Mariners Take Series and Road Trip

Sunday the Mariners behind the pitching of Marco Gonzales and the hitting of Robinson Cano, Jean Segura, Dee Gordon and Ryon Healy to name a few. Cano had his one hundredth home run as a Mariner on Sunday and then Ryon Healy who had his first as a Mariner on Saturday had two more on Sunday. This does not include Mitch Haniger who had his eleventh for the season and has driven in twenty-seven runs batted in. I expected the Mariners to win because Josh Tomlin the starter for the Indians was struggling going into this game unlike the other three starters who pitched for the Indians in the series.

Gonzales went six innings in the game giving up two runs on six hits one was a home run by right fielder Brandon Guyer in the second inning. Dan Altavilla came into the game in the seventh inning and struggled giving up two runs walking two batters though he didn’t give up a hit. James Pazos actually came in for Altavilla surrendered a double that scored both runners that Altavilla walked. That was it for the game for runs scored by the Indians in the 10-4 win. Besides the two home runs Healy scored three runs total and so did Haniger. Dee Gordon had the most hits in the game with four. Including the four home runs the Mariners had a total of fourteen hits which ten were off of Tomlin. The Mariners now have Monday off before facing the Oakland A’s on Tuesday with Felix Hernandez taking the mound.

Mariners On Friendly Road Trip

I figured that the Mariners would do well playing in Texas and Chicago because neither team is that good but to do the same in Cleveland is an added plus.

The Mariners beat the Rangers two out of three than went to Chicago and did the same even though they were crushed in the first game. The great thing is the Mariners have played well enough to beat two of Cleveland best pitchers. On Thursday they scored four runs against Mike Clevenger in six innings getting eight hits off him. Clevenger has an era of 2.56 after the loss. Wednesday they had trouble for most of the game not able to hit Corey Kluber until Mitch Haniger got a two-run homer in the seventh inning. Kluber pitched until two outs in the ninth inning. Zunino three homer off closer Cody Allen narrowed Cleveland’s lead to 6-5 which turned out to be the final score.

Saturday though the Mariners started the game off with a home run by Jean Segura in the first inning with leadoff hitter Dee Gordon on base to make it 2-0. Nelson Cruz who had four hits in the game got a solo homer in the first inning to make it 3-0. The Mariners scored two more runs in the third after the Indians scored one in the bottom of the second to make the score 5-1. The Mariners really blew the game open when they scored five runs including a two run homer by Kyle Seager. Yonder Alonso hit another home run against the Mariners with a runner on base to make the score 10-3. Cleveland scored their final run in the sixth inning that ended Leake’s time on the mound. James Pazos pitched the seventh inning followed by Vincent in the eighth and Bradford in the ninth. It was another game where the Mariners’ bullpen didn’t give up a hit or a walk in three innings. This allows the bullpen to be at full strength going to Sunday’s game and they have Monday off with their return to Seattle.

The key to the Mariners road trip has been the pitching of the bullpen. Most of the games on this trip have been won by one run. The Mariners have a good chance to take the final game of the series against the Indians facing Josh Tomlin who gave up five runs on seven hits including four home runs against the Chicago Cubs last Tuesday pitching three and two-thirds inning. He has a record of 0-3 with an era of 9.24 in three games started though he has been in four games. In all he has given up eight home runs in twelve and two-thirds innings. This is a game that Mariners need get to Tomlin early. The key again is Dee Gordon and Jean Segura to get on base to start off the game. Whether the Mariners win or not they will win at least six games on this ten game road trip. Be really good if the Mariners can make it seven. Like I say the Mariners are feeling comfortable on the road. Go M’s.

