By Blaidd Drwg
Once again, the Mariners are hitting like they can’t punch their way out of a paper bag. Thus far this season, the Mariners have scored fewer total runs than all but one AL team – the Chicago White Sox (actually they have outscored the Nationals, Phillies (just barely), Marlins and Dodgers, but that is the NL, so it hardly counts, but more on that in a moment). It is actually worse than that – the Mariners have outscored the Pale Hose by a whopping 2 runs and have played 3 more games than Chicago, so the Sox have actually scored more runs per game than the Mariners. It has been so bad that the Mariners have been outscored by the Astros (!!!) by 16 runs in the same number of games. That is the same Astros lineup that I ripped on earlier this season. At least the Mariners offense hasn’t been historically bad this year and they seem to be hitting about as well (if you can call it that) at home as on the road.
Sadly, the despite the vast improvement, they are still in sorry shape. Morales, Seager and Morse have been ok, Shoppach and Bay have been better than expected; Smoak has been drawing walks (but not much else) and hasn’t looked completely hopeless at the plate. Montero, Ackley, Ryan, Andino and Chavez have all been wasted at bats though in this lineup. The M’s have gotten so little production out of their #9 spot in the order that they might as well be a NL team. Here is how the #9 hitter compares to the teams in the NL who have scored fewer runs. Keep in mind that the AB’s for the NL teams come from a combination of the pitchers batting and pinch hitters. Just for the heck of it, I am including the Tigers, who lead baseball in runs scored. (Stats from baseball-reference.com)
Basically the Mariners are getting the same production from Chavez/Ryan/Andino in the 9th spot as National League teams get from their pitchers. That is not a recipe for success.
The M’s took the first step in trying to right the ship by sending Montero down to Tacoma, but they did call up a no-hit, all-glove catcher in Jesus Sucre, so that won’t help much. The next step is probably sending down Ackley and bringing up Nick Franklin. I think Ackley needs to get some time in the bandbox that is Cheney Stadium to get his groove back. The shortstop mess is probably not fixable this season, so we will probably get another 120 games of almost automatic outs from the bottom of the lineup.
My prediction – if the M’s don’t have a winning record on this home stand, Eric Wedge will be looking for a new job. I hear Don Mattingly might be available soon…