Mariners Offense Breaks Lose

It has been a little while since the Mariners offense looked like it did on Saturday. Nelson Cruz was player of the game having hit two home runs including a grand slam and drove in seven runs. If Cruz can go on a hitting streak this should allow the Mariners to get on a bit of a winning streak.

Now the Mariners are three games above .500 and can get a sweep against the Toronto Blue Jays winning Sunday. This would be fantastic to do so along with Junior Griffey going into the Hall of Fame on Sunday too.

The important thing is that at least one of the big three can be hitting well along with some of the other hitters. It is too bad that Marte right now is on the disabled list with mono however on the plus side Shawn O’Malley is hitting well at shortstop. He will be alternating with Luis Sardinas who was promoted from Tacoma taking the spot of Mike Montgomery when he was traded to the Cubs. Now Dave Rollins has taken the spot of Marte on the active roster. It is hard to really know how long Marte will be on the disabled list however Mono could keep him out for some time. O’Malley looks like a catalyst in the lineup along with Aoki who looks like he is in the right frame of mind now returning from Tacoma as well.

I liked the job that Iannetta did at the plate Saturday coming out of a slump after taking two days off last weekend and working with Edgar Martinez. Iannetta and Mike Zunino sharing the catching job could work out well for the Mariners in the second half of the season. Neither one will have to feel like they have to provide a lot of offense just being OK. It does look like Zunino is lying off some of the low pitches he was going after last season. The real plus is that he has the power where he can get doubles and home runs. The important thing is to be selective especially with runners on base.

It was nice to see the hitters do well with runners in scoring position. Friday they were awful but Saturday did a lot better job. Also Iwakuma did a really good job during his six innings of pitching. Since May 2 he has won more games than any pitcher in the major leagues going 10-2. Though he has been inconsistent some of the time the important thing is that he has been staying healthy and not losing any starts like he has done in previous seasons.

Wade Miley will be going for the Mariners on Sunday. If he can pitch a solid six innings this will give the Mariners a great chance to sweep the Blue Jays. Another plus is that the bullpen has not been used a lot either so everyone except maybe LeBlanc can pitch on Sunday and the Mariners have a day off again on Monday before going to Pittsburgh. I like the Mariner chances in Pittsburgh because they play well against the National League.

If the Mariners can split the remaining six games on this road trip going 3-3 will mean that they will have gone 5-3. This sounds all pretty good to me and the Mariners maybe able to even do better; allow them to go into August on a very good winning note.

This all comes about on the road trip the Mariners will be in a pretty good position to be buyers before the training deadline. The Mariners could look at getting someone added to the bullpen. At this point not sure when Nick Vincent will return and it would be nice to get a closer if one comes available. Whatever the case the Mariners can get someone without giving away too much. So let us all keep our smiles on. Go M’s.

 

A Friday Win!

I think it is always nice for the Mariners to win a Friday night game especially starting a road trip. Like usual and more often by the Mariners than any other team in the major leagues they won by one run 2-1 over the mighty Toronto Blue Jays.

Winning like this is important for a number of reasons but this time because we can see that a series is in good shape even if they lose the final two games. The Mariners and the Blue Jays are playing again in just a few hours and I believe it helps the Mariner players relax. Not fun to lose a game like this and you have to play during the day. At least night game gives you some more time to get the last one out of your mind.

Another great reason to celebrate this victory not only did the Mariners go two games above .500 the worst they can do leaving is be at .500 and James Paxton showed everyone what he is capable of when he puts his mind and arm into it. We hope this potential will carry over for the next several games and beyond. He said after the last game that he would not try to be crafty and he kept to his word. He needs to continue what he is doing throwing ball hard and getting his breaking pitches over. If he fails sometimes so be it but he has to be himself not trying to be someone else.

Speaking of being himself Wade Miley will be going against the Blue Jays on Sunday. He is another one on the staff that shows he is pretty good most of the time however let’s one bad inning get to him and sometimes rows into another bad inning. Just like Paxton we do see flashes of brilliance now be consistent. Actually the Mariners starting rotation is pretty good if they can do what we think they can.

Saturday Iwakuma takes the mound. We hope that he can do what he did the last time out. Again he is another that has been inconsistent. If he can pitch the second-half of the season like his past history the Mariners can make the playoffs still.