Mariners Lose a Close One

The Seattle Mariners actually game wasn’t even close until the seventh inning on Friday Night. The Cleveland Indians went into the seventh with a 6-0 lead behind the pitching of Corey Kluber who went eight and 2/3 innings. Mitch Haniger hit his ninth home run in the seventh with Kyle Seager on base to make the score 6-2. Mike Zunino made the game interesting two outs with Seager and Haniger on base hitting a home run to make it 6-5. It was Zunino’s third home run of the season all this week when activated off the disabled list. I have seen some Mariner fans post that Zunino should be given a contract extension but I don’t agree until the end of the current season. If Zunino continues to hit especially with power the remaining of the season I am up for it however he starts struggling again than I don’t think so.

In his second start since being activated Erasmo Ramirez had a poor performance giving up five home runs. At this point the question is should the Mariners give him another start right now. The Mariners have next Monday off so the fifth starter would not be scheduled again until Wednesday if they go that way. Personally I would not go with a fifth starter and then the following Monday May 7 is another day off. It will be a difficult decision for the Mariners to decide whether to skip the fifth starter at least one time but that is what I would do. I would use Ramirez in the bullpen in the meantime and then either pitch him when the fifth starter is needed or go with either Ariel Miranda or Rob Whalen. The problem is that Ramirez is out of options so the Mariners would have to dfa him.

Guillermo Heredia was back in the lineup Friday for Tacoma after being hit in the wrist a few days ago. He went 2 for 4 in the game for the Rainiers. Next week when the Mariners return home Heredia will be eligible to return to Seattle. It will be interesting to see what the Mariners will do. Will it be the time to release Ichiro or not? Another question is the utility role position. At this time Andrew Romine doesn’t have a hit in fourteen at bats. Is it time to bring Motter back up and release Romine? It is  tough question because with Ryon Healy back at first base there is not a lot of reason to platoon at first base unless he struggles against righties. Romine can hit against righties because he is a switch hitter but  he doesn’t have any power since the most home runs he has hit in a season is four.  Motter on the other hand is a right handed hitter so likely he would not be used much unless you give Healy a day off against a lefty. The rest of the infield position players take very few days off so the only reason to bring back Motter would be in case of injuries. So Dipoto will have to make some hard decisions over the next week in regards to Ichiro and Ramirez along with Heredia, Miranda and Whalen. Go M’s.

Mariners Going For Two

I am not sure how many were surprised or not however the Mariners beat the Cleveland Indians in the first game of the series on Thursday 5-4. This series looking at the starting pitching the Indians would look at winning three out of four games. The Indians are pitching three pretty good pitchers in the series. The Mariners were able to hit Clevenger pretty well leading to a 4-0 lead. The Mariners were leading going into the seventh inning when they took out James Paxton who had thrown over a hundred pitches and struck out ten batters. The Indians were able to come back to tie the score because the poor pitching of Nick Vincent and the scrabble man. Dan Altavilla was able to save the inning then Juan Nicasio and Edwin Diaz shut the door in the eighth and ninth innings. Diaz was able to get his eleventh save of the season. At this rate he will break the record of saves in a season whatever that is. It is nice to have a closer that can do what he is doing in all these one run victories.

Right now the Mariners will need to look at making some changes in the middle of the bullpen for the seventh inning. Nick Vincent seems to struggle on the road while doing well at home. I am sure it has to do with how often he has to pitch as well. I know James Pazos mentioned how important the job that Wade LeBlanc did on Monday so they would have an extra day of rest. Pazos mentioned about the key for him to pitch every third day. At this point I would look at putting him in every third day. It might be a good idea for Vincent to pitch every three days as well.

So if I were the Mariners staff I would pitch Wade LeBlanc every four days a couple of innings depending on the score. I know being a long reliever it can be hard to judge because one of the starters could last only three or four innings then they would need him available but you may have to take the chance you may not be able to use him. I would use James Pazos every three days as he mentioned being the affective. He is like LeBlanc he can go more than one inning. Chasen Bradford the same way every three days. He can go a couple innings if necessary as well. Dan Altavilla goes every three days as well and again he can go a couple of innings too. The Mariners should not count on Vincent to pitch the seventh inning. Depending how much rest the bullpen is getting he could pitch the eighth as well giving Nicasio a day off. Edwin Diaz has now pitched three days in a row so the Mariners will need to give him a day off. Nicasio is the best one to close but he has pitched several days in a row too. Hopefully the Mariners will be in a position where they are ahead with more than one run. A three run lead into the ninth inning would be nice. Anyway that is my though about the bullpen.

