Monday, May 7, 2012

Seattle Mariners weekly recap: April 30th-May 6th edition

By Kshell

The Seattle Mariners just ended their week by winning two games in a row against the Minnesota Twins which had snapped their seven game losing streak. Earlier this week the Mariners were swept in four games by the Tampa Bay Rays by a combined five runs. This week saw some young hitters emerge while their ace continued to dominate. This week also saw the overdue benching of Chone Figgins who was terrible in his series against the Rays. Unfortunately for the Mariners Figgins isn't the only bat in the lineup struggling. This week since the Mariners only went 2-5 and are only a half game ahead of being in last place I'll go over the good(Young hitters plus Felix), the bad(Justin Smoak and Brendan Ryan's struggles) and the ugly(the Chone Figgins era). I hope you enjoy this weekly recap even though the results weren't very good.

The Good:

For a team that went 2-5 this past week there was some positives actually. The Tampa Bay Rays have the best record in the American League and the Mariners could have won all four games. Then they returned home to take two out of three against the Minnesota Twins as they easily could have swept that series. The main positive this week was the hitting duo of Jesus Montero and Kyle Seager both youngsters had big weeks for the Mariners. Another good thing was the pitching especially against the Twins. Felix Hernandez continues to dominate this year proving his fastball is nothing to be concerned about while Jason Vargas continues to have a solid season once again in the first half. This week also saw Hector Noesi was part of the Jesus Montero trade have a good start this week. So far Noesi has had a rough year and his only two good starts were at home against light hitting teams like the Oakland A's and Minnesota Twins. Still Noesi needed that start to stay in this rotation.

Good Hitting:

Kyle Seager: 9-26(.346), 3 HR's, 5 runs, 10 RBI's
John Jaso: 4-12(.333) run, 2 doubles
Ichiro: 9-25(.360), 3 runs, 3 RBI's, 5 BB's
Jesus Montero: 9-25(.360), HR, 4 runs, 3 RBI's

Good Pitching:

Felix Hernandez: 1-0, 16 IP, 0.56 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 18 K's
Jason Vargas: 6.1 IP, 1.42 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 5 K's
Hector Noesi: 1-1, 12.2 IP, 2.84 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 6 K's
Lucas Luetge: 2.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 2 K's
Steve Delabar: 4.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP, 4 K's

Felix Hernandez this year is having an incredible season. On the year he has made seven starts posting a 3-1 record throwing 52.1 innings. He has an 1.89 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, .189 BAA and 51 strikeouts.

Kyle Seager is having a breakout year as well this year hitting .298/.320/.511 with four home runs and a team leading 17 RBI's.

The Bad:

Whenever you go 2-5 on the week and are forced to bench a guy who you owe 18 million the next two seasons it's never a good week. The Mariners bullpen imploaded some in their series sweep to the Rays as their hitters failed to come up with that one big hit. The big trade piece in the Cliff Lee trade was dropped to seventh in the order as he is getting off to where he left off last season which is horrible. The Mariners top young hitter Dustin Ackley continues his struggles this week although when moved to leadoff this weekend he performed just well so hopefully he can produce there. Brendan Ryan finally snapped an awful 0-27 streak that he was in but still didn't hit very well despite Eric Wedge batting him now second in the order.

This was indeed a rough week for a team who is still trying to find their own identity.  They have three hitters who sit below .200 while three others in Olivo(now DL), Saunders and Ackley sit below .240 which is terrible. The Mariners starting pitching hasn't done much better as veteran Kevin Millwood continues to struggle. This week even saw reliable closer Brandon League blow the save in the 11th inning then record the loss in the 12th inning in a tough loss to the Tampa Bay Rays which saw Felix Hernandez goes eight innings while allowing one run the entire game.

