The Mariners are planning month long discounts for all fans coming to games. It is their way of saying thank you. Being the cynic I am, I see promotional activities to get more fans to Safeco where they will spend money. Which is okay. With the Seahawks and the NFL going strong in September the Mariners must compete for dollars.
The Mariners have always been kid oriented, so much in fact, kiddies appear to be the demographic the Mariners target. During Saturday and Sunday in September every kid 14 and younger will receive a voucher for a hot dog and soda. Truthfully it is a good deal. Not many kids 14 and under have an allowance large enough to buy food at Safeco. The parents will save though, and that is the idea.
Of course, as usual kids also get to run around the bases. College kids don’t during College Night. I doubt they want to anyway, they would rather mingle in the singles area, hoping to comingle after the game.
Nor do seniors get to go around the bases on Senior Day. It would be nice though if we could have wheel chair races around the bases.
Season ticket holders also get $10 credit for concessions or merchandise for each game they attend. But if you are not a kid, nor a season ticket holder, do not fret, there are still discounts at the team store for everybody. I am guessing it is on merchandise they are trying to get rid of, like Michael Morse jerseys, and other out of date items.
And there will be special experiences. You could win a chance to meet Edgar Martinez at his restaurant in left field, Edgars Cantina, or free wine tasting with chef Ethan Stowell. If you don’t win either of those, you can get seat upgrades.
The big night will be the 27th against Oakland. It is college night, team poster night, fireworks night, and a big give away. Some lucky fan, probably a kid, will win a Ford C-May Hybrid. I am sure, as in years past, there will be those winning autographed balls, jerseys, bats, rosin bags, anything, maybe a date with the Moose.
The downside to a fun month is that if you win nothing and the Mariners lose the game, you really come away empty handed. And that has been my experience. I win nothing, the Mariners lose, and I feel like the world is a tuxedo and I am a pair of brown shoes.
Sometimes fun is changing the channel. Go Hawks!
The Mariners are streaking, eight and counting, with the magical .500 only 4 streaking wins away. After that the Mariners will do what they did in 1995, keep winning, if not the divisions title, certainly a Wild Card spot.
Heck the Indians had runners at first and third, with on outs in the bottom of 9th Tuesday and they screwed it up with poor base running. The Mariners simply can do no wrong, they cannot lose.
Think I’m nuts? Consider what I am about to tell you.
They get down early, no problem. They have been wearing out pitchers, by taking them deep into counts; every batter in the lineup on the same page, all doing the same thing, getting walks and hits. Brad Miller, (American League Player of the Week) and Nick Franklin, one and two in the order, have been the catalyst. Even Justin Smoak , who had been averaging about one hit a week has been hitting; Michael Saunders woke from his Rip Van Winkle slumber. And soon Michael Morse, long gone on the disabled list, will be back after his rehab in Tacoma.
I know you think I am caught up in Mariner Fever-or would be if it existed-and you probably think that every team gets on a hot streak, that teams can go into slumps, and that the Mariners will soon go into a funk. You think I am getting carried away. But no. Here is an interesting fact that you may not be aware of.
I am sorry for the interruption. What you read above was written by an author we at MLB. Bloggers have had under surveillance. During a long, prolonged investigation, we have visual, and written evidence he visited an unnamed lab south of the border, the border between Washington and Oregon, and obtained a writer enhanced performance drug. This type of drug when used, causes the writer to exaggerate, use hyperbole, and go over the top in his writing performance.
The drug is a blend of forbidden Chinese herbs smuggled into Oregon and is often used in tea to mask its taste. The effects as you have read above indicates how it can warp a mind. We are not sorry he was unable to finish this blog. You are better off not reading any more of this delusional fantasy.
Baseball truly is a long season. Through Saturday, June 29, the Mariners played 81 games, the half way point of their voyage. When you compare the lineups of the opener on April 1 and of Saturday night, you see how long a season it is.
April 1st vs Oakland
1 Gutierrez, CF: Mariners were hoping his injury plagued days were behind him. They aren’t. When healthy is a solid starter, but he is never healthy. His Mariner future is bleak.
2 Saunders, RF: This was to be his break out year. He started season like an all-star, but now looks overmatched. Luckily for him, the Mariners have outfield shortage. Future questionable.
3 Morales DH: One of a handful who has performed to expectations. Played a lot at first because Smoak couldn’t hit and was then injured.
4 Michael Morse, LF: Started the season like he would hit 60 homers, but injuries have set him back. When healthy will be valuable.
5 Smoak, 1B: The less said the better.
6 Kyle Seager, 3B: In second full year is establishing himself has solid everyday player who should be with Seattle for many years. Among league leaders in doubles.
