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??

g103 | old man winner…

Keepin’ ’em in it…
It took him 106 pitches to get through 6+ but Kevin did what he’s been doing with regularity of late (with the exception of his last start against the Royals) – kept them in it. He also did something he hasn’t done with regularity all season – earn the victory.

Bats a triple short of the cycle in the third…
Nice to see a bit of a crooked number posted in an inning – and with a bit of a power display: Jesus mashed his 10th homer, Kyle followed up with a double and was singled in by Miggy.

Elaine Thompson | AP Photo

Bullpen bends but doesn’t break…

  • League, who has been pitching really well for the past six weeks or so, allowed a run in the 8th (on a double and a triple). Thankfully, the bats were able to rally with a little small ball and got the run back via a couple of walks, a steal, a sac-bunt and a sac-fly to keep the lead at two heading into the 9th.
  • “Closing time” got a bit interesting when the Bartender, after getting two quick outs, allowed a run on a single and a triple but, was able to get the third out via a ground out.

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
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…

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!

g80 | 9th on Thursday, 11th on Saturday

Mariners 3 | Red Sox 2

wow – what a difference a day makes!

Erasmo was cruising…
no hits and 2 strikeouts in through 2-2, but then he had to come out of the game after leaping to catch a liner and throwing to first for the out.

Enter Charlie Furbush…
and then
Lucas Luetge
and then
Brandon League
and then
Oliver Perez
and then
Tom Wilhelmsen
and then
Shawn Kelley

EIGHT and ONE-THIRD innings of relief that allowed only ONE earned run

and the hitting stars? 
the usual … John Jaso doubled in the 6th score both Ichiro (on via hit) and Casper (on via walk)
the UNusual … Dustin Ackley reached on a single in the 11th and then got to 3B via a single by Miguel Olivo and then SCORED via a sac-fly by Chone Figgins!!!

Ted S. Warren | AP Photo


And now, the chance to take the series!

g77 | another series loss

Mariners 1 | Athletics 2

The good news…
M’s pitchers struck out another SEVEN A’s and only allowed TWO hits (even League was great!)

The bad news…
those TWO hits were both solo homers and Millwood tweaked his groin (again) and the M’s only had TWO more hits than the A’s and ONE less run

Just your typical Safeco Feild series…
with a TOTAL of NINE runs scored in the series (yes – that’s the COMBINED run total for both teams) and all THREE games decided by ONE run.

While it’s good to see the pitching come back around…
but the bats have to figure things out, they are now 8-12 in one-run games (11 at home)

Wedge made no bones about it

“They haven’t been making any excuses, but we’ve got to do a better job of making adjustments,” Wedge said. “Not just from game to game, but pitch to pitch. Young players have got to recognize what they’re doing to get them out and how they’re pitching them early, middle and late, and make the according adjustment.
“And veterans need to be doing more.”

Tomorrow, something different…
While things will likely be pretty lively at The Safe on Thursday night, with King’s Court rocking as Felix takes the mound against the Red Sox, I’ve decided to head south to T-town to take in a once in a lifetime pitching matchup at Cheney Stadium. The Mariners 2011 first round draft pick, Danny Hultzen, will be making his home starting debut for the Rainiers and opposing him … none other than Jamie Moyer! (picked up yesterday by the Toronto Blue Jays – whose AAA club is the Las Vegas 51’s)

Should be fun (but, you know I’ll have one eye on my AtBat app keeping tabs on things up north).

g76 | K K K K K K K K K K again!

Mariners 3 | Athletics 2

back-to-back double-digit strikeouts for the starters for the first time since August of 1999 (Abbott and Garcia) way to go, Jason – nice bounce back.

League was the only M’s pitcher who was less than stellar (allowed a couple of singles, and an inherited runner to score before recording the final out of the 7th).

Furbush, despite walking two (one intentionally) ending up striking out the side in the 8th and Wilhelmsen did his typical closing time thing: ground out, fly out, strike out.

Good to see Travis Blackley back in the league, even though it was with the opposition…
he held the M’s to five hits and two runs in seven innings. But then, in the 8th, Wells singled and stole second which allowed him to score when Ryan (after a great AB) singled.

Rubber game early!

g73 | finally, they beat the Friars!

Mariners 5 | Padres 1

Felix was Felix… 
7IP – 6H – 1ER – 1BB – 10K

and then some…
helping his own cause by driving in TWO of the M’s FIVE runs himself by hitting ONE of the only TWO extra base hits – a 2-run double (the other was a solo shot by Michael Saunders)

Getty Images

Granted, with as many chances as the O gave themselves…
SIX walks to go along with the SEVEN hits ~ they should have scored more than FIVE runs (although there were at least THREE fly-outs that would have been homer in most parks). But hey, a win is a win is a win ~ and glad Felix got this very well-deserved one.

Good to see LLW with more scoreless relief…
Luetge, League and Wilhelmsen combined for TWO innings giving up only THREE hits and striking out THREE

Rubber match tomorrow…

g70 | THERE’s our road warriors!

Mariners 12 | Diamondbacks 9

Yowsa ~ a little bit of everything in this one that went 10!

We’ll get it over with and start with the bad…
Erasmo didn’t fair much, if any, better in his second ML start than his first – he went one less inning (4) gave up one less run (4) allowed same amount of walks (1) and struck out two more (5)

Long relief failed…
Iwakuma had his roughest outing since late May

The back end of the BP faired much better…
though Luetge now has an ERA – he gave up his first run of the season.
League and Furbush and Wilhelmsen were great – NO hits and SEVEN strikeouts between ’em!

The bats seemed to have finally remembered they were on the road…
THREE homers – Justin got it started in the 2nd with a solo shot and then Seager and Ryan added a PAIR of 3-run bombs in the 5th!
There was also a good share of singles for RBI, a couple of steals and a sac-fly

Ichiro marks a milestone …
2500th hit of his ML career (4th fastest to that total behind Al Simmons, Ty Cobb and George Sissler)
and then he goes out and hits three more for four total plus two runs and two rbi

g68 | frolicking on Father’s Day!

Mariners 2 | Giants 1

Definitely one of the best games all season!

Despite a little issue in the first inning (which had him throwing so many pitches, I wasn’t sure he would make it through FIVE, let alone SEVEN) Felix appears to be back on track…
7 IP – 7H – 1ER – 1BB – 7K … that’s the type of Felix line we are used to!

Once again, the ‘pen came through…
though they showed their “bend but don’t break” side as opposed to their “lock-down” version.
~ League gave up a couple of hits but got through 8th unscathed thanks, in part, to a great play by Smoak on a Sanchez ground out.
~ In the 9th, Wilhelmsen loaded the bases (with one out) on a single and back-to-back walks but then got Cabrera to strike out and the pinch hitter, Schierholtz, to ground out to … Smoak.

And, we still had a tie, until Justin (having already helped with the glove) came through with the bat…
Seager and Montero hit back-to-back singles and were replaced by pinch runners Figgins and Kawasaki respectively. Saunders muffed a bunt and Figgy was thrown out at 3B and then, Justin came up with the hit that would garner him a shaving cream pie…

walk-off VIDEO

Awesome! And, even better than I got to see it all in person … with my dad!
Happy Father’s Day!!!

At least the homestand from hell ended on a good note…
whodathunk the M’s would be swept by the Pads and take the series from the Giants?

Oh, and how sweet is this?!?


and his reaction …

M’s twitpic