Series No. 7 Preview: Mariners vs. Kansas City, Three games in Kansas City

The Mariners come off a sweep against a team against which they can get fat. The Royals have spent the past several years seemingly attempting to re-tool on what was a respectable start to the franchise, but they’ve really struggled since the baseball strike in 1994.

Perhaps for the first time since 1994, the team has two young players that play at an elite level: Zack Greinke, who won the 2009 American League Cy Young award, and Billy Butler, who may be the closest thing that we’ve seen to Edgar Martinez since ‘Gar retired.

Greinke is off to a rough start compared to a historical month of April in 2009. Greinke’s at his most successful when he is striking batters out, and not walking many. In 2009 he struck out 9.5 batters per nine innings, and walked two. This season is a different story, he’s averaged nearly 1.5 strikeouts less per nine innings, and is surrendering about an extra half walk per nine.

It’s not that Greinke was tremendously lucky last year (.313 BABIP with a career average of .315), this year, he’s been the “luckier” recipient of a .285 BABIP, so his rough start can’t be reasonably based on bad luck.

He’s still got a FIP of 4.04, which figures to even out, but probably not back to his 2.33 FIP from 2009.

Butler is at his best when he’s DHing, as UZR doesn’t like his glove, but he rakes at the plate. He hit 51 doubles in 2009, and 21 home runs. At 6-2, 240 lbs, we can safely assume that a good chunk of those doubles were hit pretty well. But at only 24 years old Butler may soon see some of those doubles leave the yard. Though, his one homerun this year are no indication that the time when Butler hits more homeruns is now.

The Royals also field a former Mariners starter (Gil Meche), outfielder (Jose Guillen), utility man (Willie Bloomquist), and shortstop (Yuniesky Betancourt).

Guillen and Betancourt are both off to hot starts at the plate, each batting over .300. Betancourt still doesn’t take walks though, and UZR still hates his defense at about the same rate as 2009.

Guillen on the other hand, has been relegated to mostly DH duty, but has 13 extra base hits in 18 games. With seven of those being home runs, Guillen is tied for the second-most home runs in baseball. Like Betancourt, Guillen hasn’t changed his ways in the walk department, but strikes out about two percent less of the time.

Both Meche and Bloomquist are struggling pretty mightily to start the season.

Game 1: The King and his Royal subject

Mariners

Felix Hernandez

2-0, 0.8 WAR

2.15 ERA, 2.86 FIP

.221 BAA, .278 BABIP

29.1 IP in four starts

Royals

Kyle Davies

1-1, 0.1 WAR

4.82 ERA, 4.96 FIP

.271 BAA, .286 BABIP

18.2 IP in three starts

Game 2: Opposite ends of the spectrum

Mariners

Ian Snell

0-2, -0.2 WAR

5.14 ERA, 6.60 FIP

.298 BAA, .298 BABIP

14 IP in three starts

Royals

Zack Greinke

0-2, 0.4 WAR

3.28 ERA, 4.04 FIP

.237 BAA, .271 BABIP

24.2 IP in four starts

Game 3: The Hyphen vs. Over-Paid

Mariners

Ryan Rowland-Smith

0-1, -0.5 WAR

4.63 ERA, 7.49 FIP

.244 BAA, .192 BABIP

23.1 IP in four starts

Royals

Gil Meche

0-2, -0.2 WAR

11.37 ERA, 6.82 FIP

.339 BAA, .362 BABIP

12.2 IP in three starts