The Mariners will ride this season’s first series win into a new three-game set with the Baltimore Orioles beginning tonight at SafeCo. The Angels series highlighted some good moves and non-moves the Mariners have made recently, trading Jason Vargas for Kendrys Morales and not signing Josh Hamilton. The Orioles series, on the other hand, reminds of a move gone haywire during a past regime.
Adam Jones has been batting in the cleanup spot for the Orioles during much of these past two seasons. Seattle traded Jones, along with Chris Tillman and a few others, for then-ace Erik Bedard, who proceeded to start just 46 times for the Mariners over four seasons. Jones, on the other hand, has been a valuable starter for the O’s since the trade in 2008, never posting an fWAR below 1.6. Last season proved to be his real breakout when he slashed .287/.334/.505, good for 4-to-5 WAR.
Jones is not a patient hitter. In 2012, he chased balls outside the zone 40% of the time versus a league-average 29% rate, and overall he whiffed on 14% of his swings, dwarfing the league rate of 9%. As you might have guessed, Jones doesn’t walk much. What you might not have guessed is that his strikeout rate is actually better than league average. Basically, he swings early and often, and avoids all deep-in-the-count outcomes. Jones is a good hitter in the literal sense of the word, and his hacking style works for him, but his impatience might keep him from ever being a truly elite hitter.
The M’s start numbers 3, 4, and 5 in this series, so another series win would be a bit of an upset. But hey, it’s baseball!
Game 1: Monday, 7:10 PM — TV: ROOT, Radio: 710 AM ESPN Seattle
Joe Saunders vs. Zach Britton
Game 2: Tuesday, 7:10 PM — TV: ROOT, Radio: 710 AM ESPN Seattle
Brandon Maurer vs. Jason Hammel
Game 3: Wednesday, 7:10 PM – TV: ROOT, Radio: 710 AM ESPN Seattle
Aaron Harang vs. Wei-Yin Chen
The Radio Broadcast can be found on 1080/910 AM in Portland for cool people that live near there.