Week #11 in Review
Bring on the interleague craziness!
It took the Mariners the entire month of May to win two series. Not only have they won their first two series in June, they’ve now won four in a row.
On this Friday we find the Mariners 26-32, sitting firmly in third place. They still find themselves in third place in the AL West, and gained a game on the division-leading Angels, who now sit 7.5 games over the M’s. The adjusted standings over at Baseball Prospectus suggest the Mariners are a little less than a game unlucky. Lady luck is finally beginning to shine her face on the M’s as they have now won 8 of their last 11, including a record of 6-1 in games decided by just one run in those games.
The offense is tied with the Royals for 11th in the league, scoring 249 runs, comparable also to the Tigers and AÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s. Their 40 home runs rank 13th in the league and their 167 walks tie them for 7th, square between divison leaders Chicago and Baltimore. Meanwhile, their .316 on-base percentage ranks 11th and their .383 slugging percentage ranks 13th. As a team, they are hitting .254/.316/.383 compared to the American League average of .260/.330/.414. While the Mariners are getting their hits at about the league average (thank you, Mr. Ichiro!), their ability to draw walks and hit for power are still lagging far behind the rest of the league. Their .258 EqA ranks 23rd in all of baseball.
The defense has allowed 267 runs, which makes them the 8th best team in the American League at keeping runs off the board. The gloves are turning 71.3% of balls in play into outs, which is the 4th best rate in the American League. Overall, the pitching staff is looking league average, with a staff ERA of 4.43. The starters continue to slowly shave the runs of their ERA, trimming it down to a 5.09 ERA, while the bullpen continues to be solid with a 3.12 ERA.
May we please continue with opponents with aquatic mascots? The Mariners took 4 of 6 from the Devil Rays and Marlins, despite outscoring them just 29-25. While they hit just 3 home runs all week (thank you, Mr. Ibanez), the pitching staff allowed just a pair of long balls. And, they were out-walked 22-15. For the week, they hit .271/.332/.386.
Good contact. Bad contact over the fence.
Raul Ibanez continues his hot hitting, going 9-for-23 (.391/.417/.696) with a double and a pair of home runs. He led the team in total bases (16) and RBI (6). If there’s any word of caution in regards to Ibanez, its that his recent hot streak is mostly batting average-driven. He has just 5 walks over the last two weeks.
And congratulations goes out to Mike Morse, for not only collecting his first major league hit, but a perfect 7. He went 7-for-18 (.389/.450/.500).
Aaron Sele made a pair of starts and allowed just 15 batters the courtesy of first base in 12+ innings. While he walked only 1 in those starts en route to a total of 4 runs, he struck out only 5. I’ll take those wins while I can get ’em, but I ain’t pinning my future hopes to it.
From too-hot-to-handle to too-cold-to-hold, Jeremy Reed went just 1-for-14 (.071/.071/.143), the only consolation being his one hit was a double.
Gil Meche walked 5 Marlins in 5 innings in a 5-4 loss Wednesday night. It was his roughest outing since the end of April. He allowed 4 runs.
Coming to a stadium near you
As a former resident of both Snohomish County and Fairfax County, this is the matchup I’ve been waiting for. Nationals vs. Mariners. And I’m still lamenting that the year I move from the DC area, not only does the District get a team, but also the Mariners play in RFK.
The streaking Nats have won 7 straight and sit atop the NL East, despite a run differential of -3. I saw Washington play in Cincinnati two weeks ago, and this is a team that struggles as mightily as the Mariners to score runs. They’re 13th in their league in scoring. It’s the pitching that’s carrying the Nationals, but the Mariners will miss out on staff ace and workhorse Livan Hernandez. Instead, they’ll see Tomo Ohka (54 IP, 11.1 VORP), John Patterson (53 IP, 17.8 VORP) and Tony Armas (37 IP, 3.2 VORP).
You thought the Mariners had troubles with the bottom third of their lineup. The Nats are getting an OPS of .623, .641 and .493 from the bottom third of their order (understandably, that is a pitcher at #9).
And just for kicks, consider this: Livan Hernandez is hitting .206/.229/.324 in 34 at bats. All Mariner pinch hitters are “hitting” .237/.256/.316 in 38 at bats. The Nationals’ pitching staff has 2 home runs. The Mariners’ bench has 0.
Next, the Mariners will host the similarly streaking Philadelphia Phillies. They Phils have won 7 of their last 8 series, including 13 of their last 15 games. Their offense is second only to the Cardinals in the National League, despite Jim Thome only hitting .205/.365/.333.
Last week, the Mariners caught the Devil Rays, and let’s face it, they’re still the Devil Rays, and the Marlins, who are struggling as of late. This next week will show a truer test of what the Mariners are or are not capable of doing on the field.