Monday, August 15, 2011

Seattle Mariners weekly review: August 8th-14th edition

By Kshell

The Seattle Mariners just completed an impressive 3-3 week as they took the Boston Red Sox two out of three at Safeco Field. The Mariners began the week losing the first two to the Texas Rangers before winning the series finale to avoid the sweep. The Mariners won't confuse you for a team full of world beaters but since the trade deadline the Mariners are 7-5. The Mariners got better for the future with their trades but also brought in some key pieces that are contributing right now to the team. The Mariners are also riding the hot stick of Mike Carp who has been killing the ball since being called back up in the second half of the season. The Mariners starting pitching didn't do great this week or bad but the hitters carried the team. The Mariners also saw two hitters who had been slumping all season long have big weeks. One guy in particular is key to the Mariners future success which was nice to see. So this week we'll talk about the good(return of Franklin Gutierrez), the bad(two young kids who have been rushed) and the awesome(Mike Carp's second half). It has been fun seeing the team playing good baseball lately.

The Good:

The Mariners started the week off losing three of their first four games but battled back to beat the Boston Red Sox back to back games to go 3-3. The highlights of the week was the hot hitting of Mike Carp and Franklin Gutierrez. Those two have been killing the ball for about two weeks now which has really helped this slumping offense. The Mariners are getting good hitting from Ichiro and Dustin Ackley as well so the top of the order has been hitting the ball well. The Mariners closer Brandon League this week was lights out as he saved three games while allowing just one base runner. The newly acquired Casper Wells has been hitting the ball extremely well with two home runs the last two games in the series win over the Red Sox. Little used Jack Wilson is taking advantage of his playing time with four doubles this week. This was indeed a good week for the Mariners hitters who scored five runs in the first inning off of all-star pitcher Josh Beckett.

Good Hitting:

Mike Carp: 9-25(.360), HR, 9 RBI's, 4 runs
Casper Wells: 5-13(.384), 2 HR's, 4 RBI's, 3 runs, SB, .500 OB%
Dustin Ackley: 6-22(.272), 2 RBI's, 3 runs, .407 OB%
Ichiro: 7-26(.269), HR, RBI, 4 runs, SB
Jack Wilson: 7-15(.467), 3 RBI's, 3 runs, 4 doubles
Franklin Gutierrez: 11-23(.478), RBI, 5 runs, 3 SB's

Good Pitching:

Jason Vargas: 1-0, 7 IP, 3.86 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 3 K's
Michael Pineda: 6 IP, 4.50 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 4 K's
Jamey Wright: 3 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2.33 WHIP, K
Brandon League: 3 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP, 4 K's, 3 saves

Later on in this post I'll talk more in depth on Gutierrez, Ichiro and Carp. All three are enjoying hitting streaks and are hitting the ball well this month. In the case of Carp he has been killing the ball since being called up.

The Bad:

The Mariners lost two out of three to the Texas Rangers this week. Since 2008 the Mariners record against the Rangers hasn't been very good. The Mariners are now 3-10 this year against the Rangers. The Mariners are just 26-44(.371) against their divisional rivals since 2008 which is flat out terrible. The Mariners also saw two early veteran pieces who were successful who have been in a long slump. The Mariners have two rookies who appear to be overmatched at the major league level but have shown some flashes that eventually they can be quality. The Mariners had two young pitchers get rocked this week although one bounced back against a very good lineup. The Mariners are playing a ton of young guys now so inconsistent results are expected. One thing that has to make manager Eric Wedge happy is the fact his team is competing and not getting blown out like they were during the 17 game losing streak.

