The Seattle Mariners come to town tonight to start a three-game series against the Orioles. If memory serves, the last time that Seattle was in Baltimore, we spent the series getting crushed by Matt Tuiasosopo. I'd like to say that's illustrative of the kinds of games we watched in the pre-Buck era, except that series happened in the middle of August of last year. Tuiasosopo is in the minor leagues at the moment. We are safe.
The Mariners' highly-touted pitching prospect Michael Pineda is their starter tonight. Pineda is another player whose team faced the problem of when to call up to consider the extra year of service time, but he pitched so well in spring training that the Mariners decided to put him on the Opening Day roster. So between Britton and Pineda you're probably looking at 2/5ths of the New York rotation in 2017. Barf. That's about where the similarities stop, though. Pineda is a power righty, listed at 6-7, 260 lbs. He struck out a batter per inning or more in the minor leagues and has done the same through his 38.1 big league innings. We therefore should expect to be perfect gamed.
Pineda is a product of the Dominican Republic. The last Orioles starter from the Dominican was Alfredo Simon and before that it was Daniel Cabrera. Reality becomes even more depressing when couched in terms like that.
It would be fitting if Britton was starting tonight, but it's actually Jake Arrieta's night to pitch. Jake's coming off his best start of the season, one run over seven innings while striking out eight in Kansas City, and he'll be facing a Mariners offense that sucks. No joke, Seattle's team batting line is .230/.305/.326. They strike out more often than the Orioles. They've played two more games and scored three fewer runs than us. They have Ichiro, Justin Smoak and then six guys among whom the best batting average is .244. Although there is Orioles fan favorite, Stumblin' Jack Cust, who's got an OBP of .362 despite a batting average of .198 - which for those scoring at home would be the best OBP on the Orioles among qualifying players. Cust would also lead the Orioles in strikeouts with 37. You may think this sets him up as a Three True Outcomes player, except he has no home runs. As a team the Mariners don't have many home runs: 17, exactly half as many as the Orioles.
All augurs point to a pitchers' duel. None of us should be surprised by a 12-10 final score.