Monday, May 23, 2011

Seattle Mariners weekly recap: May 16th-22nd edition

By Kshell

This week saw the Seattle Mariners climb out of last place for the first time since April 8th. The Mariners had a great week with their pitching staff going 6-1 on the week with the only loss being 2-1. The Mariners split with the Minnesota Twins at home, then swept a two game series against division rival Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim who were throwing Jered Weaver then Dan Haren. Then the Mariners played some interleague play down in San Diego as they swept the Padres as the Mariners starting pitching allowed one earned run in 23 innings. The Mariners starting pitching has flat out been dominant this week. The Mariners also welcomed back gold glove winning centerfielder Franklin Gutierrez. This week like I did two years ago I'll recap the good(entire five man starting staff), the bad(no pitchers) and the awesome(elaborate more on this pitching staff) which will be a fun write up.

The Good:

There was plenty of good this week for the Mariners who went 6-1. The Mariners starting pitching has been great this entire month of May. This week saw Erik Bedard go eight innings for the first time since 2008, Felix Hernandez tie a career high with 13 strikeouts in a game and Jason Vargas tie a career high with nine strikeouts. The Mariners also received some nice hitting from two veterans who had been slumping and one youngster in Carlos Peguero. The main story was the Mariners starting pitching which saw them throw 53 innings(7 2/3 innings a star) in seven starts allowing just four earned runs for an ERA of 0.68 while striking out 58 hitters. The Mariners starting pitching had one of the best weeks in franchise history.

Good Hitting:

Carlos Peguero: 5-20(.250), HR, 5 RBI's, 2 runs
Miguel Olivo: 6-20(.300), HR, RBI, 5 runs, SB
Brenden Ryan: 5-12(.417), 4 RBI's, 5 runs

Good Pitching:

Michael Pineda: 2-0, 14 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.43 WHIP, 16 K's
Jason Vargas: 1-0, 7 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 9 K's
Erik Bedard: 1-0, 8 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, 9 K's
Doug Fister: 8 IP, 1.12 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 2 K's
David Pauley: 1-0, 3 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP, 4 K's
Felix Hernandez: 1-1, 16 IP, 1.68 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 22 K's

Seattle Mariners starting five: 5-1, 53 IP, 0.68 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, 58 K's

The Bad:

Well this week there won't be a single pitcher on my bad list which is nice to see. Instead you'll see the Mariners go 6-1 despite the top of the order slumping. The Mariners went 6-1 this week despite their best two hitters Ichiro and Justin Smoak slumping this week. While the other member of this list seems to live here as his contract appears worse and worse every day. The Mariners still aren't hitting but the starting pitching has been so great they won games. Hopefully with Gutierrez up and soon Dustin Ackley they can start hitting some.

Hitting Slump:

Ichiro: 5-26(.192), RBI, 2 runs, two caught stealing
Justin Smoak: 6-28(.214), 2 RBI's, 2 runs, 10 K's
Chone Figgins: 5-30(.167), 2 runs, 7 K's, Caught Stealing

Chone Figgins on the season has been a disaster. He's hitting just .212/.250/.288 with only nine walks to 20 K's. He also has just seven stolen bases to five caught stealing. He is totally useless and needs to be benched and turned into a Mark McLemore type utility guy. If Jack Zduriencik gets fired Figgins will be the main reason.

The Awesome:

The Mariners starting pitching dating back to last week have produced nine straight great starts. The Mariners have two pitchers with ERA's in the 2's, Hernandez is at 3.01 and two others in the 3's. Other than the week League blew up the Bullpen has been pretty solid as well. The starting pitching has saved this club so I'll break down each starting pitcher and what they've done on the year plus their hot streaks.

Michael Pineda: 9 starts, 6-2, 58 1/3 IP(6 2/3 IP a start), 2.16 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 61 K's, .194 BAA. Not only should Pineda be ROY but he should be on the all-star team.

Felix Hernandez: 11 starts, 5-4, 77 2/3 IP(7 IP a start), 3.01 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 77 K's, .225 BAA. Hernandez is having another great year with no run support. With him and Pineda the Mariners have the best 1-2 punch in the American League by far.

Jason Vargas: 9 starts, 3-2, 58 1/3(6 2/3 IP a start), 3.39 ERA, 1.2 WHIP,41 K's, .253 BAA. Vargas has been on fire lately going 3-0 in his last four starts pitching 30 2/3 IP with a 1.46 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 20 K's. In his last three starts he has gone 23 2/3 IP allowing just one earned run.

Doug Fister: 9 starts, 2-4, 58 1/3(6 2/3 IP a start), 2.93 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 35 K's, .274 BAA. Fister has been the hard luck guy going 16 IP allowing just three earned runs his last two starts and received two no decisions. Fister has been pitching great all season long.

Erik Bedard: 8 starts, 2-4, 45 2/3(5 2/3 IP a start), 3.94 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 41 K's, .236 BAA. Remember when Bedard was terrible? In his first four starts he was 0-4, pitched just 18 2/3 IP(4 2/3 IP a start), 7.71 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 7 home runs allowed and struck out 17.

Now Bedard in his last four starts is 2-0, pitched 27 innings(6 2/3 IP a start), 1.33 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 24 K's. He has also allowed zero home runs. Bedard is pitching like the Bedard Bill Bavasi thought he traded for in 2008.

As you can see this Mariners pitching staff has been terrific and carrying this team. If the Mariners can get a few more hitters Eric Wedge can see his team back in the playoffs. Wedge has a tough job putting out a successful lineup but it sure is easy with this starting rotation. The Mariners have the best starting rotation in the American League. You have two aces(Felix and Pineda), a former ace(Bedard) and two great back end of the rotation guys(Vargas and Fister). Just sneak in the playoffs then do damage should be the Mariners goal.

AL West Standings:

Texas Rangers: 24-23, First Place
L.A. Angels: 24-24, 0.5 GB
Seattle Mariners: 22-24, 1.5 GB
Oakland A's: 22-25, 2.0 GB

So there you have it guys the Mariners are out of last place. The pitching staff has been great and hopefully some hitters can turn it around. When Ackley is finally called up Wedge should bench Figgins for Kennedy. Figgins is horrible and killing this team. The Mariners top of the order which includes Ichiro is making 27 million yet neither is stealing enough bases. The pitching has been great but if the Mariners want to make a run they need to get another stick or two. As is I'll enjoy this week seeing our starting pitching dominate all seven starts. I hope the Mariners fans are finally taking notice and more than 15 thousand people show up for the next home game. Also the Yankees are coming to town so please fans don't sell your tickets to Yankee fans. I'm sick and tired of this split crowd non sense. Hopefully the Mariners pitching can continue this roll they are on.

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