Woot!

KEVIN P. CASEY/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

So I reported yesterday that Ichiro was supposed to be out of the series opener against Baltimore due to the injury he sustained during Sunday’s loss to Detroit.  Imagine my amazement at 7:10 yesterday evening when ole number 51 strolls into the batters box and leads the game off with a double and later steals thir dto give the Mariners an early 1 nothing lead.  It’s true I was amazed.  Shows a lot of heart (or foolhardiness if this turns out to be an issue exacerbated by playing) to bounce back and go 2 for 3 when you are supposed to be out.  Good on ya!

Horatio Ramirez also made his return to the M’s last night pitching a gem in what the local sports radio guys call making good use of location and opponent.  Ramirez is lights out at home (undefeated with a sub 3 ERA) but Weaver-esque on the road (ERA over 13).  So facing a punchless Oriole offense (no Tejada, no Melvin Mora) at Safeco is a good formula for success if you happen to be good at home against AAA hitting.  I think we need to initiate a rotation within the rotation for that 5th spot.  Let Ramirez pitch at home but have someone more effective pitch his road starts, don’t know who that would be quite yet but that’s why I’m not on the Mariner payroll. 

KEVIN P. CASEY/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

I’m finally getting my wish.  On the 29th the M’s are having a Turn Back the Clock Night with the team fielding the Trident uniforms from the inagural 1977 season.  I know it’s not my multi-game all uniform showcase featuring era-relevant former players but I am glad that the team is doing something to acknowledge that the franchise did in fact exist before 1995 (though it would be hard to find many other fans that would). 

Jose Guillen is having an outstanding month of July.  Crazy is hitting over .440 for the month and is hitting over .400 against left handed pitching coming into last nights game.  I made a prediciton early on that if he could stay healthy and get over his offseason surgery that he could be a factor and I am very glad that it was able to come to fruition.  His throwing arm also looks to be back and healthy.  If we are to make a real push for the postseason we need his bat (since Sexson is apparently carrying his for decoration). 

It looks like it will be time for me to issue some more Trident awards soon.  With The work of the aforementioned Crazy Jose, others (J.J., Ichiro, "34") are in need of the props that only a ninja like myself could provide.  No that the weather is cooling down I may be able to get some extra writing done. We’ll see.

Tonight is game 2 vs the Orioles, it’ll be Felix "34" Hernandez vs. Jeremy Guthrie

Standings:  AL West, 2.5 GB Californiheim. Wild Card, 1 GB Cleveland.

Ichiro Injur Update and Pitching Issues

For those out of the loop recently re-signed center fielder Ichiro was hit by a Justin Verlander fastball during the 5th inning of yesterday’s 11-7 loss to Detroit.  Per the ESPN.com he is going to be day-to-day and miss at least today’s game against the Orioles.  This is what I call bad times. 

JIM BRYANT/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Jeff Weaver failed to make it out of the fifth for the first time since his return from the "DL".  Must’ve know I was posting again and want me to get bored with all of this consistency and victory.  Nothing lulls a fan to sleep like a pennant chase.  I think it may be time to send Brandon Morrow back to the minors to polish up his skills.  He’s given up runs in less than 3 innings per appearance in 3 of his 4 July appearances and gave up multiple runs twice in June. Worse off he’s starting walk guys (4 BB in 2 IP on 6/11 and he had 15 walks to only 9 k’s in June).  It’s getting pretty obvious that he can’t locate his offspeed pitches with regularity so he tries to muscle the fastball over to get outs.  Problem is when  the hitters know you can’t locate a certain pitch they will sit on the fastball and either take the walk from 4 missed curveballs or launch the fastball into the stratosphere.  I think dude needs to to Double AA for a while and get his offspeed pitches tight so he can ge tback to being an effective major league pitcher. 

Horatio Ramirez comes off of the DL tonight to start against the Orioles.  It is usually better to start a comeback against one of the less successful clubs and he has been lights out at Safeco.  I expect a halfway decent start from him (for once). Pennant Fever people, catch it!

Standings:  AL West, 3 GB Californiheim.  Wild Card, 2 GB Cleveland. 

