Monday, September 5, 2011

Seattle Mariners weekly review: August 29th-September 4th edition

By Kshell

The Seattle Mariners appear to have given up on the season as they finished the week losing four games in a row to go 2-5 on the week. After splitting at home with the rival Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim the Mariners were swept down in Oakland to the Oakland Athletics. The Mariners have lost 7 of their last 10 games and appear headed towards another last place finish with 90 plus losses. The Mariners once strong pitching staff has fallen apart with the exception of Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda. The Mariners hitting just isn't hitting anymore besides a few youngsters. The Mariners are playing like a team who is just playing out their season as they were swept by a team they had dominated all season long. The Mariners fall to 58-81 on the season which just won't get the job done at all. This week I'll talk about the good(Felix Hernandez), the bad(the slumping Casper Wells) and the ugly(Jason Vargas disasterous second half once again). The Mariners need to go 15-8 to avoid 90 losses which I don't see the team doing as it appears the team has packed it in.

The Good:

The Mariners just completed a 2-5 week but there was some positives to draw on. The Mariners saw ace pitcher Felix Hernandez defeat the Angels star pitcher Dan Haren 2-1 in which Hernandez threw a complete game to earn the win. The Mariners also saw youngsters Dustin Ackley and Mike Carp who were slumping break out of their slumps. The Mariners also saw the face of their franchise Ichiro continue his red hot hitting as he is trying to record 200 hits. Ichiro currently needs 40 hits in his last 23 games to have 200 hits this year something he has done the last 10 seasons. The Mariners bullpen saw some guys pitch lights out once again which was nice to see. The Mariners had some guys produce this week like Justin Smoak returned from the DL to produce this week. Unfortunately the Mariners just didn't receive much help from anyone else besides these guys. Lately the only good pitching performances have been by just Hernandez and Michael Pineda even though Pineda can't seem to buy a win lately. Even though the Mariners are slumping they still have plenty of guys who are doing well. Just need to have a week where more than a handful of guys are doing their jobs.

Good Hitting:

Ichiro: 9-30(.300), 4 RBI's, 4 runs, SB
Mike Carp: 7-27(.259), HR, 5 RBI's, 2 runs
Justin Smoak: 4-12(.333), run
Dustin Ackley: 11-25(.444), HR, 6 RBI's, 5 Runs, SB. .500 OB%, 8-game hitting streak

Good Pitching:

Felix Hernandez: 1-0, 9 IP, 1.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 9 K's
Michael Pineda: 0-1, 6 IP, 4.50 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 7 K's
Brandon League: 2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 2 K's, save
Jamey Wright: 3 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 3 K's
Tom Wilhelmsen: 1-0, 2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP, 3 K's

Felix Hernandez last 7 starts: 5-2, 51.1 IP, 2.63 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 56 K's, 9.81 K's per 9, 6 Quality Starts
Felix Hernandez season: 29 starts, 13-11, 209.1 IP(7.1 IP a start), 3.27 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 204 K's, 8.77 K's per 9, .237 BAA. 5 CG's, 20 quality starts.

Felix Hernandez is having another terrific season which is being wasted. I discussed this topic a few weeks ago when I wrote a post about Felix being wasted which you can read by clicking this link Wasted Talent . It has been a shame seeing the Mariners waste such a terrific arm in Felix Hernandez. I do think fans should appreciate Hernandez more and I'm not talking about the Kings Court chanting "Larry". I'm talking about feel fortunate to see one of the games best pitchers who hasn't even entered his prime for 33-36 starts a season since 2005.

The Bad:

The Seattle Mariners after splitting with the Angels were swept by the Oakland A's in three games. Whenever your record is 2-5 for the week there is plenty of bad. The fact that I have four starting pitchers on my bad list is a sign this franchise is in trouble. The Mariners did have pitching but no hitting and now they have neither. The "good" news is general manager Jack Zduriencik was told he will return next season. The Mariners hitting has been awful all season long and was pretty bad this week. After starting his brief Mariners career on fire Casper Wells has been in a horrible slump which dating back to last week has him hitting 2-33(.060) in the last two weeks. The Mariners young hitters are slumping badly now and the pitching in particular the three left handers keep getting bombed which has been a horrible trend to pay attention to.

Bad Hitting:

Kyle Seager: 4-23(.174), 2 RBI's, run, 2 K's
Trayvon Robinson: 1-10(.100), 3 runs, 7 K's
Brendan Ryan: 1-16(.062), RBI, run, K, Caught Stealing
Franklin Gutierrez: 5-27(.185), RBI, 3 runs, SB, 4 K's
Casper Wells: 1-18(.055), 5 K's
Miguel Olivo: 5-24(.208), 2 RBI's, 2 runs, SB, 6 K's

Bad Pitching:

Blake Beavan: 0-1, 12 IP, 5.25 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 3 K's
Charlie Furbush: 0-1, 6 IP, 6.00 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 5 K's
Jeff Gray: 2.2 IP, 16.87 ERA, 3.37 WHIP, K
Josh Lueke: 5 IP, 7.20 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, K
Cesar Jimenez: 0.1 IP, 81.00 ERA, 9.00 WHIP, K
Anthony Vasquez: 0-1, 4 IP, 15.75 ERA, 2.50 WHIP, K
Jason Vargas: 0-1, 5 IP, 7.20 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 4 K's

Three left handed starting pitchers: 0-3, 15 IP, 9.00 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, 10 K's.

