Following the 2012 baseball season, Mariner fans wanted home runs. The reason, other than loving the long ball, is that home runs would fix the lack of runs scored by the Mariners. Fans got what they wanted in 2013 as the Mariners were second in the major leagues with 188 home runs, behind only the Orioles 212. But despite hitting 39 more home runs than 2012, the Mariners scored only five more runs. The team won 71 games, four fewer than 2012. Home runs are fun, but they do not equate to success or wins.
The problem is the same as last year, lack of hitting. The Mariners were dead last in hitting in 2012 with a .234 average, in 2013 they hit .237, 28th in baseball. On base percentage improved slightly from .296 to .306. Hitting with runners in scoring position with two outs was .206 in 2012 and .203 this season. You win more games with clutch hitting, but the Mariners continue to fail in that department. With the bases loaded the Mariners hit .252. Not bad. But in 2012 they hit .316.
The bottom line is not home runs, it is batting average and on base percentage that leads to scoring. It does no good to hit 188 home runs unless you increase a teams ability to hit. This year can be blamed on rookies learning on the job. Brad Miller led Mariner rookies with a .265 average (3rd on the team). Abraham Almonte hit .264 in 72 at bats, not a significant number of at bats, however. Nick Franklin hit .225, but 113 strikeouts in 369 at bats indicates much needed plate discipline. Mike Zunino hit .214, but only 173 at bats with an injury in the middle of his season.
Dustin Ackley .253, Michael Saunders .236, and Justin Smoak .238 did not help. It makes Kyle Seager‘s .260 average look like a Ty Cobb year. Kendrys Morales at .277 with 23 homers and 80 rbis had an expected major league season. His 23 homers were second to Ibanez with 29.
So Mariner fans you got what you wanted. I hope you enjoyed the home runs. Myself, I prefer runs scored, with higher batting averages, better on base percentages. When you get that you are in the playoff hunt.
If you enjoy baseball fiction based on a true story, My e-book “Loonies in the Dugout” can be found by clicking the link below.