Manager Scott Servais has said it all along that if the starters can go at least six innings the Mariners are in pretty good shape to win. Friday night Edwin Diaz came in for one inning in the eighth and then followed by Cishek. I wonder how things would go if Servais would put Cishek in the eighth and Diaz in the ninth instead. I am not sure whether to try it in a 2-1 game however if the Mariners were up 3-1 or 4-1 try it. Another idea would have Diaz go two innings instead of one. Regardless we likely won’t see Diaz on Saturday anyway especially being a day game. I like to see Diaz often as possible now in crucial situations even though he won’t pitch two days in a row.

Cishek is certainly showing us that he is a closer. Even when he saves a game he drives us and the manager crazy getting batters on base. Friday night he walked a batter and then the next one got a single. At least there were two outs when it happened. He then struck the last guy out on a 3-2 count. I was on my way to another event so I listen the last inning on the radio. I so wanted to turn it off and find out the result later but I stuck it out. It would have been a bummer if Cishek gave up another hit.

 

We really do hope the Mariners can win on Saturday so we can really enjoy Junior Griffey’s induction into the Hall of Fame on Sunday. I am sure we will enjoy it anyway but winning would feel even better. We will probably see some video of him crashing into the wall multiple times along with his home runs. The best is his smile though. So now we can enjoy the day with a smile saying Go Junior and the M’s.

Canadian Eh

The Seattle Mariners are in Toronto to face the Blue Jays for three games in the beginning of an eight game road trip. Following the Blue Jays the Mariners will play two against the Pittsburgh Pirates and then next weekend three games in Chicago against the Cubs before coming home.

I am not sure about the Mariner fans however the Blue Jay fans in British Columbia along with Alberta probably consider this an international rivalry. I am not sure about those in the Toronto because they are on the east coast and the Mariners go there no more than twice a year. The Jay fans come down to Seattle and can be almost half the crowd against the Mariners. This is especially true when the Blue Jays come only once in a season.

For those fans who come down it is a real rivalry and in many cases the fans root for both the Mariners and Blue Jays except when they play against each other. I know because my cousin Christy and her husband David watch games of both teams. They are able to see some Mariner games on TV in British Columbia however more Blue Jay games. All the Jay games are on while Mariner games come on after the Blue Jay games are over. Hard to see a Mariner game when the Blue Jays are on the west coast except when they play each other in Seattle. My cousin has a place in Peoria, Arizona so they see Mariner spring training games. I hope to go down next spring training to see the Mariners once again.

This series in Toronto is important to keep the Mariners hopes alive for the playoffs. The Blue Jays have a five game lead for the second wild card spot so the Mariners could bring that closer if they can win all three or at the very least two out of three games.

What makes the series exciting to be that both teams are at the top of the American League in home runs. The Mariners do lead in home runs however the Blue Jays seem to have more power hitters so this could end up be a home run derby. Also the Mariner fans will be able to Michael Saunders the first time after playing in this year’s All-Star game and Justin Smoak is having a decent season hitting quite a few home runs though his batting average is low. The Mariners should see J.A. Happ pitching in the series for Toronto. He played a partial of last season for the Mariners before being traded to Pittsburgh Pirates. He was a free agent so he resigned with Toronto who he previously had pitched for. In fact the Mariners got J.A. Happ from the Blue Jays for Michael Saunders.

Friday night James Paxton who is a Canadian from British Columbia will be starting for the Mariners. With the way that Paxton has been pitching of late it is important that he pitch a successful game Friday or he could be sent to the bullpen. Mike Montgomery being traded to the Chicago Cubs gave a spot open in the starting rotation. The Mariners now have three candidates for the rotation where with Montgomery they had four. Montgomery could be starting or in the bullpen for the Cubs like he was in Seattle.

When the Mariners get back to a five-man rotation it will likely look with Felix Hernandez, Iwakuma, and TaiJuan Walker from the right side. Paxton along with Wade Miley and Wade LeBlanc compete for the two lefty spots in the rotation. LeBlanc has been pitching pretty well since the Mariners traded for him so the other would be between Paxton and Miley who both have had good and bad outings. Paxton being a hard thrower could be what Montgomery was when he started the season in the bullpen. How they all do can decide whether one of them could be part of a trade by the end of July. Paxton has the upside when it comes to be traded over Miley and LeBlanc. I would say LeBlanc would be the least likely one to be traded unless his pitching becomes outstanding that other teams feel he would be good for them; the same feeling when Montgomery was traded with his value going up and could be at the very best right now.

