The Seattle Mariners were unable to achieve immortality by setting a modern-day record for consecutive losses, having to settle with a franchise record of 17. I don’t think they will mind.
The M’s set a season high of 17 hits ending the 17 game skid in a 9-2 win over the Yankees in New York and now come home to play Tampa Bay Friday.
Every Mariner had a hit except Justin Smoak, disproving the notion that where there is smoke there is fire; sometimes it is just ashes. Even Jack Cust had a single sandwiched among three strike outs. While Ichiro had four hits it was the young guys, Dustin Ackley 3-5, 3 rbis and Mike Carp 4-5, 4 rbis who carried the load as Admiral Felix gets the win and is now 3-0 in the new Yankee Stadium.
This outburst comes the day after getting one hit in losing to the Yankees Tuesday night.
While it is good to celebrate the win, it is also a sad day for the Mariner family as Rick “the peanut guy” Kaminsky, who was the best peanut vendor in baseball, tossing bags of peanuts to fans behind his back with impeccable precision since the M’s came into existence in 197,7 died at age 67 of a brain aneurysm.
Friday night the Mariners are starting Eric Bedard fresh off the DL. Rumors fly that he is being showcased for a trade to a contender. With Blake Beavan showing he is ready to step and replace him in the rotation, it is likely that this will be Bedard’s last start in a Mariner uniform.
Whiles Boston as been mentioned as a destination, where he will go is only speculation, and the Mariners have done a good job preventing leaks that lead to rumors. Any team that is a contender is a possibility. It is doubtful the Mariners will get much in return because Bedard will be a free agent after the season and he has been injured each of his years in Seattle. But something is better than nothing.
The Mariners are bailing water to no avail as the good ship they had been sailing on is sinking. The three-day All-star break did nothing to wake up their bats as they were shutout on five hits to the gun slinging Rangers.
It is bad enough the Mariners have lost six in a row, but they have all been to division rivals, the teams they need to beat. They have also lost 10 of the last 14.
Just when the summer is heating up (in theory), just when families and kids have time for baseball games, the good ship Mariner may not stay afloat and the brass may be worried the fans will be standing on the beach waving bye-bye. Afterall it was Friday night against the first place Rangers and 25, 977 showed up for a summer game. It should have been a near sell-out.
Are the Mariners done?
They are stuck in third, 8.5 games behind Texas and 7 behind the second place Angels. Their skid has put them only 4 ahead of the last place A’s. If they win three straight from Texas they still are in the race, but that is unlikely to happen.
So what is next? After the crying I mean.
They can still make a trade or two that would improve the team for next season. Other than that they need to continue playing the kids like Ackley, Seager, Halman, Peguero, and anyone else they believe is their future. They need playing time to improve, to adjust, to gain experience.
Additionally, Jack Cust, the slugger with three home runs should be released; Chone Figgins should be traded for a bucket of balls; and Jack Wilson, an excellent shortstop who can play second, but is odd man out with Ackley at second base, still has trade value and is likely to be traded.
There is no crying in baseball
I have no doubt Trader Jack will do something if he can, but it is probably too late to make any changes that will improve the club enough for them to get back in the race this year.
Kyle Seager has been promoted to Seattle and most likely will get playing time at third. Chone Figgins is hitting .183 and making frequent errors in the field.
Kyle looks happy to be a Mariner
If Seager doe swell Figgins may walk the plank. Kyle was a teammate of Dustin Ackley at North Carolina and both were drafted in 2009; Ackley in the first round, Seager in the third.
At Double A Jackson he hit .312 with 25 doubles, 4 homers and 37 rbi’s. He was promoted to Tacoma and in 12 games hit .455 with 2 homers, 4 doubles, and 12 RBIS.
The Mariners could have promoted Alex Liddi, but they may feel Seager is another piece of the future. Ackley at second; Seager at third; Peguero on left, and Halman in center. Or Peguero at DH and Halman in left.
Gutierrez missed spring training with mystery stomach problems. The ailment was resolved and he has had enough time to get back in the swing of things. But the swing is missing. I love the way he plays, but a .180 batting average is only good for bowling-and even that is problematic. If the team was hitting .265 or so Seattle could get by, but with the worst team hitting in baseball, they need bat’s with hits in those swings. And Halman is hitting over .300.
He may be struggling with the bat, but not with his glove
Fortunately Jack Cust has been sitting. Again. The last time he got back in the lineup he had two hits and then went back to striking out. In his last ten games, 23 at bats and 13 strikeouts. There are 108 red stitches on a baseball. One would think Cust could hit one of those stitches.
The odd man with Seager’s arrival is sadly Jose Yepez, who was here for insurance for Bard and Olivo. The thirty year old did not get an at bat, but at good seats for ten days. He was designated for assignment, so if no other team is interested he could return to Tacoma.
In the AL West anyone has the chance to win the division. Unless a trade is made, the kids may carry the team. The way Ackley, Pineda, and Halman have played. as well as Peguero at times, Seager may fit in quite well.
Okay the Mariners lost another game to the Braves, dropping two games under .500. So we will bypass all that went wrong.
What is of interest is the return of Jack Cust to the lineup after sitting down to ride the pines on the deck of the good ship Mariner. He had gone 3 for his last 30, looking totally lost at the plate before returning tonight. He had a double and homer in his first two at bats.
Cust looking at home plate, “So this is what it looks like.”