If I have the energy I will finish yesterday’s post and get it up later this evening.   

A Whirlwind of Activity

JEFF GROSS/GETTY IMAGES

********* did I pick the wrong month to be sidelined with bad health huh?  I went from some of the worst allergy attacks of my life to a respiratory infection that left me bedridden and popping all kids of cillin and finally a heat wave that made it impossible to stay indoors and write. 

Well that I can (sort of) breathe and the temps have dropped below ninety looks like I can try to get back in the game. 
If you were one of the 4 others watching the AAA all-star game this Wednesday you would have seen all kinds of Mariner and better yet Tacoma representation.  Super prospect Adam Jones started the game in center and got a double and run scored and “our rotation su*ks and yet somehow this guy is still in the minors” award winner Justin Lehr was the starting pitcher for the PCL.  Yeah I know he got roughed up by the beefcakes from the IL but that doesn’t tarnish his numbers (7-1, 3.78) especially in the hitter friendly PCL. It’s even more troublesome that while he continues to produce less effective but younger guys like Jake Woods (3-6, 7.80 AAA) and Ryan “Homer” Feirabend (2-3, 4.25) continue to log major league innings this season and see the obviously not ready Feirabend go near the team leader for homeruns allowed and Weavering two games badly (4 or more earned runs in the first two innings).  If the M’s want to keep winning games down the stretch shouldn’t the players that give the team the best chance to win be on the field?  I’d think so, give Lehr a shot and let him prove me wrong and I’ll kindly shut up about it. 
Speaking of all-stars did you think you were getting through this post Ichiro-free?  Sorry guys can’t help but swing from the guy’s nuts just a little bit for his historic performance at the Mid-Summer Classic.  3 for 3 with the first inside-the-park home run in All-Star game history and the first All-Star game MVP in 15 years (Junior back in ’92) coupled with the 5 year 100 million dollar deal that is supposed to be announced sometime today.  Normally I would be up in arms if my team were to offer a 5 ear deal for that much scribble to a 31 year old outfielder but the man has earned it.  7 straight all-star appearances, 2001 Rookie of the Year and an MVP award with no signs of reduced production.  At this rate he will likely be the third Mariner to get hall of fame recognition with Griffey and Edgar (Randy Johnson will probably go in as a D-Back and who knows what cap A-Rod will wear). 
Speaking of Junior; I was able to attend the second of the three games of the much ballyhooed Reds series that was punctuated with much love for the former Mariner centerfielder.  It was an interesting experience, after getting into an argument with an angry grandpa that thought we were stealing his seats, to the mouthbreather behind me that had to boo as loud as he possibly could to drinking Heineken from a camel-bak (thanks Zoe!) but the best part was watching Wash level the Cincinnati lineup under a beautiful summer sun.  Oh yeah and we won (a day after Homer Fierabend led the way to an embarrassing 16-1 loss against baseball’s worst team, woot!).   
So after his “DL stint” Jeff Weaver has been petty effective against NL cellar dwellers and the punchless A’s so I am going to address it before I start getting the “Josh why don’t you let up on him, look how good he’s doing” stuff from Trident Nation.  The way I see it, homeboy lost six so he owes me..no owes all of us at least 6. When he pitches his way back to .500 I’ll call off the hounds. 
Finally I want to address the abrupt and shocking departure of Mike Hargrove and the subsequent promotion of bench coach John McLaren.  I was as stunned as the rest of the Nation when I heard that Grover was stepping down during an 8 game win streak and a revitalized push for the pennant.  On the plus side Hargrove was regarded as one of the worst tactical managers on the game by a number of sports journalists I’ve read, and from what I’ve heard Johnny Mac has a much better rapport with the players.  Some even say that Ichiro came to his new deal because Hargrove left; now that is just hearsay so I wouldn’t make much of it.  On the down side McLaren has never managed at the big league level before and there is no way to measure if there will be psychological repercussions on the players, especially the younger guys, from a mid season change like this.  Either way it should be a fun second half.
Standings:  AL West: 2 games behind the Angels. Wild Card:  1 games behind the Indians

Mistake by the lake…almost

Does anyone else notice the odd comfortable feeling that comes when your team does well?  It’s nice for reasons that I can’t explain with my limited vocabulary.  As of this morning the Mariners are 8 games over .500, winners of 15 of their last 20, scoring over 4 runs a game and within 2 games of the wild card. If you would have told this back when I started this blog I probably would given myself a stroke from laughing so hard but here we are. 