There are other players that could be traded in the next could weeks and I have mentioned them some already and probably will again. We will explore those options unless they are traded in the meantime. We should look at this weekend series as being excited especially if both offenses are working at full force. Go M’s.

 

Another Walk-Off

Wednesday the Seattle Mariners came back after being down by three runs and then winning on a walk-off in the 11th inning by Leonys Martin. It was the second homer for Martin in the game. He got the first homer in the game followed by Mike Zunino who was called up earlier in the day and started at catcher. Zunino had his third home run in four games. He hit a two-run homer that got the Mariners close making the score 5-4. In the eighth inning Adam Lind who had a walk-off homer on Monday hit his fifteenth of the season to tie the score 5-5. The game was tied until Martin hit the walk off in the 11th.

Though the Mariners are happing that Martin’s homer was the sixth walk-off in the season I am sure manager Servais which that the team would be able to score runs in other fashions as well.

King Felix Hernandez made his first start Wednesday coming off the disabled list. He gave up a three-run homer in the first inning after a questionable walk. It looked like a perfect strike to make it strike three instead of ball four. A previous batter had a pitch called a ball instead of a strike too.

The relief pitchers gave up no runs in the all the innings they pitched though things did get tight with two runners on base in the ninth inning with Steve Cishek. Todd Frazier who hit the three-run homer off Felix was up again but this time Cishek struck him out. Cishek also pitched the tenth inning and Vidal Nuno followed in the eleventh. He got the win in the victory.

News happened during the game where it was announced that the Mariners had traded Mike Montgomery to the Chicago Cubs. It was confirmed just after the game. The Mariners got two players in return for Montgomery in Dan Vogelbach who was playing in Triple A for the Cubs. The Mariners also got pitcher Paul Blackburn who was pitching in Double A. The Mariners gave the Cubs minor league pitcher Jordan Pries as well. I know some will question the trade however Vogelbach is ten years younger than both Adam Lind and Dae-Ho Lee. He does bat left handed so the Mariners could be looking into trading Adam Lind who will be a free agent at the end of the season. Vogelbach could end up platooning with Lee the remaining of the season if and when Lind gets traded. Vogelbach is not the home run threat of either of them however can hit doubles and drive in runs along with a good batting average. Some may question that he is not athletic like Dipoto is looking for but my question is how many first basemen are that athletic. If the Mariners are looking for someone more athletic it likely is for an outfielder.

I am sure another reason that Montgomery was traded because the Mariners are log jammed far as left handed starters. They still have the two Wades in Miley and LeBlanc who each pitched fine in their last two outings. I am sure Dipoto discussed both of them with the Cubs to but Montgomery was the one they wanted. Montgomery is probably going to start in the bullpen with the Cubs and be put into the rotation if needed. Neither Miley nor LeBlanc have experience in the bullpen. So we will see happens in the next few days. Thursday will be an off day for the Mariners before they go against the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend on the road. Dipoto could be looking at doing something before that series starts too. The Mariners will have to make an announcement who will pitch Sunday in the place of Montgomery. I will say likely it will be LeBlanc who pitched before Miley in their last outings. The Mariners have next Thursday off as well so someone will probably be skipped in the rotation one time and be put into the bullpen. Be exciting to see what happens in the next ten days while the Mariners are out of town. Go M’s.

White Sox Take Game to Mariners

Tuesday’s game between the Seattle Mariners and the Chicago White Sox sure looked a lot like Monday’s game until the end of the game. This time Adam Lind was unable to be the hero though. I am sure the odd of that happening twice in two games is pretty rare.

Wade Miley pitched six innings in the same manner as the other Wade on Monday Night. He gave up home runs that gave him three earned runs and the White Sox a 3-0 lead however Benoit who has been struggling of late gave up three more runs after Tom Wilhelmsen and Edwin Diaz both did fine job in relief. Benoit’s pitching put the Mariners out of the game and the White Sox won 6-1.

I believe that Benoit is still having problems with his shoulder. Today the Mariners will be activating Felix Hernandez to pitch Wednesday’s final game against the White Sox in this series. The Mariners could put him on the disabled list or it could be the time to release him as well. I am not sure which will go into the bullpen however Miley or LeBlanc are headed there. I am not sure whether Miley has ever relieved before so I would not be surprised if LeBlanc is headed to the bullpen.

There is a good possibility to that Dave Rollins will be headed back to Tacoma so Benoit likely will stay active. I wonder how much time the Mariners will keep him on the roster. Will they try to trade him too though he probably doesn’t have much value for a player in return unless it is for a player named later or a prospect.

