A Great Game

Saturday’s game between the Seattle Mariners and the Chicago Cubs may have been the best game of the year. Certainly the top of the eighth inning was the most exciting.

The Cubs were leading 1-0 with two outs when Leonys Martin came up to the bat with two runners on base. The Cubs decided to bring their closer in Aroldis Chapman whom they just got a few days earlier from the New York Yankees. All the Cub fans were excited and believed the game was over. I am sure most of the Mariner fans felt the same way however Leonys Martin for the Mariners decided the story would end in a different manner. You see Chapman had not given up a run batted in to a left handed hitter all season long so the odds were in the Cubs favor however Martin hit one of his pitches that was thrown over one hundred miles hour in-between the left and centerfielder that scored both runners on base to give the Mariners a 2-1. Next Martin left early on a steal of third base but Chapman threw it high so he was safe. Chapman than threw a ball in the dirt that the catcher could not handle so Martin ran home for a third run in the inning.

Edwin Diaz pitched the bottom of the eighth inning as the Mariners version of the fireball. He allowed a couple runners on base to make it interesting however unlike Chapman he was able to get out of the inning.

In the ninth inning the Mariners got another run. Nelson Cruz started out getting a single. Franklin Gutierrez pinched run for Cruz. He moved to second and then third on two outs. A ball hit by Chris Iannetta went to the shortstop looking like the third out however the shortstop threw it high and Iannetta was safe so Gutierrez scored the fourth and final run in the game. Steve Cishek came into the ninth inning and got his twenty-fifth save of the season for the Mariners.

In his seven innings that he pitched Wade Miley gave up one run along with only one hit. There are rumors that he is on the trading block. If he is traded by the Mariners this game made his value go higher. One team mentioned in a trade for Miley is the Baltimore Orioles. The Mariners are in the driving seat since they don’t have to trade Miley if they don’t want to however there a spot is needed in the rotation when TaiJuan Walker taken off the disabled list.

Friday’s night game that the Mariners lost to the Cubs 12-1 Nathan Karns pitched one of his worst games of the season in relief. Saturday morning Cody Martin was in the clubhouse and the Mariners activated him on the twenty-five man roster. No surprise to me Karns was put on the disabled list after two bad outings in a same manner that happened to Nick Vincent who is expected off the disabled list soon.

Sunday Night the Mariners and Cubs will play on a nation televised game on ESPN with Felix Hernandez taking the mound for the Mariners. This will be Felix’s third outing since coming off the disabled list. He likes pitching in games like this so I expect this will be a well-pitched game by the King.

The next twenty-four hours or so it will be interesting to see if the Mariners actually make a trade to help them. This is known as the trading deadline however teams still are able to trade but must put players on waivers before finalizing the trade. Most trades go through but a team can block if necessary. Go M’s.

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Mariners Need Shaking Up

The Seattle Mariners are playing the best team in baseball however this mean that they have to lay down for the weekend. On Friday night the Mariners played a terrible game in Chicago losing 12-1. Iwakuma pitched three innings giving up five runs before being removed. We found out that he had a bad shoulder. Now will he miss some time? I guess we will find out. Nathan Karns came in and gave up five runs. This is the second bad outing in a row for Karns. I wonder if he has some injury issues as well.

We have seen what the Mariners are capable of on the good side as well as the bad side. They are still one game above five hundred and still have a chance to make the playoffs. For them to do so Dipoto has to go out and get a few players added to the roster. We don’t want them to get rid of players that could have a future with the team unless those in return will benefit the team for a few years as well. It is possible one or two players could make the difference or on the other hand they just may stay at the same place the rest of the season right around five hundred.

Right now Dipoto has to decide what changes that would make the Mariners a team that will win around eighty-eight wins. If there are none out there than I would not make any trades unless it will benefit the Mariners for next season. We know that with the current roster the team will end the season right around even at eight-two wins. Actually with an easier schedule supposed to happen in August the win total couple go to eighty-five wins. An upgrade of players on the roster could expand that for three more wins and allow them to make the playoffs. Another question though even if they make the playoffs will it be for a wild-card playoff where it could be where they lose in the one game. I am glad that Dipoto is the one that has to think and answer these questions.