Man last night was a doozer wasn’t it?  The fellas spot Cha Seung Baek a 7 run lead, the Indians come back to tie it in the 8th and we come back in the ninth to get our 4th one run victory in a row.  It is pretty crazy, in fact almost tractor pull insane sane sane.  Of course the story of the night was Raul.  The M’s left fielder went 4 for 5 with 2 homers and 5 RBIs, a great game from one of the unsung producers in baseball. 

RON SCHWANE/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Raul Ibañez belts his second two-run homer off Paul Byrd on Monday. Ibañez finished with four hits and five RBI.

This surge would be even sweeter if the Angels would just lose a game or two so we could gain some ground.  They have been even hotter than us during this period.  Well it’s hard to lose when you have a healthy Bartolo Colon and Vladimir Guerrero on your team; especially when you can’t win the games you play against them.  We are atrocious against the Halos this year like we were atrocious against the A’s last season. 

Found this on the internets by ESPN.com writer Jonah Keri:
“But despite the pen’s efforts, the M’s own the fifth-worst team ERA in MLB. You can thank the horrendous duo of Jeff Weaver and Horacio Ramirez, who together comprise the worst back end of a rotation in the majors. Ramirez, whom the M’s acquired for lights-out reliever Rafael Soriano in one of the most inexplicable deals in recent memory, is mercifully on the disabled list. But the Mariners somehow allowed Weaver to re-enter the rotation after hitting the DL with a 14.32 ERA, a decision that can be called nothing other than insane.”
See? I’m not the only one that thinks that way.  Sometimes I wonder if they only people that can’t see where the mistakes were made are Bavasi and to a lesser extend Mike Hargrove.  I’m not going to bag to hard on the manager since he has been doing a pretty good job with some the mistakes made by the GM. 

The heavy use of this great bullpen is going to become a more and more pressing issue as the season progresses.  Oft injured reliever Chris Reitsma went back to the DL yesterday with elbow inflammation prompting another call up for Jake Woods who was pitching poorly in Tacoma (7 plus ERA, what does Lehr have to do to get promoted?).  At this rate the bullpen will be shot by late August and if we somehow make the playoffs in that state not only will we fail to go deep in the postseason but some serious lingering injury issues to many of the young players in those roles could result.  Brandon Morrow could end up getting Mark Priored. 

We are going to Wrigley this week to meet up with old friends.  The Mariners make their first ever trip to the famed Wrigley Field in Chicago tonight to face Lou Pinella’s struggling Chicago Cubs.  On paper we should be able to go in there and frickin dominate but a new park and against a new team any manner of disasters is possible.    Tonight its Wash vs. Cub lefty Rich Hill. 

Gettin drafty in here

So literally when I sent up the last post praising our 4 run lead I got an alert telling me that the Orioles had run up a 5 spot of Washburn in the top of the 5th.  Ain’t that just a smack in the face?  We ended up losing the game 9 to 5 and had a much deserved day off yesterday in preparation for the trip to San Diego and the resumption of interleague play. 

Since we had they day off I was able to keep an eye on the new and improved, media driven and hella scrutinized 2007 MLB draft.  There are a multitude of sports outlets detailing what’s going on so I’ll try to synopsize the important Mariner 1st day picks. 

4yignvvh Phillipe Aumont.  RHP.  Ecole Du Versant (HS), Gatineau Quebec. 11th overall.
The poster pick of the M’s draft, Aumont was rated as high as number 5 on some mock draft boards.  Dude is pretty stout coming in at 6’7 and 225 lbs.  He is described as a natural athlete with a 96 mile an hour fastball and an effective curve.  International play experience with Team Canada helps add to his resume.  The big question about Aumont is his lack of experience on the mound. He has not pitched for very long and since he is from Quebec has not thrown as many innings as his stateside peers. Due to his inexperience expect him to log more hours at Peoria, Everett and West Tenn to get his skill refined.  I don’t anticipate a Brandon Morrow-esque rise to the show.  Mariners prognosis: I see him as a solid 2 or 3 starter. Imagine pre-shoulder surgery Joel Pinero.  A good middle of the rotation guy but I don’t think he will have ace stuff. 

