g159 | swept outta OakTown

Mariners 2 | Athletics 5

Homer streak broken…
at just one shy of the club record of eighteen straight games with at least one

Most importantly, Erasmo Ramirez’s performance… 
6.1IP – 3H – 2R – 4BB – 6K
He gave up TWO runs in the 1st and the walk total wasn’t great (he had only given up 4 in his last 40 starting innings) but, he showed a lot of composure and maturity by holding the A’s scoreless for 5+ after that – allowing only TWO more hits: one in the 3rd and one in the 7th.
The future rotation is sparkling bright!

Ben Margot | AP

Some great DEE on both sides…
including a “Super Seager Spear” in the 3rd to prevent an XBH and after that, I lost track of the at ’em balls – on both sides.

But, a foreshadowing of things to come, came in the 7th…
Cook allowed a double to Brendan Ryan and a single to Trayvon Robinson and then proceeded to strike out the side 😦

Ben Margot | AP

And then, the A’s did what they have been doing since the All Star Break…
homered. A solo shot off Shawn Kelley and a TWO-run shot off Lucas Luetge
The lead the majors in homers in the second half (now with 110 – O’s are 2nd with 105)
On the flip side, Mariners pitchers have yielded the third fewest home runs in the AL

Ben Margot | AP

Guti left the game in the 3rd due to a groin strain 😦

Back home vs. the Halos (who were less than happy with the M’s today 😉
Felix Day tomorrow and I’ll be there!

g148 | rumblin’, bumblin’, stumblin’ vs da birds

Mariners 4 | Orioles 10The good news?
THREE doubles (Seager, Jaso, Montero)
THREE home runs! (Saunders, Thames and Jaso)

The bad news?

Starting with the starter…
Hector was absolutely pounded. After 54 pitches and SEVEN runs he was lifted with only ONE out in the 2nd inning. He old nemesis, the 0-2 homer, reared it’s ugly head again (he’s giving up 5 homers on 0-2 counts)

Then the first half of the bullpen…
Capps and Perez combined to give up another THREE runs in their 4.2 innings of work.

The second half BP ~ Kelley and Pryor ~ pitched well, combining for a scoreless THREE innings

Then there was the usually sparkling DEE that was anything but…
only ONE recorded error (Ryan) but it felt like they were missing plays all night long. It’s one thing for a young starter to have a horrible game (even Felix does now and then) but really discouraging to see the defense play like that. Hopefully, it was just a very temporary lapse.

It was especially frustrating to be sitting near fans who, by their comments, clearly were not as invested in the team as I. But, I just didn’t have the energy to explain to them that poor pitching and defense was an anomaly for this team. Now, their comments about the lack of decent batting average … I couldn’t argue with.

tweet from Shannon…

Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer)

#Mariners will be 1-7 in games after returning home from road trips w/no off day.


g146 | hey look, runs!

Mariners 8 | Rangers 6

The offense had a bit of a break out…
*they scored early – Saunders’ single in the first drove in Guti
*they scored often – Ackley lead-off homer in the 3rd and then a walk and four singles = 5 more runs
*they broke a tie – Smoak’s solo shot in the 8th
*they added on – Smoak’s single drove in Kawasaki (pinch running for Jaso) for an insurance run

Jason had to battle his entire outing…
but, despite walking the bases loaded in the 3rd, he allowed only one run through five. Then came the 6th – and good old Mike Napoli – a 3-run homer got the Rangers to within two and got after Jason got the next out, he would be lifted in favor of Shawn Kelley who would get the third out. Though Kelley and Luetge combined to give up the tying runs.

The rest of the pen was great…
Kinney, Furbush and Wilhelmsen went 2 innings giving up TWO hits and NO walks
Oh, and The Bartender simply recorded his 27th save by getting FOUR outs

Brendan Ryan with another WebGem 🙂

Seager and Saunders have been having a great road trip and great to see Smoak coming through vs. his old team.

A win tomorrow = a series win and a “season series” TIE (M’s currently 7-8 vs. Texas)

g140 | ground hog’s day

Mariners 1 | Athletics 6

The first 13 games between the M’s and the A’s not only had the M’s with a 7-6 advantage..
and a 7+ run differential (41-34)

What a difference a few weeks can make…
now, in the last two games, the run differential is +10 in favor of the A’s (2-12) and M’s have lost both

And, now that Kurt Suzuki is gone, George Kottaras has become the new Mariner killer…
3-run bomb last night, 2-run shot tonight

Iwakuma had be STELLAR in his 4 starts…
with a 3-0 record and only allowing ONE earned run in the 26 innings

But, all good things come to an end…
Kuma couldn’t even get through the 4th tonight and he allowed FIVE runs (FOUR earned)

Some great work in from the bullpen…
Capps and Kelley combined for 4.1 scoreless with SEVEN strikeouts
Pryor allowed a run but, wasn’t hit hard (singles and sac fly)
And that one earned run snapped a SEVENTEEN inning scoreless streak by the bp

O has to do better than SEVEN hits and ONE run…
exact same line as last night – granted, the A’s have one of the toughest staffs in the league

g117 | sunk by the streaking Rays

Mariners 1 | Rays 4

Beavan cruised, then sputtered majorly, then recovered remarkably and got through SIX.
Capps had a tad bit of a control issue (3 walks in one inning – yikes!) but didn’t allow a run.
Luetge and Kelley were also able to get through their respective outings unscathed.

They. just. could. not. string. together. hits.
(well, OK, two – Trayvon tripled and Eric drove him in)

Interesting irony…
Montero throws out Desmond Jennings (who had stolen 20 straight)
but allows a stolen base to – Jose Molina

Carp’s MRI apparently not clear…
Wedge said he couldn’t pronounce most of it – that’s never good and that he will likely go on the DL. They will be discussing the corresponding move. Smoak was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the Rainiers game tonight – so, we’ll see. Poor Mike, he had a bit of a skid on the road trip but he had been hitting well since returning from his last DL stint.

The M’s have faced the Rays 34 time since David Price came up and the M’s have never faced him.
Won’t in this series either.

Curto tweeted re: the Rainiers players (many of whom are exGenerals now) bus trip from Memphis to Nashville – apparently many of them shouted “You missed the exit!” when passing Pringle Park (home of the Jackson Generals)

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!

g87 | of unsupported aces, seagulls and wild pitches…

Mariners 1 | Athletics 2 (in 13)

Both starters pitched very well…
Felix went 7.2, Colon went 8.2
each only allowed ONE earned run and, obviously, neither received any run support

The A’s committed 2 errors and were even more inept with RISP (1/12 compared to 1/6)… 
but still were able to come away with the win when Weeks (who is as pesky as Figgins was when he was with the Halos) singled and Reddick (who the Red Sox are lamenting having traded) doubled in the 13th for the walk-off win.

Couple of close calls with the gulls…
for instance, Michael Saunders was able to get to 2B on a hit that was “lost in the gulls”
and, Ackley never spotted a pop-up amid the birds that Ichiro was able to snag at the last minute

One of the scariest things was Charlie’s WP while attempting an IBB…
especially since there was a guy (Weeks) on 2B who made it to 3B as Charlie was trying to throw 4-wide ones. What’s even more scary is that this isn’t the first time he has had a bit of a struggle to throw an intentional walk … I hope he’s not getting a version of the ‘yips’. Shawn Kelley came in to strike out the next batter for the third out but, looking back, seems it was a fore-shadowing of the game’s eventual outcome.

Break time …

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!