Best Wishes to Brandon League and Steve Delabar!

Immediately after the game, the Mariners announced a couple of moves…

Steve Delabar made the short walk to the visitors clubhouse as the M’s traded him for (current) AAA outfielder Eric Thames.

Brandon League will be closer to his home in San Diego, as he was traded to the LA Dodgers for a couple of MiL’ers – RHP Logan Bawcom and OF Leon Landry.

More to come??

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g93 | runs scored again but, one too many given up

Mariners 7 | Royals 8

Another barrage of hits (14 each side) and extra base hits…
– M’s with FOUR:  a double, a(other!) triple and two homers (Seager and Wells)
– Royals with FIVE: three doubles and TWO homers, including one in the 9th to break the 7-7 tie

Kevin Millwood didn’t have his best night…
giving up SEVEN of the Royals EIGHT runs.

the bullpen was stellar…
Steve Delabar (back from AAA without even going there, as Charlie Furbush was placed on the DL w/ a strained left tricep), Oliver Perez and Josh Kinney combined for 2-2 scoreless innings – until that third pitch in the 9th inning, from from Josh to Billy Butler, that didn’t come back.

“He was the guy,” manager Eric Wedge said. “We had League and Luetge down. We were going to stay away from both those guys. Josh has been throwing the ball well in the short period of time he’s been up here and did a nice job getting out of the inning before.”It just looked like a pitch that was up. Butler’s a pretty good hitter and he got to it.”

Felix with the early start tomorrow!

As of this writing, they are still playing baseball in Tacoma…
Danny Hultzen went SIX and gave up ONE run on THREE hits with ONE walk and EIGHT strikeouts vs. Sacramento tonight. Little did everyone know, that wasn’t even the HALF of it – now tied 1-1  Go, R’s!!

g90 | wOe is O at hOme…

Mariners 0 | Rangers 4

Wedge mentioned in his post game that he felt progress was made, but luck was hard. There were several hard hit “at ’em” balls and only a couple strikeouts. Baby steps.

And, it’s not like they were up against some schlub.

but, riddle me this batman… what’s more impressive?
Felix shutting out the Rangers
-or-
Harrison shutting out the M’s

thought so 🙂

How ’bout that bullpen?!?
They held the Rangers scoreless for the ENTIRE series.
Today’s version: FOUR combined innings from Delebar, Furbush, League and Wilhelmsen

Iwakuma didn’t have a super stellar outing but, all things considered (like the fact that they are still stretching him out to start AND he was up against one of the toughest lineups in baseball) he did OK.

And now off to KC and Tampa Bay they go.
Here’s hoping their road warrior bats continue to be effective and their starting arms step it up.

All that said…
HAPPY 13th BIRTHDAY, SAFECO FIELD

Mariners Instagram

First Half Reflections…

A lot of the focus of the M’s first half has been on the ungodly home/road splits ~ and for good reason! Take a gander at these unbelievable differences – as a team…

at home .195 / .273 / .289 / .562
on the road .256 / .305 / .410 / .715

Believe it or not, the M’s scored the second most runs(220) IN THE MAJORS on the road and were at or above average in most major offensive categories (except OBP).

But, at home, it was the opposite (only worse – the FEWEST runs in the majors).
Something about that “home cooking” that just didn’t resonate – here are a couple of real extremes

at the plate

Michael Saunders
home .189 / .263 / .264 / .527
road .299 / .358 / .517 / .875

Kyle Seager
home .157 / .265 / .261 / ,526
road /313 / .343 / .548 / .891

As for the starting pitching, definitely not as strong as in previous years. They posted just a smidgen better (4.35) than AL average (4.39) in ERA and a whole lot worse (22) than AL average (32) in wins.

on the mound

Felix had a ‘blip’ but recovered well and was the lone Mariner representative at the All Star Game in Kasas City (though he didn’t pitch)

Felix and Jason Vargas both recorded 11 quality starts and each have  a winning record (6-5 and 8-7 respectively)

Kevin Millwood suffered with a groin injury but, despite his record, has pitched very well when healthy.

Blake Beavan and Hector Noesi have both been sent to AAA Tacoma (Blake in early June, Hector in early July) as they both struggled mightily.

Erasmo Ramirez has been inconsistent to say the least. He started the year in the pen and was so-so but was sent down to build starting strength and has had mixed results since coming back up in mid-June and then suffered an elbow injury (not serious).
Hisahi Iwakuma only had one start ( a win vs. BAL) but will likely be used more to start the half (due to Hector’s demotion and Erasmo’s injury)

And the surprise of the first half (both good and bad) had to be the Bullpen!
Let’s get the bad out of the way. Brandon League started out great – didn’t allow an earned run till April 19th but, after that was the epitome of inconsistency (not a good quality in a ballplayer, especially a closer) and he lost his closing role toward the end of May. Originally, Wedge didn’t name a closer (‘t was going to be the preverbal “closer by committee”) but, it didn’t take long for one of the guys to take the bull (pen) by the horns…

in the ‘pen
Since being installed as closer, Tom Wilhemsen (aka: The Bartender) was 2-0 with 7 saves and hadn’t given up a run … until the last game before the break in Oakland where he gave up 2 and blew his first save (but, hey, it happens, even to Mariano).
The lefties have been a nice surprise. Lucas Luetge and Charlie Furbush have really contributed nicely. Lucas didn’t give up a run until well into June and Charlie posted the third longest scoreless streak (23 innings) in Mariners history

Oliver Perez, seldom used, was pretty effective until that last series in Oakland when he gave up three runs in two games.