Bad Hitting:

Michael Saunders: 3-26(.115), HR, 2 runs, RBI, 12 K's
Dustin Ackley: 5-25(.200), 5 runs, 5 BB's, SB, 7 K's
Justin Smoak: 4-25(.160), RBI, 5 K's
Brendan Ryan: 3-16(.188), run, 2 RBI's, 10 K's, Caught Stealing
Chone Figgins: 0-15(.000), 6 K's

Bad Pitching:

Blake Beavan: 0-1, 5.1 IP, 8.44 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, K
Kevin Millwood: 0-1, 6.1 IP, 5.69 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 4 K's
Brandon League: 0-1, blown save, 2.1 IP, 7.72 ERA, 2.57 WHIP, K

Michael Saunders had that big game last week but overall still isn't hitting very well. Saunders on the year is hitting .217/.294/.435 with four home runs but 31 strikeouts in 92 AB's.

Kevin Millwood on the year in five starts is 0-3 having pitched 28.2 innings. He has a 5.34 ERA, 1.57 WHIP and .304 BAA with only 19 strikeouts. He is an old veteran who doesn't belong on this team at all.

The Ugly:

The ugly this week I'll focus on three guys who were all acquired by the scout pretending to be a GM Jack Zduriencik. The Chone Figgins experiment with the Mariners appears to be coming to an end pretty shortly. Figgins was recently told by Eric Wedge that he'll be benched and just an expensive utility guy. Figgins was leading off this year hoping that could save his career and minus that opening week in Oakland it didn't work out at all. The Figgins mess hurts the club financially for this year and next year as he is nine million dollars per year.

A much greater concern is Justin Smoak. Smoak is supposed to be a franchise piece to build on and already ussmariner has had two different posts on him how A) he can't hit breaking stuff anymore then B) can't hit heat anymore either. If Smoak busts out like Figgins has I don't see how the Mariners can justify keeping Zduriencik around since those were his two major moves and it appears he will have whiffed on both.  Another player slumping this year is Brendan Ryan and Wedge for some reason is now batting him second despite the fact that he strikesout a lot while not looking at many pitches. In fact this team as a whole doesn't walk at all but hacks a lot why they have so many strikeouts.

Ugly Hitting:

Justin Smoak: Hitting .180/.241/.280 on the year with only three home runs in 100 AB's while striking out 25 times. Smoak as you can see isn't hitting, not getting on power and not hitting for power. He is basically useless right now and you have to think the Texas Rangers bluffed the Mariners on that trade.

Brendan Ryan: hitting .153/.273/.250 on the year with one home run in 72 AB's with 24 strikeouts. Ryan is good defensively despite his untimely errors although he isn't hitting well at all. He is slumping big time and has zero power as well.

Chone Figgins:

2010: Hit .259/.340/.306 in 602 AB's with 62 runs, one home run, 35 RBI's, 74 BB's, 114 K's, 42 SB's
2011: Hit .188/.241/.243 in 288 AB's with 24 runs, one home run, 15 RBI's, 21 BB's, 42 K's, 11 SB's
2012: Hitting .189/.250/.305 in 95 AB's with 10 runs, two home runs, 8 RBI's, 8 BB's, 28 K's, 2 SB's

As you can see in 2010 he was over paid but at least a productive major league player. The past two seasons he has just flat out been awful and the Mariners are STILL on the hook for another nine million for him next year. Time to cut your losses Mariners and release Figgins already just having him around isn't a good thing.

Al West Standings:

Texas Rangers: 19-10, first place
Oakland A's: 15-14, 4.0 GB
Seattle Mariners: 13-17, 6.5 GB
L.A. Angels: 12-17, 7.0 GB

The Mariners are going through another rebuilding season but must get some of their young guys going like Ackley and Smoak. This week was nice to see Hernandez once again be dominate while Montero and Seager continue to provide with the bat. The Mariners are now taking on the Detroit Tigers who they swept earlier this year and are riding a two game winning streak. Hopefully this week will turn out differently than this past week did.

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