It was nice though that Nelson Cruz hit a double and then Seager another one to put the Mariners up by one run. It would have been a sad state to lose the game after getting up 4-0 against a very good pitcher. It would be nice to see the same Friday night go Mariners!!

Mariners Take Two

Monday night the Seattle Mariners had a big loss to the Chicago White Sox 10-4 however they responded by winning the last games of the series. The White Sox are a struggling team but the Mariners usually play to the level of the competition. It was important that they take the remaining two games which they did. Marcos Gonzales had a good outing on Tuesday and then Wednesday came from behind for a 4-3 win.

What helped the Mariners out was the bullpen who did not give up a hit or a run in both of the wins. They pitched a total of six innings while Gonzales and Felix Hernandez each went six innings.

The Mariners starters have struggled in the most part early on in the season however the offense has done its job most of the time. Felix was able to go six innings against the White Sox giving up three runs on seven hits, walked two batters and struck out four on ninety-five pitches. If Felix can do that on a regular basis the Mariners should win many of his games. What would even be better if he could throw between ninety-five and a hundred pitches over seven innings.

The hitting heroes of the game were Nelson Cruz who drove in two runs on three hits including a double. It is nice to see Cruz get back to hitting well after being on the disabled list. Jean Segura continues to hit well getting two hits and driving in a run. The ultimate hero was Mike Zunino who hit a solo homer his second in this series to win the game. The Mariners could use both of them in the series coming up against the Cleveland Indians. Thursday’s game is an afternoon game so starting in a few hours.

The Indians will be hard to beat because they are pitching their big guns in the series in the first three games. James Paxton will go for the Mariners against Clevenger in this game that has a 2-0 record. The Mariners will need to get to him early like most top pitchers to win the game. Paxton on the other hand will need to rebound from his last outing.

News yesterday the Mariners are going to activate first baseman Ryon Healy Thursday and Daniel Vogelbach who has been struggling as of late is being optioned to Tacoma. Also in the Rainiers game Wednesday Guillermo Heredia was hit in the wrist so he was taken out for precautions and news is that he may be out for a few games. This could mean that he may stay for additional games with the Rainiers and Ichiro stay longer for the Mariners. It will be interesting to see what the Mariners and Dipoto will do when Heredia is ready to go and what happens with Ichiro. Go M’s.

Gonzales and Mariners Shut Out White Sox

Tuesday’s game against the Chicago White Sox was one that a single mistake could lose the game. I was nervous because Kyle Seager made a couple errors however he made up for because he scored the only run in the game being driven in by the red hot Mitch Haniger. It was the only hit that Haniger had but good timing for sure.

Both teams had only five hits in the game. Fortunately the pitching was able to stand pat after each of Seager’s errors. Marco Gonzales gave up all five of the hits in six innings. Only one that was a double went for extra bases. The hit was by second baseman Yoan Moncada. Leadoff hitter and shortstop Tim Anderson was the only White Sox player to get two hits.  The two remaining hits were by third baseman Yolmer Sanchez and catcher Wellington Castillo.

Besides the two hits by Kyle Seager and the hit that Mitch Haniger had to drive him in the other two hits done by the Mariners were by Robinson Cano who is off to a good start this season with a batting average of .312 and left fielder Ben Gamel. It was nice to see the bullpen do an outstanding job not giving up a single hit over three innings. Dan Altavilla started off getting two outs in the seventh inning followed scrabble for the final out on one pitch. Juan Nicasio pitched the eighth inning getting a strike out and throwing fifteen pitches with fourteen of them being strikes. Edwin Diaz got his ninth save of the season striking out two including the last batter.

