Smyly Out For a While

Most of us heard this week that Drew Smyly was put on the extended disabled list because he is going to be having surgery for Tommy John. We had heard earlier the Mariners were expecting him back after the All-Star break but sometimes these things happen.

During spring training he had such a great outing pitching against Felix Hernandez in the baseball classic but he got hurt shortly after that game. Interesting that everyone on the Mariners who played in the classic either got hurt or they have had poor performances for the team. We know how Diaz and Gallardo both have pitched during the season and then Segura has been hurt twice, Robinson Cano on the disabled list once and Nelson Cruz having to be dealing with injuries though he hasn’t been put on the disabled list as of yet.

This season with all these injuries I am sure the Mariners won’t allow any major leaguers to play in the classic next time. Those injuries may have happened anyway but we will never know.

Smyly now going through surgery means that the Mariners won’t be seeing him pitch for them at least until the last part of 2018 if not until 2019; actually he may never pitch for the Mariners.

The question now will the Mariners go out and pick up another starting pitcher for the stretch run or wait until next year. All this may depend on how they do going into the All-Star break. If they are still around the .500 mark for record Dipoto may decide to swing a deal otherwise may wait until the off-season.

What the Mariners give up will depend on whether they go after a fourth or fifth starter before the trading deadline or someone higher. A fourth or fifth starter the Mariners will likely trade some low minor leaguers however if they go for someone who is above those grades they may have to trade a double A or triple A prospect. Most likely what Dipoto will want he will have to wait until off-season unless he feels strongly that the Mariners can make the playoffs with one or two pitcher. This would apply to the bullpen as well as a starter.

I don’t think that Dipoto will look to sell off anyone during July or August for that matter. The reason I believe that is not the way he thinks. He will want to trade to make the team better. With the young pitchers the Mariners have used I am sure Dipoto and Servais know who they want to keep and who they don’t want to keep. The only player I see the Mariners selling off would be Jarrod Dyson because he is going to be a free agent at the end of the season and this would give Guillermo Heredia more playing time. If he is traded likely Leonys Martin will be brought up to take his spot. The Mariners could trade Steve Cishek as well depending on what they would get in return. One thing for sure the Mariners will need to build up the bullpen for next season. Outside of Nick Vincent they need someone who can pitch either the seventh or eighth inning. I am not sure how they are thinking regarding the closer position. We will see. In the meantime the Mariners take on the Angels in Anaheim over the weekend. Go M’s.

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Disappointing Losses

The Seattle Mariners started the latest home stand in great fashion sweeping the Detroit Tigers in four games however since then they struggled to get any wins. The first game against the Houston Astros they won with the return of King Felix however they lost the final two games to the Astros though circumstances could have been where they would have won at least one of the two and then they lost both games against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The two games against the Phillies were very disappointing because the Mariners are playing at home against the worst team in the major leagues. We know that the Phillies would have the incentive to win because of the two losses to the Mariners in a large margin back in Philadelphia a few weeks ago.

I know that most of us expected that the Mariners would win both games or at least split the series but losing both makes us shake our heads. The losses both came down to the poor pitching performances by closer Edwin Diaz.

The loss in the first game Diaz came in with the Mariners behind so it was understandable that he needed the work however he gave up four runs before being replaced. Although he was behind the Mariners at least had a chance to come back to win however in the second game the Mariners were leading by one run going into the top of the ninth inning. King Felix pitched six innings giving up three runs on five hits. He looked like he was in line to win. James Pazos and Nick Vincent kept the game where the Mariners had the one run lead. All Edwin Diaz needed to do was shut the door on the Phillies however he gave up a home run to Tommy Joseph in the top of the ninth with no outs. The Mariners still had a good chance to come back to win if Diaz got the final three outs but walked a batter than a balk before giving up a single for the Phillies to take the lead. The chances are the Mariners could have still won the game however the go ahead run made it difficult. The Mariners were unable to score in the bottom of the ninth. So this made the home stand end up being a 5-4 record. I am sure most were hoping for a 7-2 record after the sweep of the Tigers.

