Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mariners Defeat a Country Single-Handedly

"Who?", Seager asks innocently.
Okay, maybe not an entire country.  Just the Toronto Blue Jays, but since the Expos are now the Nationals, Toronto is an entire country as far as major league baseball is concerned.  Have you ever been to a Mariners game while they were playing Toronto at home in Seattle?  The stadium is almost full and 75% of the crowd are Blue Jays fans.  So screw you Canada!

I'm going to make this one short because Saturday and Sunday were 10am games and I don't know what 10am looks like any more.  I'm going off the box score and jumping to conclusions would be pretty stupid.  I will say that I watched Felix Hernandez pitch on Friday and it was, as always, amazing.

Game 1: Won 4-0
Game 2: Won 8-1
Game 3: Lost 2-10

.219 ISO
Team LOB: 14
RISP: 4-18 (.222)
4 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 14 RBI
11 BB, 24 K

20 IP, 19 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 5 BB, 12 K, 2 HR
3.60 ERA
1.20 WHIP
5.4 K/9
2.3 BB/9
2.4 K/BB

6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 K
4.50 ERA
1.83 WHIP
4.5 K/9
6 BB/9
0.8 K/BB

Rather than going over each game individually and making this a long post about pretty much nothing, I'll point a few things out.  First, the triple was hit by Raul Ibanez, which is just hilarious if you think about it.  Second, all but one of the starting pitchers did excellent.  Third, most of the relief numbers came from Hector Noesi's 2 innings out of the 'pen.  And yes, I'm still a proponent of putting him in the rotation at some point.  Fourth, the hitting numbers are kind of ugly except the ISO and power numbers.

The start that brought the numbers way down for starters came from Joe Saunders.  He worked 5 innings, giving up 9 hits and 7 runs, all earned while walking 2 and striking out none.  There have been grumblings about cutting Saunders and putting one of the kids in the rotation, but no.  Everybody and their dog knew what they were getting when the Mariners signed Saunders and Felix he ain't.  He's Vargas without the home runs.  He'll benefit from Safeco of course, but he doesn't pitch only in Safeco.  He'll have his rough starts both at home and on the road.  He's not going anywhere unless they trade him, so sit down, shut up, buckle up and hang on for the ride when he's on the mound.

Now the hitters.  While the Mariners are starting to hit for more power, finally, they're still stuck in a rut when it comes to getting on base and hitting with runners in scoring position.  It's nice that they're winning and actually hitting for power, but can they sustain it?  They're still in the bottom of most offensive categories and it doesn't look like that's going to change much unless they can get a hit with a runner on second.  As of right now, they're hitting .214 with runners in scoring position and batting .241 overall.  If those numbers start to climb a little bit, I'd be more inclined to get some optimism in my head, but I'm not buying it yet.  The series against Toronto was their second worst hitting series with a .198 batting average, their third worst in OBP at .284, but their best series as far as power numbers with a .214 ISO. 

Dustin Ackley has gotten his average up to .248, but is hitting for no power and isn't stealing bases.  He's like Ichiro without the steals.  Of the 26 hits this season, 4 have gone for extra bases with 3 doubles and 1 home run.  In his career, about 29% of his hits have gone for extra bases.  So far this season, that number is at 15%.  It's nice that he's getting on base since that's how you score runs, but he has yet to attempt a stolen base.  A singles hitter that doesn't use what speed he has isn't what anybody expected.  He has plenty of time to turn it around, but the question of whether or not he will is one that will hover over him every game he plays.

The Mariners resume play for a whole 2 days at Pittsburgh before getting another off day on Thursday.  Tuesday sees Aaron Harang (1-3, 8.68 ERA) against James McDonald (2-2, 5.76 ERA) at 4:05 Pacific.  If you choose to miss out on this one, I don't blame you one bit.  Wednesday's game has Felix Hernandez (4-2, 1.60 ERA) facing A.J. Burnett (3-2, 2.57 ERA) at 9:35am Pacific, which is just insane.  Baseball!

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