Matt Mangini. 3rd Base.  Oklahoma State. 52nd overall.  X9xcvekv
This guy was drafted because he was seen as one of the draft’s better “pure” hitters.  Dude struggled with the aluminum bat this season at OSU but lit it up during the summer with a wooden bat in the indie leagues.  His stock likely dropped because of his struggles against NCAA pitching but according to the media circus scouts hope to see his plate work improve in the wooden bat world of the minors.  Mariners prognosis:  Hitters are hard to gauge but it looks like Mangini is going to be in direct competition with junior Tui to be the heir apparent for Adrian Beltre.  It will come down to who can hit better in the minors.  Mangini is a power lefty and they are valuable.  If he doesn’t get the 3rd base job in Seattle he could be a DH or even a trade piece for a deadline deal down the road.

E69fmuv5 Nolan Gallagher. RHP Stanford.  135th overall. 
I had to skip a couple of picks because I couldn’t find much info on them.  Can’t comment on who is not ridiculously profiled down his favorite color can I?  Anyways besides sounding like the lost member of Oasis Gallagher looks like a gamble pick for the team.  He was supposed to take the step into quality starter status last season at Stanford but struggled from day one and eventually lost his spot in the rotation.  Looks like a kid with good tools but no confidence.  If the M’s developmental team can get his head straight he could be an effective player.  Mariners prognosis: This kid could go pretty much anywhere. If he gets his stuff together he can be a middle rotation guy like Aumont but if he doesn’t and continues his Jeff Weaver imitation he could end up toiling at Triple A until his contract expires or be released outright well before. It’s really up to him with a control of his destiny greater than many other players. 

In other news I read today that the folks at Safeco Field are now going to start handing out red cards to people they feel are unruly.  Are you serious?  I mean…really?  This jackboot behavior police ******** is actually happening? Here?   Wow…I knew there was some serious liberal fascism brewing up in the Emerald City but ****.  Look drinking beer and heckling the players is a part of the major league experience.  As long as you are not putting your hands or fluids on other fans they should just leave you the **** alone.  Security has its place at the ballpark but this just seems to be way too much.  If I’m wrong here let me know. 

5 games over? Fu*k yeah!

Well I have to admit it’s been a while since I’ve seen something like this.  An offensively potent baseball team winning strings of games; I think it’s been about what, 10 years?  The 97 AL West division winning squad that led the majors in homers and boasted the worst bullpen in the game was the last to do it quite like this.  I can’t use the 01 team as an example for anything, they were just too perfect during the regular season (and I was stewing in a North Carolina sh*thole with no access to west coast games that year). 

As of this morning the fellas are 5 games over .500 and having won 4 of 5 on this recent homestand.  Last night’s victory over the Orioles was fueled by another big time late inning performance by Ichiro and J.J. Putz.  It takes some serious sack to be able to come back from 3 run deficits in consecutive games to win. 

Take a look at this:

J Davis
1 0 3.92 16 0 0 0 0 0 20.2 19 9 9 0 1 17 10
9. S Green
SEA 0 1 3.29 10 0 0 0 0 0 13.2 14 6 5 1 1 12 12
10. J Huber
SEA 0 0 4.50 4 0 0 0 0 0 6.0 9 3 3 1 0 1 2
11. J Mateo
SEA 1 0 3.75 9 0 0 0 0 2 12.0 12 5 5 0 0 5 4
12. B Morrow
SEA 2 0 1.66 19 0 0 0 0 0 21.2 12 4 4 0 1 19 24
13. E O’Flaherty
SEA 1 0 2.95 14 0 0 0 0 0 18.1 14 6 6 1 2 7 10
14. J Putz
SEA 0 0 1.37 25 0 0 0 15 15 26.1 12 4 4 3 2 4 26
15. C Reitsma
SEA 0 1 4.86 16 0 0 0 0 0 16.2 22 11 9 3 0 5 8
16. G Sherrill
SEA 2 0 1.50 24 0 0 0 0 0 18.0 10 3 3 1 0 3 18
17. S White
SEA 1 1 7.03 9 0 0 0 0 0 24.1 26 21 19 0 7 17 1

