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Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays at Seattle Mariners

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And so begins the week long West Coast roadtrip. Ugh, I'm not a fan of the late games.

Thursday, 10:10 PM: James Shields vs. Felix Hernandez
Friday, 10:10 PM: Andy Sonnanstine vs. Jason Vargas
Saturday, 4:10 PM: Jeremy Hellickson vs. Doug Fister
Sunday, 4:10 PM: Wade Davis vs. Erik Bedard

In case you missed the news earlier, Andy Sonnanstine's been slotted back into the rotation for one start in order to set the rotation up for the upcoming Boston series. He'll also give the Rays starters an extra day of rest, so as much as I don't want to watch him start again, it's a good move and should benefit the Rays down the road. Jason Vargas isn't anything special either (4.50 ERA. 4.03 FIP), so that works in favor of the Rays.

This should be a winnable series for the Rays. Felix Hernandez will make for a tough matchup tonight, but the Rays' pitchers should be in for a good series. Remember how historical awful the Mariners' offense was last season? Well, believe it or not, this season they've been even worse:

BA

OBP

SLG

wOBA

2010

0.236

0.298

0.339

0.286

2011

0.230

0.301

0.329

0.283

As frustrating as it can be to watch the Rays on offense sometimes, the Rays have still had the 7th best offense in the majors this season (measured by wRC+, a park-adjusted metric) and their slashline is .247/.333/.403. I really feel bad for Mariners fans - I can't imagine how soul-draining it must be to have to watch so much offensive fail on a regular basis.

The Mariners have gone 18-12 over their last 30 games and are currently sitting in second place in the AL West, but they've done it while posting a league-worst .228/.289/.325 line (h/t Collette). Felix Hernandez notwithstanding - and actually, Fister and Bedard are perty good too - I like the Rays chances in this series.