Eric Wedge seems to know when to sit players and when to bring them back. He sat Ichiro for one game and then Ichiro came back hotter than Michelle Bachman in Waterloo, Iowa.
Now Cust comes back strong-at least for one game.
That brings up Chone Figgins who is sitting because a .186 batting average is as cold as President Obama in Waterloo, Iowa. When he comes back is anyones guess. Kennedy will play third for now, playing four or five games a week. So it has been said.
Alex Liddi is waiting in the wings. he is hitting .260 with 14 homers in Tacoma. If he arrives in Seattle he will be the first Italian born player in the Majors since 1953 and Reno Bertoia of Detroit.
I will always remember Reno because one year it seemed every pack of bubble gum cards I bought had Reno Bertioa. I think I had every Bertoia card on the West Coast.
The Bertoia card I got was from a different year with red background.
But he is unlikely to come up because some one will have to move down. Maybe Carp, but it seems the Mariners are unlikely to make any big moves soon. They have already brought up Peguero, Carp, and Halman. And Kennedy is playing the position well. But stay tuned for what could transpire in July.
The Mariners team batting average dropped down even more, checking in at .227 prior to Tuesday nights game. Trader Jack will be doing something, whether it be Liddi or a trade, but the hitting needs a spark from somebody.
The Mariners had to go extra innings to beat Chicago, but Miquel Olivo hit a two run double in the tenth, then later scored on a Franklin Gutierrez suicide squeeze, to give the Mariners a 7-4 win, stopping a nine game losing streak in Chicago. The last win came in 2009.
Olivo homered in the 8th giving Seattle a 4-2 lead, but Carlos Quentin hit a two run homer off Jamey Wright in the bottom off the inning to tie it up. The good ship Mariner now sails to Detroit.
Meanwhile I am scaring myself.
Last week I saw that Greg Halman came off the DL in Tacoma. With Michael Saunders hitting in the .160’s I thought Greg might get a week or so to get his swing back, but he got a call-up after a few days. Then I wondered if the Mariner brain trust would call up Mike Carp, batting .348 with 19 homers and 58 RBI’s. He plays first, but I thought he could DH and Jack Cust who has not done much would get released.
Mr. Carp did get the call, but Mike Wilson, another recent call-up but little used, was sent down. Cust will be riding the bench for the most part. Carp will get the opportunity to be the full-time DH. If he hits-and continues to hit-Cust will be sitting a lot.
So it appears the Mariner brass is anticipating my every move.
Now if it were up to me, my next move would be to bring up second baseman Dustin Ackley. Eric Wedge has been using Jack Wilson, Luis Rodriquez, and Adam Kennedy and I am thinking if that does happen, then Luis Rodriquez will be odd man out.
I am not saying this will happen soon, but it will and should happen.
And what to do about Chone Figgins? He is hitting as often as a sunny day during a Seattle December. Not much help in Tacoma, unless they want to bring up Alex Liddi. I don’t think the Mariners are willing to do that. Not yet anyway.
All in all the new look Mariners are fun to watch, being in nearly every game with strong pitching and clutch hitting.
Tame those Tigers
Adam Kennedy’s bases loaded single against Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the 12th got the Mariners a 5-4 win over the Yankees, moving the M’s into second place at 26-25 and beating the mighty Rivera for the third time in 56 appearances. Kennedy had been 1 for 12 against Rivera.
Security was a bit lax at Safeco Field Saturday night. There were three separate incidents of fans running onto the field, the last one being a streaker, reflecting, perhaps, the Mariners recent streak of winning; but the streaker had nothing on the Mariners who wore uniforms during their streak. He did get more laughs than the Mariners however.
It was a tight contest with Cano homering in the second and Teixeira in the third.
Olivo had an rbi ground out in the second, beating out a relay throw that could have ended the inning on double play. He also doubled in two runs in the fourth and scored the M’s fourth run on a Ryan single.
Granderson had a two out triple in the seventh to tie game 4-4.
Admiral Felix, like Pineda Friday night, struggled with his control, pitching seven innings and tying a career high with 128 pitches, walking five and striking out four. He gave up four runs leaving with the score 4-4.
The brooms will be out on Sunday to see if Jason Vargas and the M’s can beat C.C. Sabathia and the Bombers. Sail on Sailors!
Jack Cust watch: 1st homer at 164 plate appearances; second homer pending at 19.
Having the weekend off against San Diego must have recharged the bat of Jack Cust for he homered in his first at bat in Minnesota. His first Mariner homer came in his 164th plate appearance. The Watch for number two is at five.
Another watch concerns Jeff Gray claimed on waivers from Chicago who has yet to pitch for Seattle. It has been 10 days since he joined the team and he is still waiting. The starting pitching has been so strong that a mid reliever has not been needed. He must love his new job. Getting paid to not work is a wonderful thing.
The Mariners have won six straight and seven of ten and are now poised to get to .500 with a win tonight against the Twins. They are at that pressure filled mark of one game below .500 at 23-24. As the saying goes, get to .500 before you can think of getting to the playoffs-unless of course you are the Seahawks. The Mariners are 1.5 games from first place and have risen to third place, Oakland sinking to the basement, three games out.
While the M’s have been winning low scoring games of late, they gave up seven runs and still won the game in Minnesota, 8-7. It was their first extra innings win of the year.
So the team remains on a roll. But they have been the poster child for streaky teams, going on a winning binge, then purging itself with a losing binge.
.500 is a big step for these guys and it is up to Doug Fister to pitch well tonight.