Game 58, Rangers at Mariners

marc w · May 29, 2019 at 12:20 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Wade LeBlanc vs. Jose Leclerc/Drew Smyly, 12:40pm

It’s a day game on getaway day, as the M’s try to put the sour taste of last night, last month, all of…this behind them. The worst thing about last night’s 11-4 loss wasn’t the huge, early deficit or the costly error that gifted the Rangers their first two runs. Rather, it was the loss of JP Crawford, who rolled his ankle getting back to 3rd after a bizarre play on a fielder’s choice. Crawford had 2 hits and has been better at the plate after seeming to leave his patience in Tacoma for a week or two. The Ks are still a concern, but he’s showing he can be a legitimate MLB shortstop, which would be nice. He’ll head to the IL as there’s no reason he or anyone else should be playing through pain in this go-nowhere season. Dylan Moore’s been recalled to take his spot on the active roster.

The pitching continues to disappoint, as Marco gave up 8 runs (6 earned) through 4, and then the bullpen’s sole consistent performer, Brandon Brennan, scuffled and gave up a moonshot to Ronald Guzman. Gonzales slide has been the perfect microcosm of the M’s staff: their ERA is over 6 in May, and that clearly understates the problem. They’ve given up 21 unearned runs this month, and have a HR/9 over 2. This is not solely their fault of course, but the problems that seemed more limited in April have spread to the entire group. The bullpen’s always been a mess, but the starters have now lost the plot as well. They’ve been replacement level as a group in May, and you could make a straight-faced argument that Tommy Milone is their #2 starter at the moment. They are not *this* bad. This is a mediocre group with bad luck. But my goodness, are they rough to watch on a day-in, day-out basis. I know it’s frustrating for the players, as we heard in Matt Calkins’ column in the Times, but it’s pretty unpleasant for the fans, too.

That’s too bad, because the club really put a lot of effort into improving their coaching at the big league level. I harp on this all the time, but this is a league in which players take sudden leaps in performance rather often. Look at Derek Dietrich in Cincinnati, for example, or Lucas Giolito in Chicago, or Jake Odorizzi in Minnesota, or Gio Urshela in New York. Using data and cutting edge pedagogy or whatever the hell they do, teams are getting much more out of players than their prior record would’ve predicted was possible. The M’s know this, and have worked to improve how they do this, and have hired people from a variety of backgrounds to improve their work in this area. And none of it seems to be working. Sure, Dan Vogelbach’s hitting well, but after that first month, the team as a whole has faltered on both sides of the ball. They’ve made interesting, not business-as-usual hires, and things don’t seem to change.

To be clear: I’m not blaming any of the coaches. The team isn’t very good, which is why even the front office isn’t trying to sell the club as a contender. But it’s concerning when the FO identifies coaching at the big league level to be a key, and they have, going way back to the hiring of Scott Servais as manager, to see them make so little headway at it. Maybe it’s bubbling up under the surface, and maybe, I dunno, Shed Long’s going to go on a tear here real soon, but something isn’t working in the way information moves from baseball ops or field staff to coaches to players, and that issue has persisted despite changes in field staff and coaches and players. I have no idea how to fix it, but I worry that the FO doesn’t, either. And if they don’t, then the whole step-back thing is doomed.

Hey, cool, Mariners baseball comin’ at ya, let’s have fun and watch a ball game and not worry so damn much.

1: Smith, CF
2: Haniger, RF
3: Vogelbach, DH
4: Encarnacion, 1B
5: Santana, LF
6: Seager, 3B
7: Beckham, SS
8: Murphy, C
9: Long, 2B
SP: LeBlanc

Andrew Moore, Jon Niese, and Austin Hutchison start for the M’s affiliates today, with Moore looking to build on a great first start back in the M’s org back on May 23rd.


One Response to “Game 58, Rangers at Mariners”

  1. Longgeorge1 on May 29th, 2019 3:28 pm

    Entertaining – Everything “Good, Bad and Ugly” about M’s baseball

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