San Diego came into Safeco Field with a 6-31 road record. Their ERA on the road is 4.95. They have one of the worst offenses in baseball and have hit the fewest home runs. Yet they win game two 1-0 on a home run by a player with fewer homers than Ichiro. Edinson Volquez who had not won since May 12 made Mariner batters look silly in the final game.
All in all a very embarrassing series that drew a paltry 44, 321 for the three games. The good news is that after hitting .181 against the Dodgers, Mariner hitters slugged .243 against the Padres. They just couldn’t score.
The problem is not Safeco Field. It’s dimensions are not that big, there are much bigger parks to hit in. It is a great place for gap hitters. Here are some numbers to prove my point.
In 2001 Mariners hit .283 at home, 293 away. In 2002 .264 at home, .285 away. In 2003 .264 at home, .278 away. 2004 .255 at home, .284 away. They hit better at home in 2005 .260 to .252 away. In 2006, .265 at home, .277 away. 2007 .283 at home, .290 away. Once again they hit better at home in 2008 .271 to .260 away. In 2009 .255 at home, .260 away. 2010 was balanced, .235 at home, .236 away.
Then we come to 2011. They hit .223 at home, .242 away. The numbers are worse this year. The point is that though the road numbers were ususally better, they still, for the most part had good averages.
The common theme the last two seasons is that the team is made up of young players trying to establish their careers. And Safeco Field is getting into their heads. It is the elephant in the room. You tell yourself not to think about elephants, but all you think about are elephants. All the players think about is that they can’t hit at home.
It is an aberation, one that needs a talk from the manager, the hitting coach, or a psychologist to get them thinking correctly.
You watch them on the road and you see confidence. You see them at home and they flail away at bad pitches and look like little leaguers at the plate.
The Padre series is the low point of the season so far. The Mariners for some reason have fared better against good teams and with the Giants, a better team than the Padres, it is time to get untracked.