Felix Shutout and Seth Smith Milestone

As usual Felix had another outstanding game with the Mariners winning 1-0 that evened his record to 2-2 with an ERA of 1.38 just under TaiJuan Walker’s 1.44. Felix and TaiJuan among the top in the major leagues and should be at the top for a team’s top two pitchers in rotation. Felix gave up five hits while walking three and striking out four. The win was 145th of Felix career that now has tied him the most in Mariner history with Jamie Moyer. Like most of Mariner pitching records it will be a while until anyone will break them. If he is able to stay around TaiJuan Walker is the one who could break the records but we may be looking at fifteen years or so. Not Walker than it will be a few decades before the records are broken. Many of us may not be around to hear about it.

The one run scored in the game was provided by a home run of the bat of Seth Smith. He made a milestone by hitting his 100th home run of his career. It is quite the deal for a player who has not been in the regular lineup over his career. Seth has primarily been a backup player over his career. In fact with the Mariners platooning against right handed hitters has given him more playing time than he was been used to. Before coming to Seattle he was used a lot as a pinch hitter which he has done so successful since he is batting over three hundred as one. The combination of Smith and Gutierrez platooning in right field or as designated hitter has given the Mariners a very good place in the lineup. Currently Smith has been batting second in the lineup because of the struggle that Kyle Seager has had in the lineup. Smith could keep that spot warm for a while since he is hitting in the .280 range.

With the one run only in the game by the Mariners it certainly kept the Mariners pitching and defense on their toes. Actually it was not until the final out the Mariners felt secure and it took an outstanding catch on the final out of the game for the Mariners to win. Leonys Martin made an outstanding catch over the head and crashing into the wall in center field. He showed why Dipoto went out and traded for him with the Texas Rangers. Whatever Martin does offensively is an added plus to his defense.

Tonight Wade Miley goes for the Mariners against Yordano Ventura of the Kansas City Royals. For the Mariners to win Miley will have to pitch at least as good as he did in his last outing. Ventura has been pitching outstanding having a record of 2-0 with an ERA of 2.35. If history repeats Miley has a record of 3-1 and an ERA of 3.96 against the Royals while Ventura is 0-2 and an ERA of 3.24 against the Mariners. So you see we likely will see another nail biter. The win tonight will give the Mariners a record of 13-10 and win another series. Depending on how the Texas Rangers do the Mariners will stay in second place or move into first place in the western division. Go M’s.

 

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Wednesday Announced Ownership Change and More

The Seattle Mariners announced that there would be change in the ownership of the team. It won’t officially take place until August however it is very good news.

Unlike many I have nothing against Howard Lincoln but it is time for him to retire. The team has made changes the last couple years with getting a new President and this last off season bringing in a new General Manager along with new manager and overhaul of the minor league system.

I don’t blame the whole thing on Howard Lincoln like a lot of people do. Obviously the buck ended with him but there were decisions that were not made right. It turned out Jack Z. was not the general manager we were hoping for. He was known as being a good scout which he may have been however he was unable to develop players in the minor leagues except only a few and they likely would have made it regardless who was in charge. You can say all that because when Dipoto was hired as general manager he kept most of the scout department while letting go most of the minor league development including many of the coaches. He has decided that every coach on every level will talk the same way. The players will know how things go when they are promoted to the next level. Also, players like D.J. Peterson and Alex Jackson will not be promoted until they are ready to do so even though they are a number one pick. I like the way they are thinking. This way the player will no longer be rushed to the major leagues like Dustin Ackley and Mike Zunino. Speaking of Zunino though he has started off very good this year at Tacoma the staff still figures he will stay the whole season unless there is an injury.

Mariner pitcher Iwakuma had a tough outing Wednesday night starting out giving up a home run to Jose Altuve in the first inning. Altuve had been quiet the previous two games in the season. Also he had two doubles in the game as well. Iwakuma struggled going only five innings and giving up five runs on seven hits. The Astros won the game 7-4 and now Iwakuma has a record of 0-3. The Mariners need Iwakuma to come alive to match up with Felix and Walker. Speaking of Felix he will be pitching Friday night against the Kansas City Royals.