8 Dustin Ackley, 2B: followed .220 season with more of same. Seems lost at plate, sent to AAA Tacoma to play outfield. Injured thumb last night. Future is undecided.
9 Brendan Ryan, SS: Great fielder, terrible hitter, and lost job-for now-to Brad Miller, a rookie call up. Future bleak if Miller hits. Might be tradable for low level minor leaguer.
This lineup looked good on April 1st, and Felix and the boys shutout Oakland 2-0. They won the next game and were 2-0. How times have changed and losing brings changes. Here is the lineup for June 29.
1 Chavez, RF: solid fourth outfielder called up from Tacoma because of injury to Gutierrez. If Seattle is smart they will keep him for 2014. He has a lot of value.
3 Kyle Seager, 3B: See above
4 Kendrys Morales, DH; See above
5 Raul Ibanez, LF: Signed for third tour of duty with Mariners as back-up outfielder . Pressed into more duty than planned, leads Mariners with 18 homers. He hits, he plays.
6 Smoak, 1B: When the Mariners find a first baseman, he is gone.
7 Zunino, C: like Brad Miller, Zunino is a player of the future playing today. His job to take or lose.
8 Ackley, CF: See Above.
9 Ryan, SS:He played because Wedge likes to play everyone from time to time, but Nick Franklin is the future second baseman and Miller future shortstop.
As mentioned earlier the M’s need to quit shuffling rookies around, tell them this is your position and let them play everyday, bringing continuity and stability. Three rookies, Zunino, Miller, and Franklin, are now in the lineup. When players do not perform, others should be given the chance to contribute, to prove over time they can help the team win. There s nothing to lose but another game, and Mariner fans are accustomed to that. Through 81 games in 2012 they were 34-47 and in 2013 they are 35-46. We have improved on game. We shall see what the kids do in the next 81 games.
The Mariners have not given up on their young kids, with the possible exception of one, but there is a shift going on, a shift that may take place this year.
The Mariners must believe that Nick Franklin is the second baseman of the future because Dustin Ackley is in Tacoma getting playing time in left field and in center. Going into Sunday’s game he was batting .411 in 73 at bats with two home runs and eleven driven in. It has been rumored he will be recalled soon to play the outfield.
One player in Tacoma who may be called up is Brad Miller to play shortstop. Brendan Ryan is a gold glove shortstop without the gold glove, which has more to do with his lack of hitting. The Gold Glove voting is, for the most part, a popularity contest. But Ryan has raised his average dramatically. Before the trading deadline a team may be looking for a good fielding shortstop and Ryan would certainly be available. Miller began the season in Jackson, hitting .294 in 42 games with 6 homers, 25 RBIS, and an on base percentage of .379. In Tacoma he is batting .346 in 19 games with 4 homeruns, 23 RBIS, and a .430 on base percentage.
What all this means is that before the season is out the Mariners will have their 2014 lineup on the field. Zunino catching, with Franklin at second, Miller at short, Seager at third, and first base the question, as in “whos on first? Justin Smoak is on the disabled list, a good place for him to be. Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse could be splitting time between first and DH. If Jesus Montero is healthy and not suspended by baseball he could play first. But I am unconvinced the Mariners want him.
The outfield will have Ackley in left, or perhaps center if Morse stays in left. Endy Chavez is playing well, he should stay in center for now. Franklin Gutierrez for three seasons has spent more time with doctors doing rehab, than in the starting lineup. 2014 should see him elsewhere. Michael Saunders, whether in center or right is in a horrific slump that has seen his average drop from the .280’s to the .190’s. He can not continue to flounder if he wants to stay in Seattle in 2014.
With recent rookie call ups and shifting of other young players, the M’s are preparing for 2014; blending in new kids with the old kids. I like the idea. I would rather watch these kids develop than watch Milton Bradley, Wally Backman, Jeff Cirillo, and other veterans the Mariners picked up who washed ashore.
The Mariners made two good off season moves, adding Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales to bolster the offense. Coupled with the expected improvement of Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero, Seattle was expected to get better, around .500 or so. I thought with the addition of Houston the Mariners could win 88 games. So where are they one year later.
Last year through June 9th they were 27-34. This season they are 27-37. I don’t see improvement, do you?
The expected power bringing in the fences has helped. Seattle is 8th in the majors in home runs. But it has not translated to wins. In 2012 they hit ..234, this year .237. On base percentage was a pitiful .296 in 2012, still woeful this season at .304. Slugging also has slight increase from .369 to .382. And like 2012, the Mariners still can not hit with men in scoring position. Kendrys Morales being the exception with a .364 average. Raul Ibanez .300 and Brendan Ryan is hitting .296. The worst with men in scoring position are Kelley Shoppach at .054, Michael Saunders at .087 and Justin Smoak at .111.