Our bullpen has been outstanding this season and it needed too with all of the highly published shortcomings of the starting 5.  However they are not going to be able to do this all year if the starters can’t start giving us 6 to 7 innings a night consistently.  The damage Jeff Weaver can do to this team right now can be potentially season ending.

I know I know I keep complaining about the same thing but you guys (with exception of Tiger, Yankee, Dodger and Cardinal fans) don’t know how much this man su*ks.  They are going to plop him on the mound in the middle of this winning streak and it could end the year. Think about it, he goes 3 innings, gives up 7 runs, burns out the bullpen even further, demoralizes the offense so they go into another funk and the result could be a 2 and 10 stretch where we end up 10 and a half behind the Angels and Ichiro is wearing a Red Sox uniform by September.  The only positive to this would be the much awaited dismissal of pariah-esque GM Bill Bavasi for signing Weaver in the first place.  I’d rather see Chewbacca pitch than Weaver. 

Back to positive news.  The draft is coming up this week and unfortunately I’ll be at the office working instead of at home with a chest of Red Stripe and my poncho bloggin up the action.  We have the 11th overall pick and the front office has been completely mum on who we are going to take with it.  Recent drafts have done much for the foundation of a future title run (Morrow 06, Clement 05 if he can get healthy and junior Tui 04) so I’m excited for what we may get. 

As we speak the Mariners are leading the Orioles 4 nothing in the bottom of the 4th.  Washburn is back and he is looking much better after that 3 inning 9 hit debacle against the Rangers.  Now if only the Angels would lose a game or two so we can get back in this. 

A word that rhymes with orange

I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see cloudy skies in my life.  With any luck the nasty weather will help keep the eco-funk in the air down long enough to keep my head from itching uncontrollably and leaking noxious fluids for a while.  When it’s over 90 in your place and your head is stuffed with allergic goodness its **** near impossible to write.  It’s too bad because a lot of good stuff has been going on in Mariner land. 

JOHN FROSCHAUER/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

So last night at about 10 o’clock with my head swimming from caffeine withdrawal and antihistamine abuse and my stomach brimming with High Life and wheel cheese (I prefer my cheese in wheel form whenever possible) I decided it was best I get some sleep and prepare for another allergeriffic day at the office.  At that point it was the top of the 8th and the Mariners were losing 4 to 3 and not showing many signs of life.  I figured that I wasn’t going to miss a whole lot if I just crashed early for once.  Yeah…I know…I was wrong.  The M’s scored 4 runs in the bottom of the 8th off the Orioles bullpen on the shoulder of No Legs, J-Lo and a red hot Ichiro.  Now the Mariners are 4 over .500 and have been rolling, only losing one series since the last homestand.  Granted we are still 5 and a half back of Californaheim but the progress of the offense has been pretty amazing.  I believe we are currently the 2nd best hitting team in the AL.  Good times for all. 

So we are winning, and you know what’s going to happen.  That’s right it’s time for some bad personnel decisions!  Look I wasn’t against the promotion of Ryan Feierabend I just think that Justin Lehr (6-0, 2.42 ERA in Triple A) deserved the opportunity more. The kid pitched well I will give him that and I cant wait to see what can do; well we wont get that chance any time soon because its time for bad personnel decisions.  Feierabend was sent back to Tacoma so the team can reactivate reliever Chris Reitsma and I’m not against this move so much because the bullpen is getting beat down like a pack mule and needs some help before it implodes.  The one that really bothers me is this little snippet I read on mariners.mlb.com today:

Weaver to start Saturday: Starter Jeff Weaver is expected to make his first start since being placed on the disabled list against the Padres on Saturday.

