The Indians head back home tonight for a quick-two game series against the Seattle Mariners (16-22). As we wait for the first pitch at Progressive Field, we talked to Sodo Mojo‘s Harrison Crow to get an expert’s take on the Tribe’s upcoming opponents.
WAHOO’S ON FIRST: Entering Tuesday the Mariners are in third place in the AL West. Can they stay out of the basement all year?
HARRISON CROW: Really, the Mariners aren’t a .500 team. The Angels have too much talent to finish below the Mariners, should they continue playing as badly as they have been it’s going to be such a story the likes of baseball has never had. I believe it’s only a matter of time before they eventually eclipse the Mariners over a full 162 games. (Note: Harrison was right, the Mariners fell to the basement Tuesday night.)
As for the Athletics, who are similar a similar team, they aren’t terrible but they aren’t good either. So it’s hard to say what really comes from this season. I don’t expect the A’s to be a .500 team, but I didn’t expect them to end April above .500 either. It’s a great story line to watch the rest of the season.
The Mariners have had some ups and downs and it’s been a Jekyll and Hyde type season. The M’s could very well walk into Progressive Field and sweep the Indians or they could just lay down and be swept. It’s about what hitters decide to show up.
WAHOO’S ON FIRST: How have the Mariners matched up with your preseason expectations so far? When do you see them getting back into contention?
HARRISON CROW: They haven’t quite lived up to expectations. But it’s early and I think we all expected a few road bumps a long the way. Part of the problem is the Mariners’ offense is dependent upon line drives and luck. They aren’t a team that are going to hit a ton of home runs. They aren’t the most power deprived team out there but certainly aren’t among the better teams.
The Mariners are going to contend when their pitching returns to being among the best in the league and they are able to start getting a little extra from this offense (i.e. Justin Smoak, Jesus Montero and Dustin Ackley).
WAHOO’S ON FIRST: Dustin Ackley is off to a slow start this year. Are you worried about him?
HARRISON CROW: I think that’s a fair question as he came out on a rocket start last year and now this year his numbers as a whole have stepped back. But, if you look his BABIP is down but he’s making more contact and still driving the ball plenty. Right now, I’m alright with just marking it up to some bad luck.
WAHOO’S ON FIRST: Who’s pitching for Seattle and what should Tribe fans look for from them?
Obviously you all have seen Felix. Well, this version of Felix has learned that he doesn’t need elite velocity. Just a great four seam fastball, power curve, and has recently developed what is argueably the best change-up in baseball. Should be a fun start.
Noesi, a piece of the Montero-Pineda trade earlier this season, has been working in the #3 spot and while he’s not quite been good he looks like he’s showing signs of life. A huge part of that is regaining his command over his fastball and using it to get ahead of hitters. Then finishing them off with the change-up and slider rather than using his curve.
WAHOO’S ON FIRST: What’s your prediction for the series?
HARRISON CROW: I think the Mariners take at least one and likely two. They got the pitching to do it, it’s about the hitting and if it shows up.