Monday, July 25, 2011

Seattle Mariners weekly review: July 14th-24th edition

By Kshell

The Seattle Mariners are currently going through their worst stretch in franchise history. The Mariners went into the all-star break on a five game losing streak which appeared to eliminate them from the race. Now the Mariners in the second half have lost all 10 games to the Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox. The Mariners have lost a franchise record 15 straight games which is shocking considering as of July 6th this team was just 2.5 games back of first place. Now the Mariners trail the Oakland A's as they sit in last place in their division. The losing streak started off with the Mariners not hitting which has been a problem all year long and has been a problem in the entire Jack Zduriencik regime. What has surprised most fans is that this week especially on the road trip to Toronto and Boston the Mariners offense woke up while the pitching staff has been lit up. For the first time all year I'll have several pitchers make the "bad" list. Like I do whenever the team has a losing week I'll be going over the good(not much), the bad(over half the roster) and the ugly(the mastermind behind this team).

The Good:

When a team is going through a 15 game losing streak I'm sure you are thinking good?!1 Well a few hitters have stepped up this past week and so have some pitchers. This week saw the return of Mike Carp from Tacoma and now that he is getting regular at bats he took advantage this week. If Carp can show life that would be nice since the offense is still broken. The Mariners also saw short stop Brendan Ryan hit his first home run of the season and then he followed that up with a grand slam. This week also saw rookie pitcher Blake Beavan who was acquired in the Cliff Lee deal pitch pretty well in his two starts despite picking up the loss. Beavan this year has pitched a quality start in all four of his starts which is a good way to start your career. The Mariners finally had some hitting this road trip but the pitching has been terrible. The Mariners offense this road trip has averaged 4.8 runs per game which is pretty good for this offense.

Good Hitting:

Dustin Ackley: 12-42(.286), HR, 6 RBI's, run
Brendan Ryan: 14-40(.350), 2 HR's, 6 RBI's, 7 runs, 2 SB's
Mike Carp: 8-22(.363), 2 HR's, 4 RBI's, 3 runs

Good Pitching:

Blake Beavan: 0-2, 13.1 IP, 4.05 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 7 K's
Jeff Gray: 6.1 IP, 1.42 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 5 K's, Blown Save
David Pauley: 0-1, 5.1 IP, 3.38 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 4 K's
Chris Ray: 3.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 3 K's
Brandon League: 2.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 2 K's

The team hasn't performed very well as you can see by the limited work that closer Brandon League has received. It was nice seeing the youngsters like Dustin Ackley, Mike Carp and Blake Beavan perform well during this losing streak that was the lone bright spot.

The Bad:

The Mariners have set a franchise record with their 15th straight loss when they were swept by the Boston Red Sox sunday losing 12-8. The Mariners go on the road to the New York Yankees then return home to face the Tampa Bay Rays so this losing streak could very well stretch to 20 games. The Mariners pitching in particular their bullpen overachieved in the first half and law of averages have caught up to them. The Mariners still have several hitters who are slumping as the offense scored just two runs in their four game sweep at home to the Texas Rangers to begin the second half. Watching this losing streak I think we all feel crazy that just two weeks ago there was actual playoff talk surrounding this team. Now the Mariners are headed towards another top five pick in the major league baseball draft. First year manager Eric Wedge you can tell is fed up with this team as he blasted his veterans in a loss against the Toronto Blue Jays. He even shaved his famous mustache in an attempt to avoid the losing streak. The team is hitting slightly better now but that was all negated due to the pitching being so terrible.

