Tuesday, June 10, 2008
I amongst many others put on my genius thinking cap prior to the start of the season and picked the Mariners to win the division. Part of the reason I chose them to out pace the Angels were the injuries to Lackey and Escobar but really that's no excuse. I would have had them in 2nd if those injuries didn't occur so I still would have been incredibly wrong. The Mariners not only are not out pacing the Angels for the division title, they aren't out pacing anybody in major league baseball as they currently have the absolute worst record in the MLB. So what the hell has gone on with the Mariners to make so many look like complete fools?
Hitting Hitting Hitting... Or the Lack of It
I stated that the key to the Mariners success this season would be Richie Sexson. He was supposed to be their power source and they needed him to have a bounce back season. I figured he would bounce back to the tune of .260 and around 30 homers. This just has not happened as he once again sits in the lower .200s (.213) with a whopping 53 strikeouts in 178 at bats.
After Sexson, there isn't much more success. Even Ichiro is currently hitting below .300 this season. Adrian Beltre is hitting .226 thus far this season. Jose Lopez and Yuniesky Betancourt are hitting respectably at .302 and .284 respectively but they have 12 walks in nearly 500 at bats combined. So their On Base % are only .316 and .294. Kenji Johjima is hitting .224 with only 2 home runs this season. The Mariners use Jose Vidro as their primary DH and he is rewarding them with a .220 average and 4 home runs.
As a team the Mariners are in dead last in all of major league baseball in On Base %, rank 28th out of 30 in SLG% (KC, WAS) and 27th in Runs Scored (SD, KC, WAS). This team needed a reliable hitter, this team needed Barry Bonds. They were too scared to go out and get him and because of this they are one of the worst offenses in all of baseball.
Back of the Rotation (ERA +6 Apply Here)
The back of the rotation of Washburn, Batista and Silva certainly weren't expected to be lights out pitchers but they also weren't expected to be completely dreadful. Combined these three pitchers have a record of 8-20 in 38 starts. The lowest of the three ERAs belongs to Carlos Silva and sits at 5.96. Batista is next with a flat 6.00 ERA followed by Washburn with a 6.09 ERA. When the back end of your rotation is pitching like garbage the only way to win ball games is to mash. And obviously the Mariners are not mashing.
The backend of the rotation has countered their two aces to the point where their team ERA is currently 26th (Pitt, DET, COL, TEX) at 4.69. There WHIP is even worse at 1.50 ranking 28th in MLB (Pitt, TEX).
This has definitely been the least of the Mariners problems this season but its still an issue. Coming into this season their three best pitchers were obviously King Felix, Eric Bedard and JJ Putz. While Felix has pitched well this season (3.07 ERA) the other two have spent time on the DL and not pitched like themselves. Bedard has missed a couple starts and instead of being a dominant Cy Young candidate has been incredibly inconsistent and average. In 11 starts Bedard is 4-4 with a mediocre 4.26 ERA. Putz meanwhile spent a lengthier period on the DL but has been considerably worse while active. He has only 7 saves in 19 appearances but the staggering numbers come with regards to his peripherals. His ERA of 5.21 is bad but a WHIP of 1.95 for a closer is completely unacceptable. Last season Putz had an ERA of 1.38 and only gave up 50 base runners in 71 innings.
Essentially the Mariners have been worse than predicted at every phase of the game. Nobody in their offense is excelling. The back of their rotation has been amongst the worst in MLB. Even 2 of their stud pitchers have been average or worse than average this season. What looked like a promising season only 2 1/2 months ago now could presumably turn into a fire sale in the coming weeks.