The Mariners are expected to make other roster changes on Wednesday besides in the bullpen. Daniel Robertson and Jesus Sucre are expected to be sent back to Tacoma while Aoki and Mike Zunino will be brought back up. I wonder if Aoki purpose of returning is to show case him for other teams who may look at getting an extra outfielder. I am sure the Mariners will get a prospect in return as well for him.

Whatever happens on Wednesday will determine what will happen on the roster for July and the rest of the season. Iannetta continues to struggle though he has been working with hitting coach Edgar Martinez. I am sure if the problem of hitting continues for him we will be seeing more of Zunino in the batting order. We hope that Zunino will be able to contribute for the rest of the season. If he struggles again in the same manner as last season it would not surprise me the Mariners will try to trade him.

Felix Hernandez goes to the mound this afternoon. I am not sure what we all expect however if he is able to look healthy and pitch at least OK then the Mariners will be in a good place in the rotation. The Mariners have three days off in the next week including Thursday so likely someone in the rotation will pitch out of the bullpen for one round. The likelihood that would be Mike Montgomery since he has the experience of pitching in relief; the Mariners had only one day off the rotation would be steady but with three days off a four-man rotation makes perfect sense.

We hope that the Mariners will be able to finish off the White Sox on their way to Toronto to face the Blue Jays. We hope that the Mariners can go back to their winning ways on the road. In the meantime go M’s.

Adam Lind Blast Away

Going into the ninth inning things did not look good for the Mariners to win Monday’s game against the Chicago White Sox. Chris Sale the ace for the Chicago White Sox who started in the All-Star Game gave up one hit in the first inning to Franklin Gutierrez and sailed through the rest of the game.

There is a good possibility Sale would have pitched the ninth inning if Gutierrez had not gotten that hit in the first inning. The White Sox had a 3-0 lead going into the ninth inning on two home runs off of Mariner starter Wade LeBlanc. On the positive side LeBlanc and the Mariner relievers were able to keep the score at 3-0 otherwise the walk-off homer by Adam Lind would not have happened.

Franklin Gutierrez again started off the ninth inning with a single and scored on a hit by Kyle Seager. It was nice to see Seager bounce back from a terrible game on Sunday. The Mariners were still behind 3-1 when Adam Lind came to bat with two outs but like in a previous walk-off homer this one was no doubt either. Lind has not had the greatest season so far for the Mariners however he has done well especially these two times with his homers. This gives him fourteen home runs for the season. If the Mariners plan to trade him before the trading deadline Monday’s night game certainly game him more value. The Mariners could get a better player than just a minor league prospect. His homer gave the Mariners one game above .500 to stay in the hunt for a few more days anyway whether the Mariners are in the playoffs and being buyers or sellers before July is over.

The other Wade in Miley will be taking the mound for the Mariners on Tuesday night. For him to stay in the rotation since Felix will be starting on Wednesday afternoon Miley will almost have to match LeBlanc. There is a good possibility one of them will be going into the bullpen. Dave Rollins who got his first major league win Monday night likely will be sent back down to Tacoma when Felix is activated for Wednesday’s game.

I have heard that Aoki and Mike Zunino may be brought back up from Tacoma on Wednesday as well. In this case Dave Robertson and Jesus Sucre both will be sent back to Tacoma. Zunino was removed in Tacoma’s game Monday night when he was hit by a pitch. This likely was for precautionary reasons. If this is what happens on Wednesday Aoki will be back into the lineup and playing left field against right handers. Zunino and Iannetta who has been struggling with the bat will alternate behind the plate.

It is now five days until Ken Griffey Junior will be inducted along with Mike Piazza into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Junior got the most votes ever for a player and was three votes short of getting 100 percent which would have been the first time in Hall of Fame history. The three writers should be ashamed of themselves. They could have helped make history instead they choose not to do so.

Junior and Willie Mays who I loved watching as a kid are the greatest two centerfielders if not players in the history of baseball. I got the privilege of seeing more of Griffey then Mays because of television. I was only able to see Mays once a week on television at the very most. Since the Mariners were not yet around the weekly Saturday games showed a lot of the Giants. I am not sure who the best was between them but it was very close for sure. One was either 1a or the other 1b. If Mays not had to deal with the winds of Candlestick Park and Junior with injuries there is no doubt they would be number one and two in home runs ahead of Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron. Both had speed and power along with playing the best defense ever seen in centerfield. Junior chose not to steal a lot of bases though he could have if he wanted to. I believe that Mays stole more bases than Junior but he could have stolen more as well. Thank you both for allowing me to watch you play baseball in my lifetime. I hope that I will be able to see them shake hands on Sunday when Junior is inducted in. I won’t be able to be there for the ceremony however I was at the Hall of Fame five years ago visiting with my younger brother Jack.

