Week #12 in Review
On this Friday we find the Mariners 28-36. Still in third place. Slipping another game back of the Angels. The gap is now 8.5 games. According to Baseball Prospectus’ adjusted standings, the M’s are underperforming by about three games, which means the M’s really aren’t that far from being a .500 team at this point.
Not at all a good week on the run-scoring front. The offense is now solidly last in the league in scoring runs, with a walloping 265, which is roughly how many the Rangers score each homestand. The Mariners have hit 46 home runs, 13th in the league, and much closer to last place Oakland than next up Tampa Bay. Their 186 walks rank 6th in the league. However, to offer some perspective, they are closer to last place than 3rd place. As a team, they are hitting .254/.316/.384 compared to the league average of .265/.328/.417. They are 13th in the American League in OBP and 13th in SLG. Their .257 EqA ranks 23rd in all of baseball, tied with Arizona.
This is most definitely not a recipe for a successful club. The salty, lemon juice on the gaping wound? The 2004 Mariners scored 4.3 runs per game. The 2005 Mariners are scoring 4.1 runs per game.
The defense has allowed 286 runs, which makes them the 7th best team in the American League at keeping runs off the board. The gloves are turning 71.4% of balls in play into outs, which is the 2nd best rate in all of baseball. Overall, the pitching staff continues to trim some tenths off the ol’ ERA, cutting it down to 4.29. The starters again improved and are now hovering the league average mark at 4.79. The bullpen arms are still a strength with a 3.27 ERA.
I was really hoping for a win last night, for more than the obvious reasons. It would have been the Mariners’ first season sweep of the year, and coming on the heels of the Nationals’ sweep would have been a good angle. As it is, a 2-4 week just isn’t that interesting to talk about. The good news was the pitching had a 2.95 ERA. But to allow less than 3 runs a game and win only 2 of 6 is an embarrassment to the offense. The Mariners were unbelievably outscored 19-16 by the Nationals and Phillies, despite the fact that they out-homered their opponents 6-1. It does to help to have runners on board to score those runs. The Mariners surrendered more base-on-balls than they took 25-19.
Michael Morse is still smoking hot. And I don’t mean that in a a junior high fangirl sense. He was 11-for-21 (.524/.560/.714), leading the team in hits (11), total bases (15) and RBI (4). Maybe that’s not saying much, but four starters logged an OPS under .600 for the week. Blech.
Maybe we should just credit the defense, because it’s the gloves that are making the pitchers look so amazing. Joel Pineiro pitched 13 innings in two starts and allowed just 3 earned runs on 13 hits and a walk. The red flag is–and this is where the defense comes in–he struck out only 2.
Bret Boone just stinks right now. He had a week of 2-for-19 (.105/.227/.158). He struck out in a third of his at-bats.
The one breakdown of the pitching staff came Friday night when Shigetoshi Hasegawa completely melted down and added a pair of runs to his ERA in a mere 25 pitches. He entered a 3-3 game in the eighth inning. The next time the Mariners came to bat, they were staring at a 9-3 deficit. The only out he recorded was a sacrifice bunt. He non-intentionally walked a pair and allowed a trio of singles. To his credit, it was Matt Thornton who walked in a pair of those runs, but it was Shiggy’s inability to retire them that put them on base to begin with.
Coming to a stadium near you
This coming week the Mariners forego the day-off and play three with the New York Mets before playing host to the Oakland A’s in four. Just when you thought Pedro Martinez moving to the National League would automatically grant the Mariners an extra win in the standings, here they go playing the Mets in interleague. The Mets are 6 games back and last in the NL East despite playing .500 ball. As a friend of mine put it, “Take the AL All-Star squad, call them the Mets and they would be a .500 team.” They are 10th in the NL in runs scored and 7th in runs against.
There once was a day when a series between Oakland and Seattle meant something. It still means something. Just not something important. The A’s are 12th in the AL in runs scored and 9th in runs against.