The Mariners now have a record of 12-10 being in third place three games behind the Houston Astros and only a half-game ahead of the Oakland A’s with a record of 12-11. The Texas Rangers continue to struggle at home being in last place with a record of 8-16.

The Mariners have an early game tomorrow to end the series against the White Sox before going to Cleveland for a four game series against the Indians. Felix Hernandez will be going for the Mariners while James Shields for the White Sox. This could be an interesting game since neither pitcher is who they once were though Felix has been pitching pretty well this season outside of a bad outing. James Paxton who struggled badly in his last outing on Saturday will take the mound on the first game of the series against the Indians.

We hope that the Mariners offense can come alive behind Felix instead of scoring a few runs in his outings. Go M’s.

Monday Mariners Reacquire Elias

We got the news on Monday morning that the Seattle Mariners reacquired Roenis Elias from the Boston Red Sox. The Mariners traded Elias with Carson Smith for Jonathan Aro and Wade Wiley in December 2015. Neither Aro nor Wiley are with the Mariners. In fact the Mariners traded Wiley to the Baltimore Orioles for Ariel Miranda. Now these two pitchers will be teammates with the Tacoma Rainiers and are both left handed.

Elias started the season in Pawtucket the triple A team for the Boston Red Sox. He has been working out of the bullpen however the Mariners are hoping to use him as a starter once again. This certainly gives them depth at the spot just in case they desire another lefty in the rotation. Right now they have James Paxton how has started outed struggling and not looking like the ace the Mariners are hoping for. I am sure he will find his way back to being at the top rotation guy.

Whether they go into the rotation or not Miranda and Elias both will be guys that could work out of the bullpen as long relievers or pitching for an inning or two if necessary. Miranda already made a start for the Mariners as the fifth starter than was sent back to Tacoma when Erasmo Ramirez was given the chance to start on Sunday.

Mike Leake pitched on Monday for the Mariners however he struggled right off the bat (no pun intended) giving the Chicago White Sox batting practice. By the time the first inning was over he had given up five runs. He ended up going four and a two-third innings. When he left the game the Sox had scored eight runs on twelve hits including two home runs. His control was over the plate so much that he didn’t even give up a walk and struck out only one batter. You could say it wasn’t his day.

Wade LeBlanc who is the primary long reliever was able to pitch the rest of the game which was good since the Mariners had to use the bullpen on Saturday and Sunday as well. LeBlanc gave up six hits and two runs so he actually allowed the Mariners to have some chance to get back into the game though the likelihood wasn’t good. It was amazing because the White Sox offense has struggled for the season but this time they let the Mariners pay for it.

The Mariners were blank 8-0 going into the fifth inning when Mike Zunino hit his first homer of the season to make the score 8-2. Mariners scored a run in the seventh inning and then Mitch Haniger who is hotter than blazes hit his eighth homer of the season to give the Mariners four runs in the 10-4 loss.

The Mariners go again this evening with Marco Gonzales who pitched well for four innings in his last outing before getting into little trouble. The Mariners are hoping that he can go at least five if not six innings in this game.

Felix Hernandez will take the mound on Wednesday in an afternoon game before the Mariners go off for Cleveland to play the Indians between Thursday thru Sunday. At this time  Felix is the Mariners most consistent starter though he hasn’t been able to pitch beyond the sixth inning. We hope that Wednesday’s game will be the one that help the Mariners win two out of three games.

It is important that the Mariners take care of the White Sox who have been struggling early on this season. The White Sox are 5-14 a half-game ahead of the Kansas City Royals in fourth place while the Cleveland Indians are first place in the American League Central at 12-8. So we say once again Go M’s.

Roster Changes

The Mariners had to make a roster change on Sunday to activate Erasmo Ramirez to start the game in which he lasted four and two/thirds innings giving up five runs. Like most Mariner pitchers especially starters he gave up two home runs in the third inning that allowed three runs total. I guess we have to question whether Ramirez was ready to go or not.