Bad Hitting:

Adam Kennedy: 2-12(.167), 3 RBI's, run, K
Miguel Olivo: 3-20(.150), RBI, run, SB, 5 K's
Travyon Robinson: 2-14(.143), 6 K's
Kyle Seager: 3-16(.188), run, 4 K's
Willy Mo Pena: 1-8(.125), 2 K's

Bad Pitching:

Blake Beavan: 0-1, 6.1 IP, 8.53 ERA, 1.89 WHIP, K
Charlie Furbush: 1-1, 11 IP, 5.72 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 6 K's
Jeff Gray: 0-1, Blown Save, 4.1 IP, 8.31 ERA, 1.85 WHIP, 2 K's
Josh Lueke: 0.1 IP, 54.00 ERA, 6.00 WHIP, K

Charlie Furbush is a young pitcher the Mariners are trying to see if he will be part of their future plans in the starting rotation. I'd say this week was a good test for Furbush. Against Texas he was lit up only lasting four innings while allowing six earned runs, eight hits, walked four and struck out zero batter. Then he bounced back against the Red Sox going seven innings, allowing just one earned run, just four hits, two walks while striking out six hitters. It was nce seeing Furbush bounce back the way he did.

The Awesome:

The awesome this week has been the terrific hitting of Mike Carp, Ichiro and Franklin Gutierrez. The Mariners just a month ago had so many holes in their lineup. Now with Carp hitting at the DH spot, Gutierrez hitting at the center field spot, Ichiro in the right field spot and Casper Wells in left field the hitting doesn't look as terrible. The won't confuse anyone of the Mariners from 1995-2003 but they are much better than the triple A crap we've had to witness the last two and a half years. I've complained how nobody is taking advantage of their opportunity well I can't say that anymore as Mike Carp is doing just that.

The Mariners have had three hitters who are red hot right now. The slumping Gutierrez right now is riding a seven game hitting streak which had a five game multi game hitting streak as well. In the month of August Gutierrez is hitting .357/.378/.429 in 93 AB's with 4 RBI's and 10 runs scored. He also has seven stolen bases during that stretch.

The other hitter is Ichiro who is riding a 10 game hitting streak right now. For the month Ichiro is hitting .288/.302/.365 in 52 AB's with a home run, two RBI's and eight runs scored. He also has two stolen bases during that stretch. Nice to see Ichiro showing signs that he still has it.

Lastly, Mike Carp is just killing the ball right now. Carp is enjoying the longest active hitting streak which is at 14 games. In the second half of the season Carp is hitting .366/.398/.581 in 93 AB's. He has hit four home runs, drove in 24 runs while scoring 13 runs. For the month of August he is hitting .380/.415/.580 in 50 AB's with two home runs, 15 RBI's and 8 runs scored.

It has been nice seeing some guys hit the ball. Carp if he continues to hit this way has earned the right to enter spring training next year as the starter. He will be beyond having to compete if he can keep up this hot hitting. It has been great seeing a player step up and take advantage of his playing time which Carp has done so far. He has been red hot just like he was all year long in Tacoma. He is finally getting consistent at bats and doing the most with it.

AL West Standings:

Texas Rangers: 69-52, First Place
L.A. Angels: 65-56, 4.0 GB
Oakland A's: 53-67, 15.5 GB
Seattle Mariners: 52-67, 16.0 GB

In conclusion, the trades made by Jack Zduriencik has made life easier on Eric Wedge. Now some of the problems earlier in the year was on Wedge as he chose to play Carlos Peguero over Mike Carp which Carp is proving was a huge mistake. It is nice seeing the Mariners offense finally score some runs and resemble a major league offense for once. This month the Mariners are averaging 4.3 runs per game which is a huge upgrade over their average prior to this month which was 3.3 runs per game. That one run in baseball is huge especially when talking per game average. The Mariners for the second straight week have played pretty good baseball against the same schedule that burried them. Thanks to the red hot hitting of Mike Carp and Franklin Gutierrez the Mariners fans have enjoyed some fine baseball this month. It was great seeing the Mariners take two out of three against all those bandwagon Red Sox fans. Hopefully the Mariners can finish out the season strong and avoid finishing last place for the sixth time in eight years.

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