Saturday’s game it will be nice if the players can rebound and win the game. This is an important game regardless what happens on Sunday. If the Mariners get swept by the Cubs what will Dipoto do on Monday when the trading dead line ends without waivers. There will be players that they can go after in August as long as they can pass through waivers. I am sure we will see the Mariners make a trade or two over the next couple days however will they be like the Montgomery and Benoit trades or something greater. Let’s see with anticipation. Go M’s.

 

Mariners Are In Chicago

In only a few hours the Seattle Mariners take on the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field for a day game. For many years all the games in Wrigley Field were during the day time. They still play majority of the games during the day time. Wrigley Field is like no other in baseball although the one in Boston is close. This is probably true because they were both built about the same time.

Friday’s game should be exciting with two of the hottest pitchers going against each other with Iwakuma going for the Mariners against Jon Lester for the Cubs. Of course we always like it when Lester is pitching against the Mariners because of his local connection. He grew up in Puyallup and went to Bellarmine High School in Tacoma. For us on the south sound can’t get much closer than that.

This should be a close game however Iwakuma must keep his pitches either low or high. In other words he is known for giving up some home runs and it is easy to hit home runs in Wrigley Field. The Mariners will hope to do the same thing. Since Lester is a lefty we should be seeing the lineup the Mariners usually give out. I haven’t seen the lineup posted yet but we should see Franklin Gutierrez in the outfield with Dae-Ho Lee at first base. We will see if Nelson Cruz is back in the lineup after missing the last game in Pittsburgh. He has been able to have two days off so hopefully he will be feeling fine.

Now that trading deadline is coming close more rumors will be coming out who the Mariners may trade or who the other teams are interested in. TaiJuan Walker who has been mentioned in a few rumors he is expected to make a rehab assignment outing for Tacoma on this upcoming Monday and the be activated off the disabled list to make his first start for the Mariners for some time. Other rumors have been around James Paxton. I expect in either Walker or Paxton the other team will have to give them something very outstanding especially in the case of Walker. Since he is potentially a number one starter the Mariners will need a pretty good return in their investment. Paxton though he hasn’t been healthy over the last few years and not meeting his potential either he is a hard throwing lefty that is hard to come by so I am sure the other team would have to give something substantial for him to though not as much as for Walker. The Mariners have the cards so they will not deal either one unless something fantastic comes in return.

In other rumors is the possibility is for the Mariners to trade Wade Miley. He is a more likelihood to be traded by the Mariners however they won’t just give him away. Adam Lind is another since he will be a free agent at the end of the year. I don’t see Dipoto just giving him away to. This weekend will be interesting to see what happens in both on the field and off. Go M’s.

 

Pirates Beat Up Mariners

When James Paxton left the game after pitching five innings the Mariners were only down to the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-1. It did look like the Mariners had a chance to come back and win the game however in the seventh inning the Pirates started beating up on the Mariner relievers and the game was history.

Paxton gave up three runs in the third inning only and it was when Aoki tried to dive for a ball he did not catch. It ended up leading to putting the Pirates ahead. Paxton left the game after five innings because he had thrown 97 pitches in the game. He was replaced by newcomer Drew Storen who the Mariners had gotten from Toronto Blue Jays the night before for fellow reliever Joaquin Benoit.

Storen pitched one good inning getting all three outs in the sixth inning however things went the other way in the seventh inning and he only lasted a third of an inning that helped bring in four runs. He walked in a run with the bases loaded and replaced by Nathan Karns who gave up a double that scored three more runs. Karns finished off the inning however all the runs were given to Storen. Sometimes this shows how the era doesn’t always look right on a pitchers record.

David Rollins pitched the eighth inning giving up another three runs that ended the chance of the Mariners winning if at all after the seventh inning.

Manager Scott Servais admitted putting Storen out in the seventh inning was a bad idea. In all his games with Toronto except for one Storen pitched only one inning. I am sure that is what Servais will do in the future. At least in this one game Storen showed that he is a one inning pitcher. Live and learn I guess you can say.

The Mariners have another off-day Thursday and then takes on the Cubs in Chicago over the weekend. The first two games are during the day while Sunday is a night game being broadcasted nationally on ESPN Sunday Night baseball. Sounds ridiculous that the Mariners play a night game in Chicago before coming home to play the Red Sox on Monday; you would think they would schedule a Sunday night game when the team has a day off on Monday and do not have to fly home. It is nice to see the Mariners get some national exposure however it is really necessary?