The Seattle Mariners seem not to be able to get over the .500 mark for any length of time. Now they go to Anaheim to take on the Angels who have been playing well without the services of Mike Trout. Before the last four losses going to Anaheim looked like a good short trip as the Mariners return home after playing them three games. Now we hope that the Mariners can regroup against the Angels.

The series against the Angels seems more in need than it did before playing the Astros and especially now after the Phillies. At least the Mariners have Thursday off before playing the Angels on Friday. It will be important for Sam Gaviglio to pitch the way he has for the Mariners so far. If he can go five or six inning giving up three runs than the Mariners have a good shot. We hope that Diaz can correct himself in his pitching. According to manager Scott Servais it is his pitching selection as much as anything. I have heard that the pitcher has the last decision on what he selects as his pitch. Personally I think that is wrong when you are speaking about a young pitcher like Diaz. I believe that Diaz should throw whatever Zunino request him to do. If that is not the case than Servais and Zunino need to go over the pitching selection with him making him understand his responsibility.

After the series at Anaheim the Mariners come home to take on the Kansas City Royals in three games followed by the Oakland A’s for four games. When those series end it will be the All-Star break. The Mariners have ten home games for the rest of July after the break. It is important that they take care of winning in July because in August they have only seven games at home from August 10 thru the 16th.

The series between the Royals and the A’s will decide how the Mariners will do before the trading deadline.

The key going into the All-Star break is the play of the three guys in the middle of the lineup Cano, Cruz and Seager. They all have struggled to some point or another. Although he has had a few home runs of late Seager has been struggling at the plate for the most part. Also his defense has been questionable at times in key situations at time. The Mariners will need Seager to have a better second half for them to succeed over the first half. The Mariners will need the upper and lower part of the batting order to continue what they have been doing. Go M’s.

Mariners Take On Phillies

After losing the final two games to the Houston Astros the Seattle Mariners take on the Philadelphia Phillies for two games before another off-day and then three games in Los Angeles against the Angels before returning home for another series to complete most of June.

The Mariners did a great job against the Phillies when they were in Philadelphia recently so I figure that these two games they should handle them. We hope that James Paxton can rebound from his last three outings and Felix Hernandez can do what he did in his return to the mound last Friday against the Astros in the Mariners only win in the series.

The key to this series and in fact for the remaining of the season is that the starters can go at least six inning and giving up no more than three runs. With that happening we would only see three relief pitchers in any given game at the most. Having the off-day on Monday the relief pitchers will have some rest. Until Andrew Moore returns next week to make a start the Mariners will have nine relief pitchers to go with. Depending on the offense as well scoring enough runs the Mariners could have rookie Max Povse, Danny Altavilla and Yovani Gallardo able to go at least two innings in the next three games. This would leave six relievers to go no more than one inning in these three games. All works out the Mariners could repeat this as often as they can. Of course with an off day on Thursday the Mariners could go with only two of the three between Povse, Altavilla and Gallardo. Having last pitched three innings after Felix last Friday having Gallardo ready to go on Wednesday would be the way to go. If any of the games are close like a one run lead by the Mariners then I would go with Nick Vincent followed by Steve Cishek and then Edwin Diaz. When needed the two lefties can face any tough left handed batters late in the game. Tony Zych will be in the role of either pitching one or two innings as well.

The next thing is what Dipoto will do in July before the trading deadline. He could go after another starter or a reliever depending on the asking price. Also I could see going for a catcher to help spell Zunino. The only position would be an upgrade at utility. Taylor Motter has been struggling at the plate lately though he does play solid defense. A first baseman to help spell Danny Valencia would be nice too. In the end though pitching would be the first priority to upgrade the team. Go M’s.

The Mariners Developing Players

Those of us who have been Mariner fans for a long time do know that the team has had trouble developing players especially those who are regular players in the field.

Players like Ken Griffey Jr and Alex Rodriguez who were top pick in the draft already had the talent so the Mariners didn’t need to do too much developing. There have been other players who were high picks but did not go anywhere for example catcher Jeff Clement and then there is guys like Dustin Ackley and Mike Zunino who were brought up too early and needed more development.

