and the M’s will have difficulty with him, especially with Millwood on the mound for Seattle. The M’s player with the best record against the Tiger’s ace is Justin Smoak who has been struggling mightily so far this season.
  • Verlander is 0-3 at Safeco Field in his last three starts in the Emerald City.

Millwood’s first win for the Mariners is still eluding him as he is now 0-3 in his first five starts.  In his last game against Tampa Bay he gave up 4 runs in 6.1 innings which proved to be one run too many for the M’s offense to muster.

  • Right handed pitchers are suppose to have an advantage over right handed batters, not so with Millwood.  Righties are hitting .350 of the 15 year veteran this season.
  • Millwood is 0-1 in his last 4 starts against Detroit with a 4.50 ERA.
Game 33: LHP – Drew Smyly vs. LHP – Jason Vargas

Though the rookie Smyly only has a 1-0 record he has lead the Tigers to a win in 4 of his 5 starts by allowing a total of 6 runs on 18 hits for the season.  In the single loss that the team did sustain in one his starts he allowed just a single run.  With stats like that he should play for the Mariners.

  • Smyly’s current line: 1-0 / 1.61 ERA / 8 BB / 29 SO / 1.18 WHIP
  • The M’s will likely stack the lineup with Left Handed Swings to stack the odds in their favor.
  • Although Smyly has never played at Safeco, his ERA for away games is and astounding 0.75 in a park that plays well to left handed pitching.

Jason Vargas allowed just 1 run in his last performance turning over the ball in the 7th inning to the bullpen which lost his lead with a fielding error.  This southpaw battle should be a good match up and may be a case of who ever scores first wins.  Not a battle the M’s are used to winning.

  • Vargas’ current line 3-2 / 3.09 ERA / 13 BB / 32 SO / 1.03 WHIP
  • Vargas’ last match up against the Tigers on April 24th was a 7-4 Win.  I don’t think he can get away with letting 4 runs across in this game though
Tigers Vs. Mariners Series Predictions

Game 1:

The Tigers have struggled this season but are still second place in the A.L. Central Division.  They will be trying to use their time in Seattle to catch up to the Cleveland Indians who are 1.5 games ahead of them.

The Tigers weak point has been pitching both the starters and bullpen, but Detroit is hoping their problem to be solved in part to former M’s hurler, Doug Fister.

Detroit is hoping their problem to be solved in part to former M's hurler, Doug Fister

It is a pretty close match up, but I give the M’s a slight advantage in knowing their former starter well. Prediction:  Win (Mariners 4 – Tigers 3)

Game 2:

Millwood has to win this game if he wants to keep his job.  Verlander hasn’t pitched well in Seattle over the past 3 years.  Safeco field is not a friendly place to him.

There is no doubt that he is frustrated with the offense as well as the guys he is handing the ball to out of the pen. If the M’s can get to him early and then drive up his pitch count, they may be able to play enough mental games to pull out a W.

I don’t have much faith in Millwood, but I think the motivation will be there to finally walk away with a victory. Prediction: Win (Mariners 5 – Tigers 4)

Game 3:

Prepared to be wowed by the Tiger’s rookie phenom. Drew Smyly. Prediction: Loss (Mariners 0 – Tigers 2)

More News

Dustin Ackley was picked to be the new M’s new lead off hitter this week after Chone Figgins was demoted to a bench role.
Erasmo Rameriez was sent down to Tacoma to stretch out his arm as a starter.  It looks like Noesi and Millwood’s days may be numbered.

Meanwhile Shawn Kelley was brought back up with the big league club. More on that later today in a post by my colleague Clinton Bell.


© Danny Ferguson for North West Sports Beat, 2012. | Permalink | No comment |

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Post tags: Blake Beaven, Casper Wells, Chance Ruffin, Charlie Furbush, Chone Figgins, Cleveland Indians, detroit tigers, Detroit vs. Seattle, Doug Fister, Drew Smyly, Dustin Ackley, Erasmo Rameriez, Francisco Martinez, Jason Vargas, Justin Smoak, Justin Verlander, Kevin Millwood, Mariners blog, Mariners Predictions, Minnesota Twins, MLB Series Preview, Safeco Field, Seatle Mariners, Seattle Mariners Blog, Series picks, Shawn Kelley, Tacoma Rainiers, Tigers vs. M's, Tigers vs. Mariners

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