Anyway the Mariners made a roster move that was not very popular with a lot of Mariner fans including myself when they optioned Guillermo Heredia to Tacoma to make room for Ramirez. Of course whoever was going to be the fifth starter the Mariners had to make a move. The reason they gave for Heredia was that the team wasn’t going to face another left handed starter the rest of the road trip and if it weren’t for James Paxton’s poor outing on Saturday likely they would sent down a pitcher from the bullpen. General Manager Jerry Dipoto basically said so and they wanted to keep Ichiro around because he is a mentor to the younger players which I include Heredia in and the veterans as well. He said that it wasn’t an easy choice to make.

The Mariners will have to make another roster move over the next several days where Ryon Healy will be done with his rehab assignment. Who they will send down is anyone’s guess though Daniel Vogelbach is the likely choice. Heredia is expected to return when the ten days are over and he is eligible to do so. It will be interesting whether he will or not depending on the pitching situation at the time.

Right now the Mariners have three left handed hitting outfielders and one right handed one in Mitch Haniger if you don’t count Nelson Cruz. The Mariners really need to go with two right handed hitters and two left handed hitters. Sunday the Mariners had the bases loaded with two outs and Vogelbach scheduled to hit however a lefty came into the game so they brought Mike Zunino who had the day off to pinch hit. Zunino is someone who is all or noth type of hitter. If they had less than two outs I could understand using Zunino in this spot but they had two outs. Heredia would have been the perfect choice if he had still been on the roster because he is a contact hitter. The Mariners could have scored a run to tie the game with a sacrifice fly or gone ahead with a single scoring the runner on second as well but Zunino struck out to end the inning. Heredia does the little things that don’t always show up plus he is involved in rallies for the Mariners as well. Saturday night he started off getting on base that led the Mariners to scoring five runs and this doesn’t count his defense.

A lot of people will say the Mariners did win two out of three in Texas however they could have swept them as well. Another thing is how well will Ben Gamel be playing during this stretch. He finally got a hit and scored a run in this game but previous nine at bats he went hitless. So with him and Zunino the bottom of the batting isn’t doing so well. Of course we can’t forget about Vogelbach as well since he has struggled since he hit his home run last Saturday.

Another thing about Heredia I like his enthusiasm along with Dee Gordon in the dugout and I find it interesting they gave Gordon the day off at the same time optioning Heredia and keeping Ichiro.

I just hope this stretch without Heredia will not hurt the team in the but. We will see indeed and how much will Ichiro play as well? I am sure at some point they will give Haniger a day off and Gamel to especially if he continues to struggle at the plate. Dipoto please bring Heredia back when he is eligible to return and if you have to dfa Ichiro so be it. Remember to if the Mariners don’t make the playoffs you could lose your job and keeping Ichiro worth it.

Mariners Bat’s Alive

The Mariners had a tough time at home against the Houston Astros because of the pitching and then on Friday started poorly against the Rangers finally scoring four runs in the ninth inning. On Saturday the Mariners had a really good day hitting the ball. For them to the win the game they had to hit because James Paxton struggled off starting the game throwing more than thirty pitches in the first inning. He was fortunate to only give up a run that inning. The Mariners tied in the top of the  3rd inning however the Rangers scored three runs in the bottom of the 3rd to take 4-1 lead.

Nelson Cruz had an outstanding game getting three hits including a two-run homer in the top of the fourth to close the gap 4-3. Cruz first hit a ball that was called foul down the left field line looked like a homer however on the next pitch hit one out in left field that was no doubt at all.

Both the Mariners and Rangers scored a run in the sixth inning to make the score 6-4 however in the seventh inning the Mariners scored five runs including a homer by Robinson Cano and Mitch Haniger to make the lead 9-6.  Edwin Diaz came in the eighth inning to get the final out however struggled in the ninth inning walking three batters along with a hit. He gave up his first run of the season but was able to get out of it for his eighth save of the season for the final score of 9-7.