The Mariners can't seem to find a quailty starting pitching from the south side which is a good thing they took Danny Hultzen with the #2 overall pick in the draft. At Safeco Field if you have a quality left handed starting pitcher he can be dominant since Safeco is tough on right handed hitters.

The Ugly:

There has been plenty of ugly for the Mariners this season and for this week. The Mariners lost centerfielder Franklin Guiterrez for the rest of the season with a strained Oblique muscle. This has been a very disappointing season for Gutierrez who began the season on the disabled list and will end the season on the disabled list. Gutierrez was the crown jewel in Jack Zduriencik's big J.J. Putz trade(meanwhile he's kicking ass for first place Arizona Diamondbacks). In fact another player in that trade who has been struggling lately has been Jason Vargas. For the third straight second half Vargas has been down right terrible. There can be plenty of excuses made but when this happens three years in a row that is called a bad trend. In fact Insider Steve explored the problems of Jason Vargas with this post you can read by clicking the link Does Jason Vargas have a future in Seattle? . Which is a curious case and one that needs to be explored this offseason. Zduriencik traded away Bill Bavasi's guy Doug Fister(who is kicking ass for first place Detroit Tigers) meanwhile he kept the guy he acquired Jason Vargas. Vargas is looking horrible and the guys acquired in the Fister trade aren't looking very good either. You have to wonder what Mariners management was thinking in bringing back Zduriencik who other than the draft hasn't show much.

Ugly Hitting:

Franklin Gutierrez: Hit .224/.261/.273 in 322 AB's. Has just one HR, 19 RBI's, 26 runs scored and 13 SB's. This year has been a disaster for Gutierrez and his Mariners future has to be in question heading into the offseason. His bat came around late but two weeks worth of good hitting doesn't make up for the months of terrible baseball.

Miguel Olivo: Hitting .220/.254/.371 in 410 AB's. Has 16 HR's, 55 RBI's, and 45 runs scored. He also has 122 strikeouts to 20 walks. I know plenty of fans are high on him but he simply isn't getting the job done this year. His defense has been below average as well. Time for the Mariners to get serious and go acquire a catcher who has some respect for the strike zone instead of swinging at everything.

Ugly Pitching:

Jason Vargas 2011 second half: 10 GS, 1-7,  53 IP, 7.13 ERA, 1.89 WHIP, 27 K's,  .336 BAA
Jason Vargas 2010 second half: 14 GS, 3-8, 85 IP, 4.66 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 48 K's, .265 BAA
Jason Vargas 2009 second half: 3 GS, 0-3, 28 IP, 7.39 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 13 K's, .292 BAA

Do the names Dave Flemming, John Halama, Ryan Rowland-Smith mean anything to you? Well they should because they were all fly ball pitchers for the Mariners who enjoyed success at first. Then the league rocked them in the second half of the season. Then the league featured them out and kept rocking them where they spent the rest of their baseball careers in the minor leagues. It appears that is Jason Vargas destiny because as you can see three straight bad second halfs shows he isn't cut out for the long haul.

Charlie Furbush: 2-4, 31 IP, 6.39 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 20 K's, .277 BAA

He was acquired in the Doug Fister trade along with the slumping Casper Wells who is currently doing his best Chone Figgins impression. Another lefty who can't seem to keep the ball down which means he is getting pounded all over.

Anthony Vasquez: 1-1, 9.1 IP, 11.57 ERA, 2.25 WHIP, 3 K's, .372 BAA

He simply isn't a major league pitcher and might not ever be one. It's actually an insult to the major league players on the roster that he is starting games for the Mariners. The Mariners have to have someone in Triple A who is better than Vasquez who you can't tell the difference between his fastball or his changeup. He is to pitching what Carlos Peguero was to hitting which is to say he is overmatched.

AL West Standings:

Texas Rangers: 80-61, first place
L.A. Angels: 76-64, 3.5 GB
Oakland A's: 64-76, 15.5 GB
Seattle Mariners: 58-81, 21.0 GB

In conclusion, the Mariners appear to have mailed it in this month. They aren't putting out a major league starting pitcher four of the six starts. Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda who will be shut down after two more starts are the only pitchers in the rotation currently who belong on a major league rotation. When you check out the hitters only Ichiro going into the season was a major league hitter. The team is rebuilding yet young guys like Trayvon Robinson can't seem to find AB's. The Mariners for the eighth straight season are just playing out their season in the month of September. For the eighth straight September the city of Seattle is tuning out the Mariners and focusing on football. The Mariners are in serious danger of losing their fan base because despite all those gimmicks the best gimmick of them all is simply winning. The Mariners aren't winning and until they do the fans will keep decreasing by the season.

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