Monday, June 20, 2011
Seattle Mariners weekly review: June 13th-June 19th edition
This week saw the beginning of hopefully a new era for the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners finally called up highly rated prospect Dustin Ackley when they took on the Philadelphia Phillies who came into this series with a seven game winning streak. The Mariners partly because of Ackley's bat defeated the Phillies two out of three. The called up Ackley after losing two out of three to division rival the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This week saw plenty of great pitching for the Mariners and once again the hitting slumped this week. This was a tough week hitting wise for any team as the Mariners went up against Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. So for the Mariners to go 3-3 this week was pretty incredible. The Mariners are also just a half game back of first place of the Texas Rangers in the closely tight AL West race. The Mariners went 3-3 this week but I'll keep things positive so I'll go with the good(pitching as usual), the bad(two call ups in Left Field) and the awesome(more on two specific pitchers). The Mariners under first year manager Eric Wedge are playing some good baseball and with the addition of Ackley look for the offense to improve.
Well there was plenty of good to talk about this week for the Mariners. The Mariners saw two prospects hit their first career major league home run this week. The fans packed the house this weekend including selling out Fathers Day for only the second sell out of the season. The Mariners also saw Justin Smoak break out of his slump last week and now this week saw Ichiro come alive. Ichiro who had been slumping badly for about six weeks broke out of his slump this week. Was it because he finally got a day off? Who knows but all I know is it was nice to see Ichiro on base. When on base Ichiro was stealing some bases this week as well. Another bright spot was the pitching especially by Jason Vargas who if not for a bad break against the Angels would have went 2-0 this week. As is Vargas threw a complete shutout to outpitch Cole Hamels and win 2-0 over the Phillies. There was indeed plenty of good things to talk about this week which was nice to see for the Mariners.
Ichiro: 12-25(.480), 6 runs, 4 SB's
Greg Halman: 3-10(.300), HR(first career), Run, RBI, SB
Justin Smoak: 6-17(.352), 2 RBI's, 6 BB's(.521 OB%)
Dustin Ackley: 3-11(.273), HR(first career), RBI, 2 runs. Hit .273/.273/.727 for the week
Michael Pineda: 1-0, 6 IP, 1.50 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 5 K's
Erik Bedard: 1-0, 7 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.43 WHIP, 5 K's
Brandon League: 2 saves, 2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
Jason Vargas: 1-1, 16 IP, 2.81 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 12 K's
Well the Mariners still aren't scoring runs despite all the hype about the young kids being up. The offense like it has all year has been hurting this ball club. In particular the left field and DH positions plus third base the Mariners have received zero from those positions this season. You can also throw center field into the mix as well which is 44% of the lineup is giving the Mariners absolutely nothing. It appears Jack Cust is in Eric Wedge's dog house as he is playing the younger guys of Mike Carp and Carlos Peguero both of which struggled this week. Now this is going to come off as me picking on Peguero but I simply don't do that. I let the stats do the talking and right now he simply isn't getting the job done. The Mariners were hoping the return of Franklin Gutierrez would solve the centerfield problems but instead he is struggling badly at the plate. The pitching was once again good as I had to stretch to find some guys to make the slumping list.
Carlos Peguero: 2-15(.133), 2 RBI's, run, 6 K's
Mike Carp: 3-15(.200), 7 K's
Miguel Olivo: 3-23(.130), HR, RBI, run, 8 K's
Franklin Gutierrez: 2-16(.125), RBI 4 K's
Doug Fister: 0-1, 7 IP, 5.14 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 5 K's
Jamey Wright: 2 IP, 9.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 2 K's
Mike Carp on the year is hitting .217/.357/.261 in limited playing time.
Carolos Peguero on the year is hitting .208/.266/.426 with 33 K's to just 6 BB's.
Miguel Olivo on the year is hitting .230/.276/.410 but leads all catchers with 11 HR's.
Franklin Gutierrez on the year is hitting .187/.221/.253 which is behind Chone Figgins in all three categories.
The Mariners need some of these hitters to step up or make a trade ASAP if they wish to win this division. You can't expect to keep winning games 3-2 or 2-1 eventually you'll lose games like Saturday 3-1.
