Jason Hammel is a potential 4th All-Star for the Orioles - vote for him if you care - and he will be auditioning for the wider audience tonight. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
There are some good things about tonight's game. One of those good things is that the Orioles are playing the Mariners, who aren't good. Specifically, Seattle is one of four teams with a worse team OBP than the O's, whose .306 is 5th-worst in MLB, but the M's have a 2nd-worst .296 OBP. The Orioles' best starter thus far, Jason Hammel, will be starting tonight's game, which may even serve as his audition to the world in a Vote Hammel campaign for the Final Vote for the American League All-Star roster.
Actually, that makes me nervous, come to think of it. The thing about the Orioles looking superior on paper in a game like this means they can only let us down. They are already in the process of letting us down, of course. Cleveland was supposed to be a team they could get right against and they kept failing. The Mariners are also a team they should be able to get right against, at least in the two games not being started by Felix Hernandez. Whether or not they will do so is another story entirely.
West Coast games are funky. I've been twitching for most of the evening because it feels like baseball should be happening around the 7 o'clock hour and it wasn't. I also get this feeling on off days somewhat, although it's different in the sense that I don't expect there to be baseball that day. Now, I know there's baseball and I have to wait around for it - and it might suck when it arrives, but as an Orioles fan I am used to that.
Who is even on the Mariners other than Hernandez? One person on there is Chone Figgins, who is one of two players with a lower Fangraphs Wins Above Replacement (WAR) than Endy Chavez. Figgins has a -1.3, and as Andrew is fond of inquiring, he may actually be that bad. He was about that bad last year. He will probably find a way to hit Orioles pitching, because that's what people do.
The starter for the Mariners is Hisashi Iwakuma. He will be making his first start of 2012, having made 14 appearances in relief thus far. In 30.1 IP he's managed a 4.75 ERA, having surrendered a home run every 5 innings. He is right-handed. He walks a lot of batters as a reliever as well, though he's gotten over 50% ground balls. How will this arsenal play as a starter? I guess we'll find out. Iwakuma will have to run a gauntlet of left-handed mashers including Jim Thome, Matt Wieters, and Chris Davis. That might actually not suck for us to watch. Wouldn't that be something?
Shameless self-promotion alert: if you'd like to help me out today for the WNST contest, I posted a link to the latest Camdencast on there (which will link you right back to Camden Chat) - so if you'd like to FB share, tweet, and +1 the WNST link, that'd be awesome. As a bonus, I happen to think this week's Camdencast is the best yet. If you haven't listened for yourself, check it out as well, just because it's good!
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||SEATTLE MARINERS|
|Robert Andino - 2B||Ichiro Suzuki - RF|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Casper Wells - CF|
|Wilson Betemit - 3B||John Jaso - DH|
|Adam Jones - CF||Kyle Seager - 3B|
|Jim Thome - DH||Miguel Olivo - C|
|Matt Wieters - C||Dustin Ackley - 1B|
|Chris Davis - RF||Chone Figgins - LF|
|Mark Reynolds - 1B||Munenori Kawasaki - 2B|
|Steve Pearce - LF||Brendan Ryan - SS|
I wish my name was Munenori. That's awesome. His .186/.262/.203 batting line is a bit less awesome.