Bad Hitting:

Justin Smoak: 6-34(.176), run, 7 K's
Adam Kennedy: 6-32(.187), HR, RBI, 3 runs, 6 K's
Miguel Olivo: 8-36(.222), 2 HR's, 6 RBI's, 3 runs, 2 SB's, 10 K's
Carlos Peguero: 0-2(.000), 2 K's
Franklin Gutierrez: 7-32(.218), 3 RBI's, 4 runs, 4 SB's, 7 K's
Chone Figgins: 2-13(.153), 2 runs, SB, 5 K's
Greg Halman: 2-19(.105), HR, 3 RBI's, run, 8 K's

Bad Pitching:

Felix Hernandez: 0-2, 14 IP, 6.43 ERA, 1.79 WHIP, 8 K's
Jason Vargas: 0-2, 9 IP, 10.00 ERA, 2.67 WHIP, 3 K's
Michael Pineda: 0-1, 10.2 IP, 10.13 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, 10 K's
Doug Fister: 0-1, 13.2 IP, 5.27 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 5 K's
Aaron Laffey: 5.1 IP, 10.13 ERA, 2.25 WHIP, 3 K's, hold
Jamey Wright: 0-1, 4.2 IP, 11.57 ERA, 2.36 WHIP, 3 K's

The numbers don't lie right there. The starting pitching which has carried this team all season long has fallen apart in the second half. The Mariners saw two key bullpen guys just fall apart which isn't helping things at all. The hitting has been terrible since 2008 which makes you question how things are being run upstairs. The main player that is a red flag is Justin Smoak who has been slumping pretty bad ever since his hot April. He was a key acquisition in the Cliff Lee trade and if he doesn't pan out that will set the franchise back some years.

The Ugly:

The Mariners right now are looking like a flawed roster that is heading for another disasterous season. The Mariners are on pace to lose 93 games this season which would be their third season in the last four years of losing over 90 games. The Mariners are going for history this season as the worst American League offense in the DH era which is a record you don't want. The Mariners despite a decent sized payroll have put out a minor league batting lineup the past two seasons. Now I've already debated with Insider Steve on whether or not Jack Zduriencik should be retained. I'm not going to open that up instead I'll post some ugly stats.

Jack Zduriencik era

- Has a 189-236(.444%) record in Seattle. That is an average of 71-91 record.
- Has an offense that is scoring 3.28 runs per game in 2011 which ranks last in baseball, scored 3.16 runs per game in 2010 that ranked last in baseball and 3.9 runs per game in 2009 that ranked 28th in baseball.
- In his years his offenses have averaged 3.49 runs per game.
- His teams have hit only 325 HR's in 425 games so they aren't producing the power.
- In 2011 the Mariners are hitting .226/.290/.334 which ranks last place, last place and 29th. In 2010 the Mariners hitting was .236/.298/.339 which ranks last place in all three categories. In 2009 the Mariners hitting was .258/.314/.402 which ranked 21st, 29th and 23rd. The offense has regressed each season under Zduriencik.

Now the pitching has been pretty good but Jason Vargas and recently Blake Beavan only starting pitchers that Zdurienik has his hand on. While the crappy hitting only Ichiro this year and last year Jose Lopez plus our crappy catchers were the only non Zduriencik hitters. The hitting has been historically awful and this losing streak might have sealed Zdurienik's fate. I think firing Zduriencik doesn't solve the Mariners problems but hard to imagine a GM keeping his job with such ugly numbers.

AL West Standings:

Texas Rangers: 58-44, first place
L.A. Angels: 55-47, 3.0 GB
Oakland A's: 44-57, 13.5 GB
Seattle Mariners: 43-58, 14.5 GB

The Seattle Mariners as a franchise has been in a decade long drought. The Mariners feel like that snail who takes one slow step forward then falls back quickly two steps. The Mariners since 2003 have had five full-time managers and seven managers overall. The Mariners have had three different GM's in that time and it appears we'll have our fourth next spring. The new "savior" that the fans will drool over every move he makes. This feels like a process that never ends. The names come and go while the same crappy results continue on. This franchise despite having an ace pitcher in his prime and a first ballot hall of fame hitter will lose over 90 games for the third time in four seasons. They will have lost over 90 games five times since 2004. This year we all figured it was going to be a rebuilding year and possibly the team overachieving in the first half may have cost Zduriencik. The fans had accepted 90 plus losses heading into the season but expectations changed during the season. One thing that hasn't changed is the historically awful offense that Zduriencik has assembled. For as much crap as people give Wedge for his lineups you can only do so much with seven turds. The Mariners offense is just one giant turd at the end of the day and this losing streak just magnifies it.

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