Week #10 in Review
So how do the Mariners rebound from an embarrassing sweep in Baltimore? How about their first back-to-back series wins of the season–five of the six games decided by 1 or 2 runs.
And who says this team isn’t fun to watch any more?
On this Friday we find the Mariners 22-30, sitting firmly in third place. The Angels maintain their 8.5-game lead over the Mariners as they hosted Kansas City over the week. Meanwhile, the third-order wins suggest the Mariners are still unlucky by a pair of games and also that the Angels are the luckiest team in baseball this side of Arizona.
The offense ranks 11th in the league, scoring 220 runs, comparable to the Royals and A’s. Their 37 home runs rank 13th in the league and their 152 walks tie them for 6th in the league. This is an improvement over last week. However, the difference between the White Sox, Indians, Mariners, Orioles, Rangers and Blue Jays is a mere 5 base on balls. Meanwhile, their .314 on-base percentage ranks 11th and their .383 slugging percentage ranks 13th. Their .258 EqA ranks 22nd in all of baseball.
The defense has allowed 243 runs, which makes them the 9th best team in the American League at keeping runs off the board. The gloves are turning 71.6% of balls in play into outs, which along with the White Sox, is the best rate in the American League. Overall, the pitching staff is looking league average, with a staff ERA of 4.49. The starters remain well below average with a 5.20 ERA, while the bullpen continues to be solid with a 3.11 ERA.
The theme here is “Making Outs.” The offense does it much too well. The defense does, too.
As noted earlier, the Mariners took advantage of their first games in a month not against first-place teams or teams with the letters “NY” or “B” on their caps, and won their first back-to-back series in the year, going 4-2. They didn’t do it the easy way, though, as they outscored the Devil Rays and Blue Jays by a margin of just 31-28. Their opponents outslugged them 8 home runs to 4, but the Mariners collected twice as many doubles, 15-7. They also, for once, showed more discipline at the plate, drawing more walks, 25-17. For the week, the M’s hit .290/.370/.440, which maybe isn’t the line of a championship team, but we’ll take our moral victories one step at a time. That’s a huge improvement over the previous week.
The success of the offense rests squarely on the shoulders of Richie Sexson and Raul Ibanez. Sexson hit .333/.520/.611 with a pair of doubles, a home run and 6 walks. And he stole a base. Ibanez provided production from the left side hitting .409/.500/.545 with 3 doubles and 4 walks.
Gil Meche made a pair of starts, pitched 11 total innings and allowed just 3 runs, for a 2.45 ERA, including a combined shutout on Wednesday night against Toronto. Those thinking, “Finally, the pitching hero we’ve been waiting for!” Um… no, things are not all rosy for Gil Meche. In those 11 innings, Meche walked 7 and struck out only 3, and success never lasts when you walk nearly a batter an inning and make your defense responsible for making 30 of 33 outs.
Meche, Jamie Moyer and Aaron Sele combined to make 4 starts, pitched 23.2 innings (6 IP/start) and allowed just 5 runs. And struck out 7.
I keep telling myself it’s going to get better. But Adrian Beltre continues his nightmare season, hitting .217/.280/.261 with a walk and 4 strikeouts in 22 at bats. It’s going to get better. It’s going to get better? My confidence is showing the first signs of waning.
Tuesday Ryan Franklin coughed up 7 runs (5 earned) on 10 hits in just 2.2 innings. He struck out 1. His K/9 stands at 3.69, the lowest of his career, which is cause for serious concern.
Coming to a stadium near you
Memorial Day is behind us and so that means one thing: summer. And Florida!
This weekend the Mariners play host to the Devil Rays. Here’s the magic number for the Rays: 3. That’s how many games Tampa Bay has won on the road this year. It’s the first weekend of June and the Devil Rays have won 3 games. I’ll let that sink in.
The M’s take Monday off as they fly to Miami were interleague picks up again as the face-off against the Marlins. Florida started the season on fire, but has cooled off lately. They still have the second best ERA in all of baseball. Their offense has a .275 EqA, which is 6th in all of baseball. Their lineup has three spots with OBP’s over .400 (Cabrera, Delgado, Castillo). And Mike Lowell (.201/.249/.325) has whatever third-base-no-hit disease is going around the AL West.
A .500 week is not out of the question, as I can see the Mariners taking 2 of 3 from Tampa. As long they can avoid the three-headed monster known in the Senior Circuit as BurnettWillisBeckett, they should be able to squeeze at least one victory from Florida.