Adam Lind who was designated hitter got his first home run of the season. He general does not hit against lefties however this time he faced Astros reliever Tony Sipp in the sixth inning. The reason that Servais let him hit was that Lind has a good record against Sipp. It was the first game that Lind and Dae-Ho Lee started the same time with Lee playing first base. I am sure we will see that combination every once in a while to keep Lee’s bat in the lineup. Also, this allowed Aoki to be rested since Seth Smith started in left field.

It would be nice to see Luis Sardinas start a game this weekend. The Mariners need to give him some action to be ready in case of injury. Marte right now is doing a fine job at short however the Mariners could give him a day off though the team did not play on Thursday. Another option would be for either Seager or Cano get rested in the field and be designated hitter for a game. Sardinas needs to play at least once if not twice a week. The Mariners play thirteen games in a row until their next schedule day off on Thursday May 12 so I am sure that manager Servais will get Sardinas in for a few games.

After this weekend series the Mariners go to play the A’s in Oakland and then the Astros in Houston before coming home against the Tampa Bay Rays. I find it hard to believe the way the schedule is made. With all the travel the Mariners have to do over the season why major league baseball has the Mariners make this type of trip. I would think they would have the Mariners playing Astros and Rangers in Texas on the same road trip while having the A’s and the Angels on the same trip. Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me; anyway make the best of the next thirteen games. It would be nice to go eight and five in these next thirteen games. Go M’s.

Karns and Offense Come Alive

Tuesday night’s game between the Mariners and the Houston Astros I figured could go either way since the away team had an advantage when it came to pitching; however Nathan Karns decided to change things up for the Mariners along with the offense.

Karns ended up pitching seven innings giving up only two hits with three walks, six strike outs and no runs. This was the best game that Karns has pitched for the Mariners in his four starts. He says that he took a lot from watching TaiJuan Walker pitch on Monday night. He saw how aggressive that Walker pitched and he felt that he needed to do the same thing. Obviously it worked for him.

The Mariners continue to be in first place with a record of 11-9. Both Oakland and Texas won on Tuesday night to stay a half game behind the Mariners. The Mariners won the game over the Houston Astros 11-1 which included a grand slam by Robinson after the Mariners had taken a 5-0. What really makes this fantastic is that the Mariners continue to get great pitching from the starters so the relievers don’t have to be used so much. Last night Tony Zych pitched the eight did struggle a little and giving up one run. Mike Montgomery pitched an excellent ninth inning striking out two and giving up no hits or runs on fifteen pitches. This means he could pitch tonight if necessary for the Mariners.

So tonight the Mariners will be pitching with Iwakuma on the mound hoping to sweep the Astros. On 710 ESPN a few minutes ago they were wondering if the Astros are struggling and putting pressure on themselves like the Mariners did last year. In other news reported by 710 radio there is a shake up with the Mariners ownership with Howard Lincoln retiring and John Stanton a minority owner since 2000 taking over. This is only a report and not confirmed by the Mariners however stories like this usually turn out to be true at least in Seattle.

A lot of Mariner fans have made Lincoln the scape goat for how the Mariners have been doing since the early 2000s when the team was successful. Not sure it is really his fault. We know the team has made some mistakes however they have made changes in management over the last couple of years. This looks like the change of the guard for the Mariners to get back on their winning ways. We hope this is the case. Go M’s.

 

Walker Dominates Again

It looks like the Mariners have a second ace in TaiJuan Walker. Actually if Iwakuma can get back to his normal self the Mariners may have three aces and the best starting five in the American League.

Walker gave up one run on six hits and struck out eleven batters in seven innings. Also it allowed him to lower his era to 1.44. The Mariners end up beating the Astros 3-2.

Setup reliever Joel Peralta gave up two hits and one run in the eighth inning. Closer Steve Cishek got the save however he gave up two hits along with a walk. It had to take magic for him not give up a run to tie the game. It was Cishek first trouble in his last four or five outings. It shows to me that he should have a good year for the Mariners. Also nice to see that the Mariners are winning all these close games in good fashion.