The top of the Mariner’s order again were the hot hitters with Dee Gordon, Robinson Cano, and Nelson Cruz each getting three hits. Jean Segura had only one hit however it was a big one a double that drove in two runs in the seventh inning.

Guillermo Heredia pinch hit for Ben Gamel against a lefty in the seventh inning was once again part of that rally. The reason he was in the game to be for defense. Even when he doesn’t start in a game he will be brought in late for defense however he always seems to be part of one of the important rallies the Mariners have. He is valuable in so many ways for the Mariners that some may never realize.

Sunday afternoon before the Mariners go to Chicago to take on the White Sox Erasmo Ramirez is expected to be activated and to start his first game of the season. It will be important that he goes at least six innings to rest the bullpen. Also it would be nice to be able to sweep the Rangers as well. The Rangers are 2-10 at home now after these two Mariner wins. The Mariners are two and half games behind the Houston Astros in the American League West. The Los Angeles Angels who are in second place are just a half-game ahead of the Mariners. It will be really nice if the Mariners bats can stay alive for most of the road trip.

Heard the news that Heredia was sent down to Tacoma. Unbelievable for what he does for this ball club. Ichiro is in the lineup as well. Giving Gordon a day off. What is Dipoto thinking keeping Ichiro around.

Mariners Take Opening Game On Road

The Mariners started off the game on Friday in Arlington Texas against the Rangers with Robinson Cano driving in Dee Gordon in the first inning. The Rangers made a couple outstanding plays in the field included the one that Gordon scored. The Mariners should have had at least a couple runs. They had other opportunities to while Felix Hernandez pitched another outstanding game into the sixth inning. In the sixth inning the Rangers scored their two runs with Sin Soo Choo hitting a double and then came home on a hit by right fielder Nomar Mazara who also scored the second run on a hit by left fielder Joey Gallo to take the lead 2-1. It looked like the lead would stand until Mitch Haniger hit his fifth home run of the season in the top of the eighth inning to tie the score.

Nick Vincent pitched an outstanding inning and an third striking out all four batters after coming in for scrabble who struggled once again who gave up a hit after replacing Felix. Juan Nicasio struggles again in the eighth inning giving up a hit however got out of a jam but finished with a stiff arm. Have to find out how he is doing now and whether he will have to take a few days off or he is injured?

The Mariners though took care of the Rangers in the top of the ninth scoring four runs. The rally started off with Daniel Vogelbach singled then Andrew Romine who pinched run took second on a sacrifice bunt by left fielder Guillermo Heredia. Romine took third on a Gordon single and Jean Segura who had three hits in the game drove both of them in with a double to make the score 4-2. Seager and Haniger each drove in a run to make the final score 6-2. Edwin Diaz came in to seal the game walking a batter but striking out to end the game.

Saturday’s game will be a matchup between James Paxton against Bartolo Colon who pitched a perfect game for the Rangers in his last outing through seven innings. The Rangers beat the Houston Astros in extra innings in that game. We will have to see how the Mariners will do against Colon in this game.

On Friday night’s game I thought the Mariners were thinking that they were facing the Astros still. Nelson Cruz got a couple hits and was robbed of another by an outstanding diving catch by center fielder Drew Robinson. Cruz though looked he was struggling at the plate at times though. I hope that this is over with because the Mariners can use his bat in the lineup.

Mike Zunino made his debut of the season in the game after being activated off the disabled list and playing a few games on rehab assignment. He caught a good game like usual however he didn’t get a hit in five at bats and struck out four times leaving six batters on base. It could take Zunino a few games to get his timing back. David Freitas is the backup catcher as Mike Marjama was sent down to Tacoma.

Sunday the Mariners will have the fifth starter going once again this time against the Rangers. Erasmo Ramirez is expected to make his season debut after Ariel Miranda was sent back down to Tacoma. I am sure we won’t see the last of Miranda.