The Jays kick off a 10 game road trip with a seven game swing out west, starting with the Mariners. Let's break it down quick, Advance Scout Style.
Monday: Ricky Romero v. Hisashi Iwakuma
This will be Hisashi Iwakuma's fifth major league start; he started the year in the bullpen before finally moving to the rotation. This is Iwakuma's first year in the majors; Oakland won his rights in the posting system after the 2010 season, but could not come to terms, and he signed a free agent contract with the Mariners this past season. It's been a pretty abysmal campaign so far though, as he's walking almost 1 in 8 batters and giving up a ridiculous number of home runs (even in Safeco). His FIP is a full run higher than his ERA, which stands at a still not great 4.56. Iwakuma throws a 90 mph heater about half the time, and asplitter around 86 that he gets ground balls with another quarter of the time. His third pitch is an 83 mph slider, and he'll throw an occasional hook around 73. The splitter is the money pitch.
Tuesday: Aaron Laffey v. Jason Vargas
Jason Vargas is doing what he does, albeit slightly worse. The 29 year old lefty (it feels like he's been around forever, no?) is a flyball pitcher who doesn't post great strikeout or walk numbers, yet somehow he survives, I guess on magical lefty powers (in actuality he just really limits BABIP, with a .276 career mark). This year he's besting that by a considerable margin, with a .245 BABIP, which goes a long way to explaining the split between his ERA, 3.76, and his FIP, 4.84. Vargas does not throw particularly hard, topping out in the high 80s, and relies heavily on the heater. He stopped throwing his slider last 7ear (or pitch f/x reclassified it), and relies on a 75 mph curveball, which he seldom throws, as his breaking pitch. He also throws a cutter (84 mph) and a change up (80 mph) that's amongst the best in the majors (actually). Vargas has pretty much owned the non-Encarnacion Jays - lifetime Rajai Davis is 0/8, Edwin 5/13 with 2 HR, Escobar 2/11, Mathis 1/15, Lind 2/11, Rasmus 2/7.
Wednesday: Carlos Villanueva v. Blake Beavan
Blake Beavan came over to the Mariners in one of the Cliff Lee packages (I'm starting to lose count at this point), although he hasn't shown much to date in his second big league season. Always a low strikeout guy in the minors, his major league numbers are approaching Alvarez territory, although after whiffing 10.4% in 2011 he's up to 12.4% this year (4.77/9 IP). Beavan does have excellent control though, walking less than 4% of batters faced. He is however a fly ball pitcher who gives up a ton of line drives, and with so many balls in play he has a tendency to get burned, with an ERA over 5 on the year. Beavan, still only in his age 23 season, basically only throws two pitches, a fastball around 90-92, which he throws almost 70% of the time, and a slider around 80 he throws another 20% of the times. He'll mix in the occasional curve, 73-75, and change up, 82 mph, but those first two are the big pitches. The Jays have faced him I believe twice now, with Encarnacion and Rasmus both going 3/4, with 2 and 1 homers, respectively, and Yunel and Adam Lind both going 1/6.
Well, this is strange.
Dustin Ackley 2B
Casper Wells RF
Michael Saunders CF
Jesus Montero DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Miguel Olivo C
Mike Carp 1B
Trayvon Robinson LF
Bo Ryan SS
No Ichiro! The Mariners appear to use a pretty set lineup; expect Carlos Peguero to play RF on Wednesay afainst the righty Villanueva; ditto for John Jaso.Kyle Seager has become one of the Mariners untouchables, so to speak. The 24 year old is reportedly one of three Mariners not going anywhere (along with Felix and Ackley). He leads the Ms in fWAR so far, although he is only hitting .245/.311/.407, albeit with good defense... Dustin Ackley, the other position playing untouchable, isn't doing much better (in fact he's doing worse), with a .224/.306/.394 line. Canadian Michael Saunders leads the Ms in hitting, and he's only at .257/.315/.418; even in Safeco, that's... not so good. Meanwhile Jusin Smoak is down in AAA after hitting just .189. So things are not so good in Mariners land.
Infirmary: Franklin Gutierrez (CF) has a concussion and his return is TBD. Charlie Furbush (SP) has a strained triceps and is starting to rehab, while George Sherill (RP) is out until at least 2013.
Song to Advance Scout By: Public Enemy with Harder Than You Think, which is used extremely powerfully in this Paralympics commercial.
Chart: Time constraints! Check out Fangraphs.