Seattle Mariners (7-10) at Detroit Tigers (10-6)
Time/Place: 7:00 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation Blog: Lookout Landing
Pitching Matchup: Jason Vargas (2-1, 2.84 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (1-1, 7.98 ERA)
Oh my goodness. Major, major props go out to ThirteenofTwo for this fanpost that I'm going to lean heavily on this week while I slog my way through seven final exams in five days. Seriously, this could not have been timed better. Here's his profile of Vargas.
Jason Vargas has a reputation as a #5 who is inexplicably the Mariners' #2. In reality, there are few teams on which Vargas would not be an improvement as a fourth starter. He doesn't blow guys away with velocity, but he paints the zone with good control, a serviceable fastball, and an excellent changeup. There used to be Good Vargas and Bad Vargas. However, last season, Vargas picked up a turn is his delivery from Erik Bedard. It's the same one Felix uses, and it boosted his MPH and his consistency. Ever since then, the dude's been like a machine: seven innings of two-run ball, pretty much every outing. He's one of those pitchers where you watch the game, think "this is OK, I guess", and then it's the seventh and you're like "whoa". Maybe it's a mirage, but it doesn't seem like it. Don't expect to pummel him.
I've been impressed with what I've seen of Vargas so far this season. He gave up this bomb to Yoenis Cespedes, but hasn't been particularly homer-prone otherwise. His ground ball rate has jumped up considerably, so we'll see if this has to do with the adjustments mentioned above or is just a product of a few April starts.
Scherzer's ERA has been fantastic in his last two starts, putting together a pair of 6 IP, 3 ER efforts together in Chicago and Kansas City. He only struck out 3 Royals after fanning 11 White Sox, but who am I to argue with how he's getting guys out. As long as he's working deeper into games, I'm happy.
Vargas is an underrated pitcher who looks like he's found a niche within the Mariners' rotation. He's got the capability to shut a team down if he hits his spots. He should probably turn in another quality start tonight. Scherzer, the lone Tigers starter to avoid the Rangers' guillotine, should be able to do the same. Despite ThirteenOfTwo's attempts to convince us otherwise, I don't think that this Mariners offense is any good. This could easily be another LOBster fest on both sides.
Another low scoring, tightly contested game that comes down to late inning execution.