Yeah you read that right.  Apparently I’m not smoking the same drugs as the folks in the front office because I see no reason to bring the Lord of Su*k back into the pitching rotation of a winning team?   I don’t get it are we too many games over .500?  Are we playing too well?  Do we really 6 more starts of guaranteed losses so badly that Jeff Weaver has to grace the mound again?  Can someone please tell me why they are doing this from a baseball standpoint?  I’m not talking about the money being spent, I’m talking about what good he can bring when he shown pretty conclusively that he cannot pitch for this team. 

Well all Lou-esque tirades aside, tonight Cha Seung Baek will start for the Mariners against some dude named Burris of the Orioles.  Sorry but I’ve been out of the Baltimore pitching loop for a while now.  If he is good he will show it on the field tonight. With any luck I’ll be able to write again tomorrow. 

New guys droppin like flies.

The big weekend is almost upon us, and for some out there it’s already upon us (the traffic was much thinner than usual Tacoma commute fare) and the Bavasi Bashers have been given more ammo from which to fire.  We lost yesterday what has been described as the worst game of the year and I think they may have some credibility with that description.  Bad base-running, bad pitching all around and 25 combined runs can do certainly skew a dude’s perception. 

What Bavasi Bashers are all a-smile about is the eventual return of Horatio Ramirez to the DL.  After blowing another first inning lead Ramirez left the game in the third(?) with tightness in his tossin shoulder.  This cat has an injury history and that’s one of the reasons we were able to get him in the trade with Atlanta for another injury prone but talented pitcher in Raph Soriano. Aon2x5uc  The man is an enigma to me.  At home dude is sterling; 4 and 0, 2.19 ERA, good right? However away from the cavernous confines of the Safe he is a warm steaming t*rd (the soft serve kind, like you spent the night binging on PBR and Taco Bell) and his numbers reflect it; a Weaver-esque 0 and 2 with a diaper filling 13.21 ERA all on the road. 

So the question posed is the same I posed when t*rdboy Weaver “went on the DL.”  Who will fill the spot in the rotation? I nominate Justin Lehr (5-0, 2.44 ERA, 30 K’s 14 walks at Triple A Tacoma). I’ve seen him pitch a couple of times and while my blind no-depth perception havin’ a*s is the best judge of stuff he gets guys out consistently and to me that is really what matters.  I think he’s earned his shot.  Who do you guys think we should put in there if Ramirez is gone for a while?

This is what happens when you find a stranger in the alps!

CHRIS O’MEARA/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The road trip is starting off the way we all have hoped.  Two straight victories has the team back at .500 and scraping together wins even when they continue to struggle at the plate as a team.  The star of last night’s win was Crazy Jose Guillen who went 4 for 5 with 3 RBIs against the Devil Rays down in Tampa.  Ichiro increased his hitting streak to 16 games during the two wins and Miguel Batista and Jared Washburn pitched well for an inconsistent offense to scrap together enough runs to get the W. 

In a game ripe with clichés one of the most popular is “good teams win the games they are supposed to win.” This is exactly what the Mariners need to do, and with taking the Tampa series is what they are starting to do. If you look at the past few seasons you will see instances of the Mariners struggling against clubs that are supposed to be worse than them (i.e. 3 and 6 against the Royals last season).  These losses are costly because when they lose to contenders (see 2 and 17 vs the A’s last year) it compounds into the mediocrity that has plagued the franchise since 2004.  Beating teams like Tampa Bay is even more critical than beating the Red Sox and Angels because they are supposed to beat the Devil Rays; it’s a plus if we can beat the elite of the AL. 

Don’t look now but 1st baseman Richie Sexson has reached with a hit in each of the three games he has started since coming back from some bench time allotted for a nasty 0 for 16 slump.  His average is still on .174 but he does have a 3 game hitting streak including a 2 RBI single that started the rally against the Rays on Monday.  Of all the guys that we need to heat up this is the one that will be the most crucial in deciding whether or not the Mariners are for real or just another mediocre and ineffective club. 

