The Blue Jays are back home for a weekend series with the Seattle Mariners, starting tonight.
The Mariners are 3rd in the AL West, 6.5 games back of the Rangers, and 5.5 games back of a Wild Card spot, at 48-47.
Seattle is 6th in the AL in runs scored per game, at 4.75 (pretty good considering their home park). Jays are 3rd at 4.98.
Mariners are 4th in runs allowed per game, at 3.99. Jays are 2nd at 3.78.
I sent off some questions to Nathan Bishop, manager of Lookout Landing. Here is what he had to say.
I have to ask about our old friend Adam Lind. How is he doing? He doesn’t have that ugly beard anymore does he?
The beard is still there, as is this tuft of hair.
Lind has been probably the Mariners most enigmatic player. Brought over to mash right-handed pitching, he has done exactly that. Crushing 15 HR in only 261 PA, and two walk off home runs in the past 30 days, Lind's power has been as advertised. Unfortunately his walk rate has fallen ~60% from 2015, down to 4.6%, by far a career low.
With Daniel Vogelbach recently acquire from the Cubs, and Dae-Ho Lee entrenched as a fan favorite for at least the rest of the year, Lind's .264 OBP makes him unlikely to return in 2017, and possibly a longshot to survive the season in Seattle.
Plus, y'know, the beard.
Can you give us a quick scouting report of the starting pitchers we are likely to see?
Of all starters with a min. 40 IP James Paxton has the second fastest average fastball velocity (97.2 MPH), trailing only Noah Syndergaard. He still doesn't get strike outs, because baseball is confusing.
Hisashi Iwakuma sits 86-89 with his fastball, and is largely dependent on pitching down in the zone, mixing speeds, and using his splitter to generate swinging strikes. He will make at least one horrible mistake to one of your terrifying hitters, who will hit the baseball very, very far.
The Mariners traded Mike Montgomery, so currently Sunday's starter is TBD. As TBD has a pretty bad track record the leading candidate to start is probably Nathan Karns. Karns has a fantastic, power fastball/curve arsenal that he liberally spreads both within and without the strike zone in equal measure. If he makes it into the sixth, we dance.
What do you think the Mariners will try to do at the trade deadline?
My belief, and wish, is they will largely stand pat. The core of this team is aging and expensive, making spending what scarce pieces exist in the farm system ill-advised. On the flipside, as a franchise in its sixteenth consecutive season without poststeason play, they are still too close to a wild card berth to sell assets such as Nelson Cruz, Seth Smith, and others.
Robinson Cano is having a much better season than his first couple with the M’s. He’s got another 7 years on his contract, what do Mariner fans think of him?
We love him, think he is handsome, and is very, very good at baseball. We are dreading years six and beyond of that contract, but life is pain, and when Robbie smiles, the world hurts a little less.
Who is your closer and setup men? Do you feel confident with late game leads?
Steve Cishek is our closer, and he is terrifying, has blown five saves, and has come very close to blowing 2-3 more. Our setup man is Edwin Diaz, a 22 year old who has been in the major leagues for about six weeks. In 20.2 IP he has struck out 42 batters. Twenty-one of his past twenty-four outs recorded have been strike outs.
Revelation 6:8 - "So I looked and here came a pale green horse! The name of the one who rode it was Death"
Make no mistake, it's Edwin Diaz riding that horse.
Who is your favorite Mariner?
Of all-time it is Ken Griffey Jr. Currently it is Felix Hernandez, and will be until the day he no longer wears the uniform.
Can you express all your feelings about new Hall of Famer Ken Griffey in a haiku or a limerick?
The Kidz in the Hall
I can hear Dave on the call
Swung on and belted