Now only a few days left in July so we will have to see if the Mariners make another trade before the deadline. Benoit for Storen was after the Mariners left Toronto. Do you think the Mariners will make a trade with the Pirates? That would be something unless they make another with the Cubs while in Chicago. They could make one on Sunday night so the player could ride back with the team. Anyway Go M’s.

 

Felix Struggles However Seager Helps Mariners Win

I was thinking before writing this how many times Felix pitched and the Mariner batters scored less than three runs. At the beginning of the season I figured it to be just over one hundred games and Mariners only won about three more than they lost. Now Felix has come off the disabled list and his first two outings although he pitches poorly especially Tuesday night’s game the Mariners have won both games.

I guess our question is do we want the old Felix back where the games are 3-1 and 2-0 and the Mariners only win half of the games or the new Felix where the hitters are scoring more runs to win. Of course we would like to see the old Felix at the same time the offense is scoring runs as well.

The first outing I thought Felix did a better job than he did in Tuesday night’s game. The good thing though is that Felix has the pride to fight even when he is struggling to get the pitches over the plate. Positive thing again he gave up three runs out of the four in the first inning along with the fact he pitched six innings. I am sure with many of the other pitchers on the Mariners starting rotation they would have been taken out of the game before six innings were complete. It allowed the bullpen not to be overused which is another good thing.

Vidal Nuno struggled to in the inning he pitched although he did not give up any runs. This was primarily because Tom Wilhelmsen came in and did an outstanding job. He looks like he is back on track for the Mariners and we should see more of him in relief.

Edwin Nunez pitched the eighth inning and two hitters got on base without any outs. He showed us all how tough he is by getting three outs without the Pirates scoring any runs. The amazing part is that he did not strike out a batter at all. Normally he would have struck out the side. This is showing us more and more the pitcher he truly is. He is dominating even when not striking out batters. This shows that he is the closer in the making.

Jerry Dipoto made another move by trading Joaquin Benoit to the Toronto Blue Jays for a younger reliever who is also struggling in Drew Storen. He previously was a closer so the Mariners could look into putting him in that role for the time being or wait to see how he does. Both Benoit and Storen are looked to become free agents at the end of the season. I am sure the Blue Jays were looking at Benoit being used in the stretch run to help them out while Storen could be used in the same way or Dipoto is thinking down the road as well as this season. If Storen gets things back in order the Mariners may look at giving him a new contract possibly for a couple years likely.

It is still interesting to see if the Mariners will make any other moves this weekend or into August where players have to go through the waiver wires first. I am sure this was a trade that the Blue Jays may have come to the Mariners first to see about moving Benoit. I am sure the Mariners are still talking to the Miami Marlins and other teams about Wade Miley. Since he has done well in his last couple outings the Mariners could get good value for him than what they would further down the road.

Kyle Seager hit a home run that put the Mariners ahead after the team started down 4-1. The Mariners were able to rally win the game 7-4. Seager’s home run became his 20th of the season and the fifth straight year for him. Nelson Cruz left the game early because of his legs and precautions. We will have to see if he is into Wednesday’s game too. James Paxton will be starting the game Wednesday. With the record of 3-1 on this current road trip we can hope that the Mariners can extend it to 4-1 going to Chicago. The Mariners will have another day off on Thursday before starting the three game series against the Cubs. Go M’s.

Felix Again!!!!

King Felix takes the mound again on Tuesday in the two game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. This is his second outing after coming off the disabled list.

His first outing was Ok though he gave up a three-run homer in the first inning. Actually he should have been out of the inning since the umpire called a ball and the batter walked when it should have a strike three for the third out. The next batter because Felix was upset hit the homer. He was able to pitch fine after that and went six innings.

We should be able to see a better outing of Felix on Tuesday. He looks healthier and his pitches should be better too. It would be nice if he could go through seven innings and allow the Mariners to be in position to win the game.

The game is in Pittsburgh so Felix will be excited to get in a few times in the batter box. The Mariners have a day off on Thursday so Felix may have a chance to pitch in Chicago against the Cubs on Sunday. This will depend on what manager Servais wants to do with the pitching rotation and whether they will go with four pitchers on this road trip. If he doesn’t pitch on Sunday he will on Monday when the Mariners return home.