Great article here by Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune about Adam Jones:

http://www.thenewstribune.com/sports/mariners/story/69079.html

A note about Felix getting back into shape.  One thing I noticed last season with the younger, fatter Felix is his tendancy to overthrow on pitches and this will cause him to fall off of the mound to the left.  Before the month long layoff this season I didn’t see that instead “34” was on target, in control of all of his pitches and staying on the mound.  Since he has come back I noticed that he is starting to overthrow his offspeed stuff again and falling off the mound.  Wonder if the injury messed with his focus a little bit.  I fully expect him to work it out, a month is a long time to not be pitching to major league hitters.   

Finally in a non-baseball related note I would like to be the first to welcome this man to the Seattle sports scene (assuming of course we draft him):

JONATHAN FERREY/GETTY IMAGES FILE
Here’s to hoping that Mr. Durant is the catalyst to keeping the Sonics in Seattle. 

Nothing is f@#!$d? The plane has crashed into the  mountain!

Ahh the beauty of allergy season. Nothing says spring like lying on the couch staring at the ceiling while drowning in a river of one’s own mucus; it truly is the best of times I assure you.  It is also a severe hinderment of one’s creative ability so hence why I haven’t been around as often.  However I got a few clear headed moments so it’s time to rant. 

This is the line that all of Trident Nation got to see this morning:

16
Wed
vsLAA
17
Thu
vsLAA
18
Fri
vsSD
19
Sat
vsSD
20
Sun
vsSD
21
Mon
@CLE

Yep that says that the Mariners have lost 5 out of their last 6 games, three of those losses to the divisional leader, two of them to a National League club that we beat 5 out of 6 times last season and one make up game to baseball’s hottest team.  Players are getting benched, managers are getting publicly testy and the whole thing is starting to feel like the wheels are starting to come off. 

A lack of scoring has (once again) become the bane of Mariners fans.  Ever since the end of the glory years and what appeared to be the instant aging of Bret Boone and John Olerud in 2004; this club has gone lengthily stretches where it has struggled to score runs.  Management has tried to throw money (Sexson, Beltre, Guillen, Vidro, Johjima) and youth (Lopez, Morse, Leone, Jacobsen..etc) and coaching changes (Perry, Baylor, Molitor and now Pentland) at the problem but nothing has worked.  As Ryan Franklin could gladly testify to, the Mariners have been one of the worst run support clubs of the last five seasons.  It’s no wonder that big name pitchers like Zito and Schmidt didn’t want to come here to pitch with only 1.4 runs of support per game.  Yeah that is what we are doing offensively during the 5 losses. 

TONY DEJAK/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

And it’s not like the team isn’t getting hits.  During Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Padres the Mariners got 9 hits, but left 14 men on base including 2 on in the 9th against Trevor Hoffman with none out.  I would love to list each time the M’s have had one or more on, one or more in scoring position with 1 out or less and still fail to plate any but there isn’t enough internet for all of those stats.  We have 3 guys in the lineup hitting over .300 and when Sexson isn’t playing no one is hitting under .250.  There is no reason for such atrocious clutch hitting.  I wont’ even start on the base-running mistakes; my blood pressure can’t take it. 

Hargrove is trying to make things happen.  There are a lot of things we can blame a manager for, but he can’t polish a **** when it comes to bad hitting. All he can do is bench guys and shake up the lineup. Dude has tried both so far with little or no luck.  Sexson was benched for 2 games after dragging the team through an 0 for 15 slump that helped decide a game because he choked with runners on.  Betancourt also saw some pine after he watched his average begin to slip because he couldn’t lay off up and in fastballs. I don’t know what else he can do to get these guys to hit, you can’t “get “someone to hit. The game doesn’t work that way. 

There is a chance however to put the brakes on this flaming bus before it slams into the side of the mountain killing all occupants including the season.  6 games against the Royals and Devil Rays are on tap before facing the Angels again.  Realistically, if they can take 5 or 4 of these and 2 from the Angels we could climb right back in this thing.  We just need to score some runs. 

Tonight the M’s begin the Rays series in Tampa. Jared Washburn will face Rays ace and future Yankee starter Scott Kazmir.