See ball, hit ball!!!
You know things are bad when Ryan has more runs batted in than Montero, Ackley, Smoak, and Saunders. He gets paid for his glove, the other names get paid for scoring and driving in runs. At least Ryan is earning his salary. Montero and Ackley are back in triple A, with Montero being on DL as well as being investigated for using PEDS. Smoak is also on the DL, but if he were not injured he should be triple A. Saunders is in one horrific slump with no light at the end of his tunnel.
So it would appear that with offensive numbers about the same as last year, it makes sense their record is about the same. My hopes for an 88 win season is gone, so too is any thought of a .500 season. This offense is not making progress and is unlikely to do so. Manager Eric Wedge and GM Trader Jack preach patience with these young guys. I think if Eric and Jack were still with the Mariners-and they won’t be- when these young players reach 30, they would preach the same thing.
The only difference from last year is that attendance continues to decline. I wonder why?
Seattle started their most brutal month on the schedule as one of the hottest teams in baseball, having won three consecutive series. The tough stretch, however, is yet to come. Nearing the one quarter mark of the season it is time to look at Tacoma for potential replacements should injuries or trades make openings on the Mariners roster? Tacoma is in first place in their division with a 19-11 record going into Sunday’s game, so they have a good team.
It is only a matter of time before Justin Smoak is replaced at first base. Despite raising his average he has five rbi’s and one home run. He is now a singles hitter, not what you want from your first baseman. Rich Poythress is hitting .304 with 2 homers and 11 rbis in 79 at bats, but if the M’s make a change it may be Michael Morse at first. I say this because Stefan Romero, one of the best prospects the Mariners have, was recently called up to Tacoma, and though listed as second baseman, he is now learning left field, the position Morse is holding down. If he does well, at some point he may be manning left field with Morse at first base.
Nick Franklin, considered a top shortstop, prospect is playing second, but with Dustin Ackley raising his average over one hundred points of late, Franklin is stuck. That could mean he is auditioning for a potential trade in July. Carlos Triunfel, whom the Mariners like is playing short. Carlos is batting .319 with 3 homers and 16 rbis. If his defense can get better-he has six errors-Brendan Ryan is expendable. Certainly there will be a change at short, if not this year, then in 2014.
With Jesus Montero sitting more than playing with Seattle, the Mariners are waiting for Mike Zunino, the hottest player in the minors in 2012. He started out at Tacoma like Babe Ruth, but has seen fewer fastballs, getting off speed pitches, curves, sliders, and all sorts of wacky-dos. His average has plummeted to .200 He has to show he can make adjustments when he goes into a funk, and so far has yet to do that. So his spot in Seattle is on hold.
While the Mariners are strategically positioning minor league players should the need arise, the larger question is when does Trader Jack see the need arise. Stay tuned.
Michael Saunders celebrated his return from his rehab assignment by hitting a home run in the first inning against Baltimore Monday night. His bat and defense will help Seattle, but one must question why Carlos Peguero was send back to Tacoma.
The outfield is Michael Morse, Endy Chavez, and Saunders. When Gutierrez is healthy again, Chavez will either return to Tacoma or head to the bench. Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay are the reserves. The latter two, provide the Mariners with the magic ‘veteran leadership.’ But if the Mariners want the young guys to come through, then Peguero should be in Seattle as the fourth or fifth outfielder.
Peguero was 2 for 6 with a home run in his two games with Seattle. I don’t know what he could do if he played more often with Seattle, but he is sure to hit more than .161, which is what Raul Ibanez is hitting. I know Raul is a fan favorite, is good in the clubhouse, but he is 40 years old and is playing the outfield like a 40-year old. Age has caught up with Raul. He may have a flash or two, but over the long haul Peguero would help Seattle more than Ibanez.
In 2012 Peguero had 56 at bats with Seattle, hitting .179 with 2 homers. Even worse he struck out 50% of the time. In 2011 in 143 at bats, Carlos had 6 homers and hit .196. Not good numbers and the strikeouts are alarming. Still he hit over .161, has more power than Ibanez, and is slightly better defensively.
The sad thing is the choice is between a 40 year old on his last legs who can’t hit and a younger player who strikes out a lot. If Morse or Saunders go down for any length of time, the depth chart for outfielders is scary. At the moment Ibanez and Peguero are bodies, not players. Perhaps the Mariners need to send out an S.O.S.