Being on the road for the next five games we will likely see Nelson Cruz playing in right field. Depending on the pitchers Aoki, Seth Smith and Gutierrez will share left field. We will see Smith and Gutierrez pinch hitting for sure during the remaining of the road trip.

At this point no one really knows how long Marte will be out other than that he is on the 15 day disabled list so he is out for almost two weeks anyway. Right now Shawn O’Malley and Luis Sardinas will be sharing shortstop. Depending on Marte the Mariners could go out and get a more experienced shortstop if one is available and does not cost too much. I am sure how much O’Malley and Sardinas each plays depends who is playing the best. Against Pittsburgh and Chicago the one who doesn’t start will pinch hit at some point. Late in the games Sardinas will likely be in at short when he doesn’t start and O’Malley will be moved to the outfield since he plays good defense in the outfield. Depending on the score he likely will go in for Cruz or Smith and Aoki. With the days off the Mariners have had likely Leonys Martin will play in center field all the games depending on the pitcher. If the Mariners play a tough lefty I would not be surprised to see O’Malley in at centerfield to start the game.

The Mariners play the national league teams pretty good so I would not be surprised at all if they go 3-2 in the five games. The way that the Texas Rangers are playing right now this could mean that the Mariners could gain some more ground on them. The Houston Astros are close on their heels too and may over take them soon.

We will be keeping our eyes and ears open to see where the Mariners go this week with the trading deadline coming up soon. Dipoto feels that they are still in the race so they may be buyers or at the least do a trade like last week when they sent Mike Montgomery to the Cubs. They do have spot ready in the starting rotation so someone like Wade Miley could be traded if they someone good to get in return. Miley is signed through next season and a team option for 2018 so they do not have to trade him. They can wait until the off-season to trade him too.

So now we wait and see while the Mariners take on the Pirates and Cubs. Go M’s.

Sunday Mariners Bats Go Silent

While we all celebrate Jr Griffey into the Hall of Fame on Sunday the Mariners bats went silent after having a power display on Saturday.

Former Mariner pitcher JA Happ who played for them up to the trading deadline last year gave up only one hit in six innings. At that point the Blue Jays were leading 2-0 which turned out to be the winning score too. The Mariners got a pretty good performance out of Wade Miley for his six innings of work. He was followed by Tom Wilhelmsen and Benoit each going for an inning. Benoit had not pitched since his last outing where he had given up three runs. We hope that his shoulder is feeling fine now. It would be good if he and Edwin Diaz could take turns pitching the eighth inning though a lot of Mariner fans wished that Diaz was the closer or at the very least share it with Cishek. I would like to see Diaz close out a game at least once to see how he does. If he is successful I would like to see him close games when the Mariners have a one run lead going into the ninth inning. Cishek could be the closer when they have a three-run lead with Diaz warming up just in case. Ideally would be for the Mariners this week go out and get an experienced closer. In this scenario Diaz and Cishek could pitch either the seventh or eighth inning. It is important to have someone in those innings to shut the door on the other team too. I am not sure exactly what to do with Benoit except use him in the eighth inning when the Mariners have a three-run lead and again have someone warming up just in case they get hitters on base.

I like having either LeBlanc or Karns being the first reliever coming into the game and then followed by Wilhelmsen depending on the inning. It would be nice to have Nick Vincent around when he comes off the disabled list. At this point don’t have any inning idea when that will happen. Charlie Furbush is pitching for Tacoma in rehab assignment so hopefully he will be available next week when August arrives.

Other than a couple moves the Mariners look pretty set going into August when they will start playing easier teams. Although Aoki looks like he has rebounded after a stint in Tacoma I would like still that the Mariners go after an outfielder that at least get into the mix with those already on the roster; someone who the Mariners will play in either left or right on a regular basis along with playing some centerfield. If the guy is a right handed hitter than he can platoon with Aoki and then play well in the outfield where he can come in later in the game when he isn’t starting.

I heard the Mariners are looking to bring up another position player for the next five games against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs since it will be inter-league play. I am sure the well-traveled reliever Dave Rollins will be sent down. I am sure the position player maybe Stefan Romero since Daniel Robertson won’t have ten days required before going back up. With the year Romero has been having he deserves a call up unless the Mariners can pull off a trade for an outfielder by Tuesday. Anyway we should hear some news before the Mariners take the field on Tuesday against the Pirates. In the meantime enjoy the day off and watch Jr Griffey’s acceptance speech again. Go M’s.