We do hope the Mariners will be able to win the game on Sunday in Toronto on Sunday to honor Junior as well. Everyone in Seattle whether a big baseball fan or not I am sure will be thinking of you that day Junior. Thank you wants again for your great baseball and crashing into the fence on numerous times. The video showing you rounding third base and sliding into home with that signature smile of yours on the greatest hit in Mariner by Edgar Martinez. Go Griffey and the M’s.

Mariners Play Badly

Actually to say the Seattle Mariners played badly on Sunday was an understatement. In his post-game press conference manager Scott Servais said it was the worst game they had played all season long.

I am not sure whether anyone played worse than Kyle Seager did as he had two errors early in the game and struck out twice with the bases loaded. His first two at bats were with the bases loaded and on the first one he actually hit a ball that looked like it could be a grand slam however it went foul before he struck out. If I recall he struck out at least a third time in the game. So this was a game that Seager will soon forget.

Mike Montgomery pitched five innings giving up four runs with three them earned. I am not sure he really deserved to be charged for three runs but you can’t blame the guy for pitching poorly because of the defense. Actually in the first inning he got out of it with the Mariners only giving up one run to the Astros and then in the second he gave up no runs despite continued problem with the defense.

Nathan Karns had a poor outing giving up four runs in his one inning of work after Tom Wilhelmsen came in after Montgomery. At that point the game likely was lost anyway. Benoit and Dave Rollins each followed off pitching an inning each without giving up a run.

The Mariners are now even on the season and they now go against the Chicago White Sox in a three game series before heading to Toronto for a weekend series against the Blue Jays. The first game the Mariners face White Sox ace Sale. So not a good way to start off the series however they will have their left handed platooned lineup in; we will probably see Franklin Gutierrez in right field as Nelson Cruz DH. With a tough lefthander Leonys Martin could have the day off. So we could see both Daniel Robertson and Shawn O’Malley in the lineup. Chris Iannetta will be back into the lineup after taking both Saturday and Sunday off.

The Mariners will need to play their A game to beat the White Sox. Actually nothing new because I see the only chance the Mariners have to win most games they have to be at their best especially against the teams ahead of them.

I have read some from some whether the Mariners should be buyers, sellers or holders. I would like them to be buyers when it comes to getting someone who will help them this year and at least next year. Being sellers would be to trade those who are not in the plans for next season. I don’t see them as holders because they do lack some places on the twenty-five roster. I see being a buyer and seller in combination. For example if they can trade Adam Lind who will be a free agent at the end of the season and likely won’t be resigned by the Mariners along with Aoki who I don’t see either returning in a package deal. There could be a contending team that could use a first baseman or designated hitter along with an extra outfielder. In this case likely the Mariners would get prospects back in return. The only other player the Mariners could trade as a seller would be Seth Smith if the Mariners have no plans for him next year. The question here will they get any value for him. I would say most likely not so trading him not a good idea. Nelson Cruz why would they even think about trading him if the Mariners plan to compete next year; again he would only bring back some prospects. Chris Iannetta could be a choice to trade to a team that needs a catcher whether starting or backup. In this case likely only get prospects in return unless the Mariners do a package deal. The Mariners could trade Mike Zunino in a good package deal but I don’t see that happening.

Continue being sellers the Mariners could trade Steve Cishek out of the bullpen or Wade Miley to a contending team that needs another starter. Again what will the Mariners get in return? Being a seller you get more during the off-season. I would see the Mariners going more for as a buyer because they will get more value that way instead of sellers. I am sure Dipoto is looking at teams below the Mariners especially to see what they have on their rosters to unload as sellers. Hard to say whether the Mariners will go for another starter in the rotation, a reliever or an outfielder. The next two weeks will be interesting leading into the trade dead line most on how they will do on the field in these two as well. Anyway let’s go M’s.

P.S. Just saw that the Cleveland Indians starting catcher is going on the DL and not expected to return anytime soon. So maybe Dipoto is talking with them about one of the Mariner catchers. Not only Iannetta or Zunino they could discuss Jesus Sucre who the Mariners likely would not get much for though.