The most recent player to be developed ad an everyday player for the Mariners was third baseman Kyle Seager and he actually started out on the team as a utility player. He never really played third base until he was on the team and Chone Figgins didn’t work out.

This year the Mariners have three outfielders who they either traded for or signed as a free agent. Ben Gamel the Mariners received from the New York Yankees in a trade late last year and Mitch Haniger in the off-season in the trade for pitcher TaiJuan Walker and shortstop Ketel Marte. These were two players that the Mariners developed themselves to some degree however were not at their development as of yet. Walker I would say was close but Marte is still a year or two away. The Mariners were able to pick up a shortstop that was ready to go as well in Jean Segura who the Mariners signed to a five year contract recently.

Last year the Mariners signed Guillermo Heredia as a free agent out of Cuba. Obvious he was almost ready to play in the major leagues. He started 2016 in double A and then triple A before coming up to the Mariners in August. With these three outfielders the Mariners now have that means outfielders like Tyler O’Neill and Kyle Lewis they can take the time to develop them into good players and don’t have to rush them.

At first base they have Danny Valencia so they can take the time with Daniel Vogelbach and D.J. Peterson to develop into major leaguers as well. Also they don’t have the pressure if neither of them pans out either. Vogelbach looks like more of a designated hitter in the long run. Peterson is having a good year in triple A so he could be on the Mariners later in the year or next year. Also they could use him in a trade as well. The Mariners number one draft pick was Evan White out of University of Kentucky who looks to play first base. The Mariners can take their time in developing him as well.

The three primary infield spots are already filled for some time so the Mariners can take their sweet time to develop those positions. The Mariners have a shortstop at Tacoma in Tyler Smith who can play second base as well. He most likely be turned into a utility player or be part of a trade as well.

So the other position left is catcher where Mike Zunino is starting to do well himself. He was another player that was rushed to the major leagues. Last year he spent most of the year in triple A to develop his hitting. He was a top rate defensive catcher already. In fact in May the Mariners had to send him down again to work his hitting. Right now he looks like he is the hitter the Mariners thought he could be. They don’t expect him to have a high average but somewhere between .230 and .250 would be fine. He has been hitting super in the month of June and driving in a lot of runs for the Mariners. He could be the real thing however we still have to wait to see.

The pitching the Mariners look like some good possibilities of those who should service in the next year or two. If you have to look on the positive side when it comes to the injuries to the starters the Mariners were able to use some pitchers who could be part of the staff real soon. They now know who could be and who likely won’t be or make some further development down the road. Andrew Moore who is the number two pitching prospect looked like the real thing last Thursday Night. He is expected to be the fifth starter for the time being. Now the Mariners have to see who they can develop in the bullpen besides Edwin Diaz as the closer. Dan Altavilla looks like the real thing if he can get his slider working along with his fastball. Now the Mariners have to look to see who can be setup men as well for the future. Other words who will work the sixth, seventh and eighth innings or whether they have to go out and get those pitchers. The Mariners can’t figure that Nick Vincent and Steve Cishek will last beyond another year or two. They may be able to use some excess starters to get those relievers.

Whether the Mariners make the playoffs this year or not the future does look good with the newest regime. Go M’s.

 

King Felix and His Band of Men

Felix Hernandez finally made his return to the mound for the Seattle Mariners since being out in late April. I am sure a lot of fans had questions on how he would do.

It looked like he still has some ways to go however he did do some good. It did not hurt that the Mariners scored early so it made the experience so much easier for Felix.

The Astros scored in the first inning on a home run by Jose Altuve. I am sure some fans like myself thought here we go again the Astros are going to beat up on the Mariners and the Felix on his return however the Mariners tied the score in the second inning on a double by Jarrod Dyson that scored Kyle Seager to make it 1-1.

The Mariners exploded for six runs in the third inning that included a three-run homer by catcher Mike Zunino who has been hot driving in runs the whole month of June. The Astros scored a run in the fourth inning to make it 7-2 however the Mariners returned the favor by scoring two to make it 9-2. The Mariners two runs in the fourth inning were solo homers by the red hot Ben Gamel who extended his hitting streak to fifteen games and Kyle Seager.