Last night Kyle Seager had a home run to help out the Mariners along with a really great defensive play to save some runs. The home run was Seeger’s 100th of his career. I expect that we will be seeing at least another one hundred out of Seager before he retires.

Tonight the Mariners fifth starter Nathan Karns will be going against last year’s Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel. If you look at things the Astros should beat the Mariners in this game tonight however we know that anything is possible especially the game is another is another close one.

The Mariners certainly have been showing that they can win all the close games especially those that are low scoring recently. The first home series they did a poor job of it but since going on this last road trip and winning last night the Mariners may win a lot of them this season.

It would be really nice if they can win this game tonight so they win the first home series of the season. On Wednesday Iwakuma will be pitching so the Mariners will have a good chance whether they win tonight or not.

Right now the Mariners are on top of the AL West by a half game since both the Oakland A’s and Texas Rangers both lost. We all as Mariner fans hope they can stay there for a while. I don’t see any of the teams in the division being favorites to win at this time.

TaiJuan Walker we look forward to seeing your next outing over the weekend against the Kansas City Royals. I expect that a large crowd should be at the game to see you pitch. Until then we hope that the Mariners will a few more games and they will still be on top when you pitch. Also, there should be a big crowd Friday night when King Felix faces the Royals. Go M’s.

Mariners Home After Successful Road Trip

Tonight (Monday) the Mariners are home after having a success road trip going 6-3 against the Yankees, Cleveland, and the Los Angeles Angels. The road trip put the Mariners back to even record 9-9 and a half game behind co-leaders Oakland A’s and the Texas Rangers.

The Mariners are home for three against the Houston Astros and then over next weekend another three against the Kansas City. Though I would like the Mariners win two out of three against both teams I would be fine with them going 3-3. This would make a better series than the first home series going 1-5 against the Oakland A’s and the Texas Rangers.

Tonight TaiJuan Walker pitches for the Mariners against the Astros. In his previous three starts Walker has given up only three earned runs in eighteen innings so he has the team leading 1.50 earn run average among starters. In the nine victories the Mariners have nine different winners so it would be nice if Walker could have his second win of the season tonight. This would be a good start to the home stand. Last night the Astros played at home so they got in very late to Seattle so the Mariners would be more rested than the Astros. We hope that will make the difference in the game. Also I hope the Mariners can play the same kind of ball as they did on the road. They showed that they can win the close games winning two in extra innings against Cleveland and the Angels. Also they won two other close games as well.

The Mariners tonight face former M’s pitcher Doug Fister. Since he is a right hander the Mariners will be putting out their regular lineup against right handers. We will be seeing Nelson Cruz in right field while Seth Smith will be designated hitter. I am sure that Cruz will be at dh tomorrow since the Mariners have been alternating in right field along with Franklin Gutierrez. Aoki and Martin will be in their custom left and center field spots. I hope that Luis Sardinas will be in the lineup during this series. It would be good if he could give a rest to either Aoki or Martin. Also he should play short stop in this series or against the Royals at short stop. Since the Mariners have Thursday off I would not be surprised if he plays short either Saturday or Sunday depending on the starting pitcher. It was nice to see that Marte had a decent play during the road trip.

Some news today the Mariners put setup reliever Joaquin Benoit on the fifteen day disabled list. He has had inflammation to his shoulder the last couple weeks and he has only participated in a few games. The Mariners called up Mayckol Guaipe from Tacoma who has had very good start to the season as one of the Rainier closers. He has three saves in six appearances with an era of 2.18 era. Depending on how the game goes I would not be surprised if he gets into tonight’s game. I am not sure however I would not be surprised if Joel Peralta takes over the role of being the 8th inning setup reliever since he has pitched there several times already this season.

I know that Safeco Field is not a hitter’s park especially for the Mariner players themselves which they showed in the first home stand going 1-5 however I think the Mariners can do just fine if they can get batters on base. I really think that it has been a mind game because players like Ichiro and Edgar Martinez played fine. All we have to do is go back to 2001. I believe the Mariners have capable players now and other teams seem to do just fine at Safeco Field. The most important thing is to be patient and look for their pitches. I believe if they can get off and win the first two games against the Astros they will be fine. We need to see Kyle Seager and Adam Lind who have been struggling though had some good times in Los Angeles to have a good home stand. The rest of the hitters do what they have been doing the Mariners will do well. Go M’s.