Not just this week but for a while now you are seeing two guys emerge from two unpopular trades. Now I'm not going to defend those trades as I'd still rather not do either trade but you are starting to see what our GM's were thinking. The first trade was done by Jack Zduriencik who traded away high draft pick Brandon Morrow to the Toronto Blue Jays for reliever Brandon League. League who had one rough week has been lights out and peole aren't exactly asking for David Aardsma back anytime soon. The other trade which was extremely unpopular was of course done by Bill Bavasi when he traded away Adam Jones, George Sherrill and two prospects for Erik Bedard. Bedard up to this point had been injured so hard to call him a bust when injuries are things you can't predict. While Bedard this year especially in his last nine starts has been the best pitcher for the Mariners. On a staff that includes Cy Young award winner Felix Hernandez and Rookie of the year candidate Michael Pineda he has been the best. The Mariners are getting a lot back on two guys heading into the season the fan base wasn't really happy with.
Erik Bedard: 4-4, 77.0 IP, 3.16 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 70 K's, .233 BAA.
In his last 9 starts he is 4-0, 58.1 IP, 1.69 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 53 K's.
Bedard has been terrific for the Mariners rebounding from his rough first four starts which feels like a decade ago. Bedard for all the crap he's taken from our media(Softy Mahler, Steve Kelly, etc), he is owed an apology. He was injured not hurt the last three seasons this isn't a matter of being "wimpy" at all. He is also giving the team innings this season as well as he has just 12 walks in his last nine starts. Bedard is going after hitters and hopefully for his career the injuries are a thing of the past. I think people are finally seeing what Bavasi saw in him and while losing Adam Jones hurts the other prospects never materialized. For a guy the Mariners didn't expect much from this season he has been fantastic for them and is a huge reason why the Mariners are fighting for the playoffs.
Brandon League: 0-4, 20 saves in 23 opportunities, 30.0 IP, 3.90 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 20 K's, .246 BAA.
Since May 13th League has pitched 14 innings with 11 saves, has a 0.00 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 7 K's.
League is currently leading the American League with 20 saves and is tied for first place in all of baseball with 20 saves. League was involved in another unpopular trade and struggled last year. The fans of Seattle wanted to throw him out of town after his horrible week despite nobody on the roster capable of outproducing him. I'll give Wedge credit for sticking with his closer not because of his title but instead he is the Mariners best reliever. The other relievers are pitching great but none of them have the stuff that League has. League a guy who heading into the year was a shaky setup man has been a lights out closer to date. He is also a huge reason why the Mariners are contending for the division title.
Just goes to show that you can't freak out over trades and give the trade some time. Now I still think the Mariners will end up on the short end of both deals but neither seem as lopsided as they did just a year ago. The Mariners are getting big time production from two guys who were involved in popular trades. To acquire talent you must give up talent which the Mariners did. The Mariners however did receive some talent back in those trades and it's finally paying off for the ball club.
AL West Standings:
Texas Rangers: 38-35, First Place
Seattle Mariners: 37-35, 0.5 GB
L.A. Angels: 35-38, 3.0 GB
Oakland A's: 33-40, 5.0 GB
In conclusion, the Mariners are right in the thick of this playoff race in a season many including myself thought would be a rebuilding season. Like I pointed out though the Mariners are getting production from two pitchers who were very capable but they weren't counting on. If the Mariners can just score some runs they can run away with this division as they are 25-5(.833) when scoring just 4+ runs. Which means the Mariners are 12-30(.285) when they don't score four runs. So over half their games to date the team isn't scoring runs yet the pitching like yesterday found a way to get the win. With the call up of Ackley that is another hitter for the Mariners that can actually contribute. I have a feeling Zduriencik will be working on a trade even if that is a minor trade the Mariners need some bats in left field and DH. The Mariners are winning which is a surprise and hopefully Wedge moves Ackley up in the order sooner rather than later. I'm just happy that we are three weeks from the All-Star game and the Mariners are just a half game back of first place. The ride has been good and hopefully can last a few more months.