Alex Bergman hit a home run off of Felix in the top of the fifth inning however that ended the scoring for them while the Mariners scored three more runs in the seventh and one more in the eighth inning.

Felix pitched a sold six innings giving up the three runs. Usually the Mariners don’t score a lot of runs for Felix so I am sure he thought this is not the same Mariners. Yes Felix this is not the Mariners you once knew. Also it is something us fans have to get used to as well. Of course the offense will go dry once in a while but it does look like we will be seeing them scoring a lot of runs too. I give the team a good chance in winning if the offense scores at least five runs and the starting pitcher goes at least six innings and gives up three runs or less which Felix accomplished himself.

It was nice to see the bottom of the batting order continue hitting well along with the top of the order. Both Segura and Gamel each got two hits at the top of the order while Danny Valencia got hot again getting four hits and driving in two runs. Dyson and Zunino each got two hits as well as driving in runs. Both of them now are hitting over .250. Be a good offense if Dyson and Zunino stay around the .250 mark for the rest of the season.

Yovani Gallardo who was sent to the bullpen when the Mariners brought up Andrew Moore to make his debut on Thursday pitched the final three innings for the Mariners. He actually was given a save in the game. I know that it sounds odd however if a pitcher comes in and pitches three innings and is not the winning pitcher however completes the game he is given a save. In the three innings he gave up two hits along with a walk and a strike out. Most likely we will see him in games like this when the Mariners have a big lead or they are way behind as well. Looking at who is in the bullpen he looks like the primary candidate as the long reliever.

Andrew Moore was sent back down to Tacoma after his debut when the Mariners activated Felix. Having two days off next week the Mariners didn’t need a fifth starter so right now the Mariners have nine pitchers in the bullpen. In other news right now there is no news when Iwakuma will make another rehab assignment or be added to the rotation. He is working on his mechanics. In the meantime it is real nice to have Felix back in the rotation go M’s.

 

First Win Moore to Come

Andrew Moore made his debut on Thursday Night for the Seattle Mariners against the Detroit Tigers. I know a lot of people have started using puns with his name so I couldn’t resist using in the title.

Moore pitched a good game especially for his debut. He looks like a guy with a lot of confidence in his pitching. I am sure he will have some games where he won’t look as good however we hope that he looks a lot like he did on Thursday Night. He was able to pitch seven innings where he gave up three runs on six hits and struck out four without giving up a walk.

The Tigers first run off of Moore came in the third inning when Ian Kinsler hit a solo home run the third game in a row that he hit a home run. The Tigers got to Moore again in the fifth inning giving up two runs however he was able to make it through the seven innings.

The Mariners started their scoring in the second inning when Robinson Cano hit a two-run homer and they scored another run to make it 3-0. The Mariners scored two more runs in the bottom of the third after Kinsler’s home run to make it 5-1. Cano had another home run in the seventh inning. It was a grand slam home run to make the score 9-3.

Moore was replaced in the eighth inning because of the large lead in the game by Max Povse who also made his major league debut. Unfortunately he didn’t fare as we as Moore did. He actually gave up a home run to Miguel Cabrera with a runner on base to make the score 9-5. I thought at the time Cabrera was not kind to Povse hitting the home run however I am sure he has done that to other pitchers in their major league debuts as well. Povse looked good to the first two batters easy getting outs. Besides the home run Povse gave up a couple doubles as well for the Tigers to score another run off of him. I am sure that he will learn from this experience. He pitched only two-thirds of the inning when he was relieved by Tony Zych in the eighth inning. Zych was able to get the last out of the eighth inning so the Tigers didn’t get more runs in the game.

Steve Cishek pitched the ninth inning for the Mariners giving up no hits and striking out two. It gave him the first save of the season. He looked much better than the game he pitched before against the Tigers.

Ben Gamel extended his hitting streak in the game driving in two runs on a double. He continues to look great with his batting average now at .352. He batted seventh in the batting order on Thursday since the Mariners were facing Norris a lefty for the Tigers. Mitch Haniger was more in his familiar spot of being second in the batting order. They will be switching off between second and seventh. Gamel will bat second against righties while Haniger will against lefties. Haniger had a hit in the game scoring twice and his batting average at .320.