Up and down/ In and out were the rest…
Shawn Kelley had a slow start back from rehab but, has pitched well lately – hasn’t given up a run since June 20th.  Steve Delabar has already been sent down and called back and hasn’t been real reliable. Stephen Pryor, called up in early June, was pitching well but, only appeared in six games before suffering a groin strain (began a rehab stint at the ASB). George Sherrill wasn’t right from the start and we soon found out why – he’s was out for the season on April 9th and underwent Tommy John surgery.

Now THIS is where the Mariners shone brightly ~ their defense was OUTSTANDING. 

gold glove D

Brendon Ryan was the standout. While punchless with the bat he is an absolute wizard with the glove – web gem after web gem. The rest of the infield has been really good – at one point, Justin Smoak had a nice errorless streak going and the biggest surprise defensively was Kyle Seager at the hot corner.

As for the outfield, Michael Saunders did a bang up job filling in for Guti in CF,Casper Wells has really done well in his limited chances in LF (really strong, accurate arm) and Ichiro, clearly not what he used to be but seems he’s performing a bit better defensively than he was last season.

Behind the plate – definitely an area of opportunity. Miguel Olivo still has his usual passed ball issues and Jesus Montero clearly has a lot of learning to do (though certainly not the disaster that many predicted) but he does have the “no-hitter” under his belt – a great accomplishment!

Really hard to find stars among this young group who is dying for some veteran leadership (IMHO). The hitters show flashes of brilliance (especially on the road) but can’t seem to bring it with any consistency. Their travel schedule has been brutal – from the Japan trip and back to playing on the road a good 5 – 10 more times than most teams for a good majority of the first half. Not an excuse but, a definite contributor.

first half stars
I would probably give the first half star to a couple of the pitchers…
Felix, of course but, not for the usual reason. He had a period of adversity and the fact that he was able to recognize the issue and fix it shows his maturity and character.

Wilhelmsen, Luetge and Furbush deserve at least an honorable mention – all with ERAs under three (Lucas under 2!) and as many (or more!) strikeouts as innings pitched.

Saunders and Seager deserve some recognition. Even though they both have been abysmal at home – Saunders has definitely found something in his new approach and Seager, despite his low BA, actually leads the majors in RBI with 2 outs and RISP (27)

oh, super kudos to John “Mr. Clutch” Jaso … 7 game winning RBI’s!

g82 | wait, what? M’s score runs … at home?!?

Mariners 6 | Orioles 3

Lots of interesting, fun stuff tonight!

Hisashi Iwakuma, made his major league starting debut…
a decent outing, though he surly would like one pitch back – that would be the one to Chris Davis that ended up in the seats and enabled three runs to score. Iwakuma gave up those three runs as well as three walks but he also struck out four and threw 71 pitches (a good amount, considering his highest pitch count in long relief was 65)

Otto Greule, Jr | Getty Images

* Frst time ever that a major league starting lineup included THREE Japanese players

Ben VanHouten | Seattle Mariners

The old adage of “hitting is contagious” came to fruition tonight…
Seager was the lone sad-sac – he and Ichiro were the only ones without at least one hit but, Ichiro walked and scored a run.

* Figgy still in the lineup – and, surprisingly, not sucking! He’s made some nice defensive plays AND contributed, again, with the bat (Saunders still recovering from the flu)

Truly a little bit of everything tonight…
-the first run was text book get ’em ON (Figgy single) get ’em OVER (Kawasaki bunt) get ’em ON (Ryan single)

Elaine Thompson | AP Photo

-the next three runs came in one fell swoop – a bases-clearing, 2-out double for Casper Wells
-the last two runs were of the back-to-back JACK variety, courtesy Olivo and Ackley

Elaine Thompson | AP Photo

Hope ’bout that ‘pen?!?
FOUR innings of HITLESS, SCORELESS relief with SIX strikeouts – thank you…
-Mr. Delebar ~ earned the win in his first appearance back from AAA Tacoma
-Mr. Kelley ~ earned the hold
-Mr. Wilhelmsen ~ earned his SEVENTH save

Felix Day tomorrow!

g51 | arlington argh

Mariners 2 | Rangers 4

Another close one vs. the Rangers.

Millwood was effective, though not very efficient…
took him 100 pitches to get through FIVE innings but, he only gave up ONE run – a solo shot to Cruz

Delabar’s 5+ scoreless streak ended with a 3-run shot to Napoli…
thus becoming the leader in homers given up by a reliever

Ryan continued his stellar field play and added an RBI triple…
unfortunately, Brendan (and 3B coach Datz) were a bit to confident that it could be stretched into an inside-the-parker (granted, the Rangers had to execute a perfect relay – and they did)

Ricky Yeatts | Getty Images

Montero singled to RIGHT, twice!
once driving in the game’s first run
he also threw out a would-be base-stealer
but wasn’t very happy after popping up in the 8th

Brandon Wade | AP

gotta score more than two runs when in Arlington but, baby steps…
at least there was no heartbreak at the end
but, there was heart and hustle
and hey – League had a clean inning