Sixth Inning Mariner’s Downfall

Going into the Sixth Inning the Mariners were leading the Houston Astros 4-2 on Tuesday night. It looked like the Mariners were on their way to another victory. I thought it would be nice if they could score a couple more runs to have a safe lead. Felix struggled giving up two runs in the first inning however his pitch count was low and should be able to get through the seventh inning at least if not the eighth inning. Then something happened that caused this to go the wrong way and give the victory to the Astros. With one out and two runners on base a ball was hit straight to Marte who was close to the second base bag and Robinson was there to make the routine double play. Marte had other thoughts and decided to make the play all by himself. Like in other situations in the season he was erratic. He stepped on second and then threw the ball past first base for an error. The inning should have been over and the score still at 4-2. Felix would than go on and pitch the seventh inning. The runner on third scored to make it 4-3. OK the Mariners have been in a lot of one run games so this will be another one of those. It would be nice if they could score another run or two however that is not what happened. Next thing I knew the Astros scored six runs in the sixth inning to make it 8-4 and the Mariners onto a loss they could not afford. In fact this loss may have cost them a place in the playoffs. The Mariners now have five games remaining and are two games behind the Baltimore Orioles. Those same Orioles had lost that day to the Toronto Blue Jays who look like the team to be the first wild card. The win for the Mariners which should have happened would have put them one game behind the Orioles.

During the season the Mariners have lost several games in a similar fashion to this game however they could not really afford a loss here. They now have to win all five remaining games and hope the Orioles lose three games. The season that could have been or better said should have been the Mariners lose out on the playoffs; a disappointment for all of us over a play that should have been routine.

Even before this play occurred I was wondering why Marte was playing so close to second base with a right handed batter up to bat. In fact the whole game it looked like he was playing that way. Was he told by the coaches to do so or he decided on his own? If Marte had been playing at standard shortstop position the first hit would have likely been an out and no runs would have scored in the sixth inning. A lot of media and fans alike have wondered about Marte whether he is the right man playing shortstop. Even some were thinking that Shawn O’Malley should be playing shortstop. I was giving him the benefit however now I believe like most O’Malley should be at short and what is the future for Marte at short and the Mariners. Just like catcher and centerfield the shortstop position is one of three key positions on the field. You must have someone who can play a consistent game and make the routine plays. He messed up a play that was nothing more than routine. He didn’t have to dive for the ball all he had to do is flip to Cano who would then throw it onto first base. Obviously we see that Marte has talent. He can run and he has hit good a lot of the season except recently but his defense is not solid at all. The question now is shortstop the best position for him. Maybe he would be better at second base. If that is the case than the Mariners will need to trade him during the off-season because we know that Robinson Cano will be the second baseman for several more years. During the trading deadline Dipoto tried to get a veteran shortstop from the Cincinnati Reds however the time runs out. I am sure he will get back together with the Reds during the off-season to see if they are still interested in making a trade. Since the Reds are in a rebuilding mode I would not be surprised if they include Marte in the trade. So the Mariners should move on at shortstop. Well they have five games remaining in the season so let’s see if they can win these games and by some miracle get into the playoffs. Go M’s.

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