Monday, April 30, 2012

Mariners weekly recap: April 23rd-29th edition

By Kshell

This week the Seattle Mariners went on the road after a disasterous homestand. The Mariners this week won four games in a row including a couple of dramatic wins. The Mariners swept the Detroit Tigers on the road before dropping two out of three against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Mariners saw a big game from Michael Saunders friday night in Toronto as Saunders was playing in his home country. Since the Mariners went 4-2 this week I'll talk about the good(the hitting), the bad(Justin Smoak) and the awesome(more focus on some younger hitters). The Mariners youngsters this week looked pretty good as they took on two very tough teams both on the road.

The Good:

There was plenty of good this week which saw the Mariners sweep the Detroit Tigers in Detroit. Then on Friday trailing 5-3 in the ninth inning the Mariners rallied to tie up the score. In the 10th inning Michael Saunders hit the game winning grand slam to give the Mariners a 9-5 lead which they eventually won 9-5. The Mariners saw their young offense perform this week which was nice to see. With Chone Figgings sitting due to not hitting Dustin Ackley did well in the leadoff role showing that someday down the role he could be the new leadoff hitter. The Mariners offense this week scored 32 runs(5.33 runs per game) which is a huge upgrade from what we've seen the last four seasons and before this week this year as well.

Good Hitting:

Alex Liddi: 7-23(.304), 2 HR's, 3 runs, 3 RBI's, SB
Ichiro: 8-27(.296), 4 runs, SB
Kyle Seager: 5-13(.385), 2 runs, RBI, 2 doubles
Miguel Olivo: 7-25(.280), 2 HR's, 4 runs, 3 RBI's, SB
Jesus Montero: 7-22(.318), HR, 3 runs, 4 RBI's
Dusin Ackley: 7-26(.269), 2 runs, 3 RBI's, 3 doubles, 3 BB's
Michael Saunders: 8-23(.348), 2 HR's, 9 RBI's, 4 runs, SB

Good Pitching:

Felix Hernandez: 1-0, 7 IP, 1.29 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 2 K's
Kevin Millwood: 0-1, 7 IP, 1.29 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 4 K's
Brandon League: 2 saves, 3 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, K

For Michael Saunders to have the big week that he did was a huge week for his career. He was off to another slow start in basically a make or break season for him. Saunders showed why he was a former top 100 prospect and hopefully has more weeks like this past one.

The Bad:

The Mariners went 4-2 this week so there wasn't much bad. Still it is getting a little bit annoying seeing the same people slump every week. Mainly Justin Smoak and Brendan Ryan as Miguel Olivo actually had a good week. Smoak the key piece in the Cliff Lee trade is getting off to a horrible start and has yet to produce a good major league season. Hopefully Smoak can turn it around as the Mariners really need his big bat to start providing otherwise he might have to sit on the bench if Alex Liddi keeps hitting. Hector Noesi who was a part of the Michael Pineda trade as a throw in with Jesus Montero has pitched poorly in three of his four starts as a Mariner. Noesi so far is showing that he probably isn't ready for the major leagues quite yet and the Mariners might want to think how they use him going forward before his confidence is totally killed. The Mariners also had two eighth inning meltdowns in their losses to the Blue Jays this week as the bats went silent those two games. After scoring 30 runs in the four game winning streak the offense scored just two runs in the two losses. The Mariners wrap up April later today as they take on the Tampa Bay Rays hoping to break .500 for the month with a win.

Bad Hitting:

Brendan Ryan: 0-14(.000), run, RBI, 4 K's
Justin Smoak: 2-16(.125), HR, 3 runs, 3 RBI's, 3 K's

Bad Pitching:

Hector Noesi: 5 IP, 7.20 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 2 k's
Tom Wilhelmson: 3.1 IP, 5.40 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, 4 K's
Hisashi Iwakuma: IP, 36.00 ERA, 4.00 WHIP, 2 K's
Charlie Furbush: 2-0, 2.1 IP, 11.59 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 4 K's

Hector Noesi for the season is 1-2 in four starts having gone just 17.1 innings posting an 8.83 ERA and 1.67 WHIP

Justin Smoak on the year is hitting .187/.238/.320 with three HR's and 20 K's in 75 AB's. Like Dave Cameron wrote earlier this week Smoak has average power to be striking out as much as he has been. Like I said I hope Smoak turns it around but so far it's not looking good for him.

The Awesome:

The young hitters of Michael Saunders, Alex Liddi, Kyle Seager, Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero all did wonderful this week. The Mariners also scored plenty of runs so Felix Hernandez can finally earn a victory who has pitched terrific this season. With the Mariners sweep of the Detroit Tigers they improve to 8-2 since last year against the team who appeared in last years ALCS. The Mariners hitting still isn't hitting very well but they are scoring runs something they haven't done in the past years. The youth movement has been nice especially by the players I just mentioned. It was nice to see Saunders do something and hopefully this is just the start for him who is in a make or break season. The Mariners young hitters some of them are taking advantage of their player time which is nice to see.

Awesome hitting:

Alex Liddi: Hitting .297/.333/.486 on the year with two HR's. He is showing he can be a solid platoon option this year against left handed pitchers.

Kyle Seager: Hitting .279/.290/.426 with only one HR but seven doubles. Seager rarely strikes out but must walk more to further develope into a good hitter.

Michael Saunders: Hitting . 258/.347/.515 with three HR's and eight doubles. He also has nine walks as well. Saunders had a productive week and was once a top 100 prospect hopefully this is just the start of things to come for him.

Awesome Pitching:

Felix Hernandez: 2-1, 5 starts, 36.1 IP, 2.48 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 33 K's. Hernandez is doing what he always does which is pitch like the ace that he is. Hernandez is showing that the myth about his lack of a fastball is just that a myth.

Brandon League: 7 saves, 0-1,  11.2 IP, 1.54 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 7 K's. League minus that one blown save which is going to happen has been lights out once again this year like he was last year. League who made the all-star team last year is racking up the saves this year and could be going back to the midsummer classic once again.

AL West Standings:

Texas Rangers: 16-6, first place
Oakland A's: 11-12, 5.5 GB
Seattle Mariners: 11-12, 5.5 GB
L.A. Angels: 7-15, 9.0 GB

The Mariners are still under .500 ballclub but it was nice seeing that four game winning streak. The young hitters are finally starting to come around while aging veterans like Olivo, Ryan and Chone Figgins continue to take up space. Despite what Eric Wedge thinks these guys aren't veteran leaders and actually set a poor example. The Mariners two all-star pitchers continue to pitch well and it was nice for Saunders to finally show us something which has been long overdue. Hopefully Justin Smoak can take a page from Saunders and have a big week as he desperately needs one. The Mariners did have a winning week which was the positive in this long season as the first month is over after today.

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