In my post of April 16th I said there were two things wrong with the Mariners, one of which was their poor on base percentage. That was after nine games. They have now played 25 and that has not changed. They are hitting .238, 12th in the American League and their on base percentage is .292, ahead of only the Angels of Disneyland.
It does not matter how many home runs Nelson Cruz hits as solo homers aren’t as good as three-run shots. Austin Jackson who twisted his ankle Sunday has an on base percentage of .294, not what you want from a batter ahead of Cano and Cruz in the lineup. The M’s need a rally starter and Jackson is not the guy. Ruggiano has a .344 OBP and Seth Smith is .333. After that it drops to .308 from Richie Weeks and Brad Miller’s .301. The first three names are the new guys in town.
As bad as the M’s lack of hitting and OBP is, the pitching has gone sour. Their 4.35 ERA is 11th in the league. It took a hit in Houston when the M’s came in trailing by 4 games, got swept, and gave up 11 homers in four games. I think it was 11, though it felt like 20. Now they are 8 games out.
The problem with pre season predictions is that when you listen to the experts before the season they look at what was added and figure, as in the Mariner’s case, that they would improve with the additions of Cruz, Weeks, Smith, Ruggiano, and Happ. On paper that makes sense, but what everyone forgets is that what players did last season, how a team played last season, does not carry over to the next year.
The starting pitching may not be as good, as in the Mariners case. Two young pitchers James Paxton, and especially Taijuan Walker have struggled; Iwakuma has back problems. The bullpen has not been as untouchable as 2014. One can not expect the same numbers every year.
The exception is the OBP of the Mariners. At least that has been consistently bad.
The M’s must improve this month to keep close to the streaking Astros. If they keep falling, then June will see Seattle fans talking Seahawks.