In their fifth series of the year the Mariners take on the Cleveland Indians. In some ways the Mariners and Indians are very similar. They’ve got a ton of young talent, but some talent that hasn’t manifested itself into maintained team success.
Luckily for the Mariners they’ll miss out on Ubaldo Jimenez, who is arguably the best of the Indians young pitchers, though they’ll get a shot at what used to be the ghost of Derek Lowe, who came really close to becoming zombie Derek Lowe.
Kevin Millwood (2.96 xFIP in 6.0 IP)
Justin Masterson (2.65 xFIP in 13.0 IP)
I’ve always like Justin Masterson. He’s got a ton of movement on his fastball and throws a ton of groundballs. With strikeouts, few walks, and a lot of ground balls he always seemed like a guy who should be better than he was. He really did that in 2011 with almost five WAR driven by a career low in walks and a career low home run rate. He’s off to a similar start in 2012. Kevin Millwood was impressive in his first start with the Mariners, and Cleveland will be a good test to see if he can keep it going.
Jason Vargas (3.72 xFIP in 18.1 IP)
Derek Lowe (4.16 xFIP in 13.2 IP)
In a Jason Vargas and Derek Lowe start perhaps the worst trade in Mariners history and one of the best in team history. Lowe obviously went to Boston along with Jason Varitek in exchange for Heathcliff Slocumb. Vargas came as a throw-in in a trade that brought Frankin Gutierrez here for J.J. Putz and then some. Vargas and Lowe are probably set to regress, especially Lowe, who has a 1.98 ERA despite striking out only three hitters in 13.2 innings, while walking zero and giving up 16 hits.
Felix Hernandez (3.43 xFIP in 21.1 IP)
Josh Tomlin (3.03 xFIP in 8.2 IP)
For all the supposed struggles with velocity that Felix Hernandez has been having, he’s pitched pretty well this year. Josh Tomlin, on the other hand, has really improved his process this year but has had really poor results.