Monday, May 28, 2012

Seattle Mariners weekly recap: May 22nd-28th edition

By Kshell

The Seattle Mariners began their week like they ended the previous week by winning two out of three games against first place Texas Rangers. Then it all fell apart as the Los Angeles Angels came to town and swept the Mariners in a four game set. Despite the Mariners receiving six quality starts out of seven this week from their starting staff they went 2-5. The Mariners hitting didn't hit at all this week and were often called out due to striking out. The Mariners also had another late inning bullpen meltdown by closer Brandon League who has been temporarily removed as the closer. This week I'll talk about the good(starting pitching), the bad(the hitting) and the ugly(the Angels domination of the  Mariners through the years).

The Good:

Whenever a team goes 2-5 during the week it can be hard to find some "good" and this week was no different. Only one hitter made my good this week but the Mariners starting five man rotation all made the list. This week in a lot of ways resembled last year where the starting pitching kept the Mariners in the game but the offense let them down. The Mariners did see 37 year old Kevin Millwood continue to turn around his season after starting off 0-4 he has been dominant the last three games. If Millwood continues to pitch like this the Mariners could get some decent value for him at the trade deadline as this team will surely be sellers. The Mariners lone hitter to make the cut was Justin Smoak who is slowly breaking out of his slump which was nice to see. The Mariners did take the Texas Rangers two out of three which is another team they have struggled against as well over the years.

Good Hitting:

Justin Smoak: 6-23(.260), 2 HR's, 2 runs, 7 RBI's, SB

Good Pitching:

Kevin Millwood: 1-0, 6 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 2 K's
Blake Beavan: 7 IP, 3.86 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, K
Jason Vargas: 0-1, 7 IP, 3.86 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 6 K's
Hector Noesi: 0-2, 16 IP, 3.37 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 7 K's
Felix Hernandez: 1-1, 14 IP, 3.86 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 14 K's

Kevin Millwood in his last three starts is 3-0, 22 innings pitched, 0.41 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, 15 K's.

Mariners starting pitching this week: 2-4, 50 IP, 3.24 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 30 K's, 6 quality starts

The Bad:

There was plenty of bad this week especially in the Angels series where the Mariners just couldn't put the bat on the ball. The Mariners scored just nine runs in that four game sweep and 21 overall during this seven game week. Against the Angels the Mariners struck out 40 times in their four game sweep of the Angels including Dan Haren throwing a complete game shutout striking out 14 Mariners to open the series up. The bullpen had their issues once again as Tom Wilhelmsen made a 5-0 game against the Texas Rangers interesting when he allowed a three-run homerun to former Mariner Adrian Beltre. Then on Friday Brandon League gave up three runs as he blew the save. In his last four games League has pitched 3.1 innings, allowed six earned runs and 13 base runners while blowing two saves. League has been removed as the teams closer for now. The Mariners feature a team with young hitters so unfortunately these type of weeks are going to happen. Also doesn't help that Eric Wedge preaches being aggressive at the plate so that is another reason why the Mariners strike out so much. Wedge needs to preach a little bit more patience to his ball club as these strikeouts are starting to become an annoying trend.

Bad Hitting:

Dustin Ackley: 3-22(.136), 2 runs, 2 RBI's, SB, 8 K's
Mike Carp: 2-14(.143), run, RBI, SB, 7 K's
Alex Liddi: 4-17(.235), HR, 2 runs, 4 RBI's, 8 K's
Brendan Ryan: 4-19(.210), 6 K's
Kyle Seager: 2-22(.090), 3 runs, SB, 6 BB's, 7 K's
Michael Saunders: 4-20(.200), 4 runs, RBI, 2 SB's, 8 K's
Jesus Montero: 3-20(.150), 2 runs, 2 RBI's, 7 K's
Miguel Olivo: 0-9(.000), run, CS, 3 K's
Ichiro: 6-28(.214), 2 runs, 2 RBI's, SB, 5 K's. Hasn't walked in 18 straight games(May 8th last walk)

Bad Pitching:

Tom Wilhelmsen: 3 IP, 9.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 4 K's, hold
Brandon League: 0-1, blown save, save, 2 IP, 9.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 2 K's

Mariners team hitting: .226/.288/.360 which all ranks 13th out of 14 teams in the AL. The Mariners are 10th in runs(185), 10th in home runs(41) while being 2nd in strikeouts(389). This offense hasn't improve like most want you to believe this is still a bad ball club in year four under Jack Zduriencik.

The Ugly:

With the Angels sweeping the Mariners this week that put the Mariners in their rightful place of last place in the division a spot they have held six of the last eight seasons. The Angels have dominated the Mariners badly since  2006 and the last time the Mariners won a season series against the Angels was back in 2003 when the Mariners were in the fourth straight year of winning 90 plus games. The series has really turned ugly since 2007 when the Angels along with the Texas Rangers have just taken it to the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners can't expect to compete in this division when two teams are constantly kicking the living crap out of them. In the Angels case they have better ownership, management, and a manager which is why they have dominated the Mariners lately.

Ugly domination:

vs LAA

2007: 6-13, outscored 110-80
2008: 5-14, outscored 98-84
2009: 9-10, outscored 85-71
2010: 4-15, outscored 100-62
2011: 7-12, outscored 70-48
2012: 0-4, outscored 18-9

Totals: 31-68(.313) outscored 481-354(average 4.86-3.58)

This is a six year stretch where the Mariners have defeated the Angels only 31.3% of the time which simply isn't going to get the job done at all. This four game sweep at home was an embarassment as the Mariners resurrected the Angels and their high priced first baseman Albert Pujols.

Al West Standings:

Texas Rangers: 30-18, first place
L.A. Angels: 24-25, 6.5 GB
Oakland A's: 22-27, 8.5 GB
Seattle Mariners: 21-29, 10.0 GB

The Mariners are back to sitting in a spot they know all too well which is last place. You saw the hitting numbers this team doesn't hit for average, get on base or slug the ball at all. This team strikes out way too much as a result over being overly aggressive even our young patient hitters like Seager and Ackley are striking out. Wedge is hurting the growth of these youngsters and needs to go. He was a loser in Cleveland and now is turning the Mariners into an embarassment. The pitching has improved but the hitters aren't doing themselves any favors with all these constant strikeouts on balls in the dirt. Until the Mariners learn to look at a few pitches this is going to be another failed "rebuilding" season once again which the Mariners have been doing since 2004.

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