Trout Makes Difference in Angels-Mariners Game

I have to say that likely we will be seeing a lot of close games like was been happening on this current road trip. It is really good the Mariners are 5-3 on this road trip and if they can beat Angels today they will come home even at 9-9.

Mike Trout hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning with the Mariners being a head 2-1. The homer put the Angel’s ahead 3-2 which turned out to enough the Angels added another run late in the game. The Angels like the Mariners are having trouble scoring runs so far this season. At this point the Angel’s and Mariner’s will primarily be scoring runs on little ball unless the opposing pitcher makes a mistake like last night by Felix Hernandez. Actually Trout has Felix’s number since it is his fifth homer off of him in his young career. Personally I prefer someone like Trout beating the Mariners instead of someone who rarely hits a home run or drives in many runs. Other words someone low in the batting order. Of course in close games it will happen once in a while. We can hope that the Mariners will win more of the close games than lose them. Like over the last several years the Mariners offense has been stale. At least this year the Mariner have acquired hitters that have been known to get on base a lot so we can hope that wins will become more frequent then in past years.

The Mariners have been known to get off to a slow start in April so if they can stay close to the even mark over the next few days we have hope that this will be a good year. Guys like Kyle Seager and Adam Lind should be heating up to help out the top of the batting order.

I like the bottom of the batting order this year with Iannetta, Martin and Marte along with Lee when the Mariners are facing lefties. It sure beats out the bottom of the order the Mariners had last year. I believe the difference in the bottom of the batting order should bring about more victories than last year. Also, at this point the bullpen looks better than last year’s. Of course it is not hard to do either. I don’t see them at this point blowing so many save opportunities this year. If they cut those blown saves in half that will give the Mariners around 84 wins. This would be even if everything else is equal with last year’s team. Another thing is that this year’s team looks more exciting too. Of course we will have to see if that continues. At this point we have some hope especially if they can change things around at Safeco Field. Go M’s.

Cano Bails out Bullpen

 

So far the difference between this season and last year’s the Mariners probably would have lost Thursday’s game. It is hard to know what the Mariners will be this year compared to last year and the many years before because it is still too early however the bullpen had their worst outing so far in the season. They started out with a 5-0 lead and the Cleveland Indians came back to tie in the eighth with a two-run homer.

Robinson Cano though his batting average at this time is not great he is showing some power. He hit a three run homer with two outs and runners on first and third. I am pretty sure he would not have done this last year however we are in a new season so we can forget about 2015. Also this was a second win in extra innings the Mariners have so far this year. Another thing this year’s team is doing that last year’s would not have done.

What I have heard and liked is that the team is relax and the players are having a great time. We can hope this happens when they return home next Monday. I hope that they have a team meeting before Monday’s game to discuss about staying relaxed at home as well. It would be nice if the Mariners can turn it around at home. Having a winning home record would be nice. Nothing outstanding just go a few games above five hundred. They should be reminded what kind of ball they should play in Safeco Field. Other words contact and little ball. Let the home runs come when they do and not try to hit them out. Most important thing is to get runners on base whether by walk or hits.

The series tonight in Los Angeles against the Angels has a good beginning with Felix on the mound. We hope that he can stop the walks that have been happening in his first three starts. Positive side is the Angels record is not any different than the Mariners so they haven’t started on a hot streak so a good time to get them. We know that they will go on a streak in the near future. How long it lasts anyone’s guess. Also we can hope the Mariners can go on a streak for themselves.

The Mariners will be facing Nick Tropeano of the Angels. He has started two games for them after being called up from triple A. His earn run average right now is 0.89 so no one figured him out so far. We can hope the scouting reports will help the Mariners against him though we do know the history of the Mariners they don’t do well usually against a starting pitcher for the first time. Of course, it is time for them to change the history. The Mariners will be facing a division foe so a good time for a sweep though taking 2 out of 3 would be fine too. Go M’s.