Gamel continues to hit well while hustling either at the plate or in the field. Regardless who are in the lineup the outfielders are all doing well. Facing Norris we saw Heredia playing in center field. He we will be at that position most of the time against lefties while Dyson will be against righties. Heredia will face righties on occasion when Haniger or Gamel need a rest. Since the Mariners have a day off next Monday and Thursday giving those two a rest won’t happen for probably a couple weeks.

Felix Hernandez makes his return to pitching Friday Night against division rival and leader the Houston Astros. It would be nice if the Mariners could win at least two of the three games against the Astros. The Mariners face Joe Musgrove who will go for the Astros. He has a record of 4-6 with an era of 5.09 in twelve starts. Hard to know how Felix will go Friday night however the Mariners do look like a good shot to win the game and go two games above .500. Go M’s.

Mariners Great Comeback!

The Seattle Mariners had probably had the best game they played this season with a great comeback. Justin Verlander had been pitching a no-hitter into the sixth inning with one out. No one on the Mariners looked like they were going to get a hit all evening when Jarrod Dyson decided to lay down a bunt for a single. When the inning ended the Mariners had scored three runs to come within a run 4-3. The seventh inning Mitch Haniger who had been moved down to seventh spot in the batting order hit a lead-off home run to tie the score4-4. The Mariners scored three more runs to take a three run lead of 7-4. In the top of the ninth inning Ian Kinsler hit a home run to make the final score 7-5. The Tigers did have a runner on base with two outs in the ninth when Miguel Cabrera came up to bat however he hit a grounder to end the game.

James Paxton struggled once again for the third time in a row. He went five and one-third innings giving up nine hits and four runs with three of them earned. The unearned run was on a throwing error by Jarrod Dyson. Paxton gave up two walks and struck out eight batters. He did look fine at times though so hopefully he will be on his way back. He should be back on the mound next Tuesday against the Philadelphia Phillies with the Mariners having an off day on Monday. So he will have an extra day off rest which we hope is good for him. Also allows him to work in the bullpen to before the next outing.

The Seattle Mariners made some roster moves on Wednesday before the game. They brought up starting pitcher Andrew Moore who will make his debut Thursday night against the Tigers. He is the 2nd ranked pitching prospect in the Mariners organization. He has worked his way up the organization in a good manner. The Mariners do feel that he is ready to go. He takes the spot in the rotation of Yovani Gallardo who has struggled in most of his starts. Gallardo is being sent to the bullpen and he will likely be the long reliever. Depending on how Moore does Thursday Night Gallardo could be the first pitcher out of the bullpen. Moore is the 2nd high pitching prospect to come up this week with Max Povse being recalled on Sunday Night. Povse still hasn’t made his debut as of yet either. Also depending on Moore’s performance he could make his debut tonight as well.

Friday Night is expected to be King Felix Hernandez return to the rotation. It would be nice if Moore and Felix both could go six innings in both games. Felix will be the first guy to face the Houston Astros in this three game series over the weekend. On Saturday Sam Gaviglio is expected to start. Originally the start was between him and Bergman however Bergman was sent down to Tacoma with the promotion of Andrew Moore. We hope that all three of these pitchers will be able to go a minimum of six innings so the relievers won’t be over used. Diaz having pitched the last four games he is not expected to pitch Thursday Night.

Daniel Norris will be going for the Tigers who are hoping not to be swept by the Mariners. Norris is a lefty so Haniger will be back in familiar spot of second in the batting order. As of now Ben Gamel will be second in the order against righties while Haniger will be against lefties. Haniger was seventh in the batting on Wednesday night so Gamel should be hitting seventh while Guillermo Heredia should be batting eighth in front of Mike Zunino.

With the return of Jean Segura Wednesday night the batting order looks real good for the Mariners. They will have an effective hitter batting second as well as seventh. Quite the lineup that is for sure and I believe that Gamel will play first base soon to give Danny Valencia a day off against a tough right hander. Whatever the case the Mariners offense looks good for us to see on a regular basis. Go M’s.