Trouble in the First For Felix

So far in the season Felix Hernandez is having trouble getting out of the first inning. He has an era over twelve in the first inning.
On Thursday afternoon he gave up four runs in the first and none after that in which he pitched six innings. He walked only one batter and didn’t give a home run that he has done in games before. There are some fans wondering if he should start the game and come in the second inning or later. Other words have a relief pitcher start the game. I am not sure whether that will work at all anyway. Of course I am sure there are those who may think that Felix should be sent to the bullpen or not be on the team at all. The Mariners will still have to pay him for another season after this one whether he is on the team or not. Since he is pitching well from the second through five or six innings depending on how many pitches he throws pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre and Felix will have to look at film to see what the problem is in the first inning. We should know the problem can be corrected. At least we hope so any way. It is hard to know whether the problem is mechanical or mental. At least with the Mariners being nine games above five hundred at this time and the other starters seem to be doing well keeping Felix in the rotation a few more times should be fine. We just hope that he can work it out. The Mariners don’t have many other options in the rotation unless you bring someone up from Tacoma like Christian Bergman who had an outstanding outing when they brought him up recently.

On the positive side Felix retired sixteen of his final seventeen batters so this could be something to look forward to. We will have to wait and see.
The Mariners scored a run in the first and second inning to keep it close. Also got another run in the eighth and had runs on base but were not able to score again in a 4-3 loss. Now it is time for the Mariners to go on another five game winning streak. Yes that is how many games the Mariners won in a row before Thursday.

James Paxton goes for the Mariners Friday night in the first game of the weekend series against the Minnesota Twins at Safeco field. Paxton had another complete game in his last outing. The second one in his career both this month; of course his first one was the no-hitter. We hope again that he continues on this path of pitching outstanding games. The Mariners offense without Cano for a while along with Mitch Haniger and Nelson Cruz each nursing injuries and Dee Gordon on the ten day disabled list the Mariners will have to scratch for runs. A game like Thursday it will be important that the pitching does well. We hope that guys like Jean Segura keeps hitting well along with Ben Gamel stepping up and the continued success of Guillermo Heredia batting second. Also need to have the power come from Kyle Seager, Mike Zunino and Ryon Healy. Until Gordon gets back won’t see much at the plate from the second base spot. Whatever we get from Gordon Beckham and Andrew Romine will be bonus. On Thursday at least Romine got a hit and scored a one. Ryan Cook so far has done well since being called up for the Mariners in the bullpen. If he continues he will be a good asset coming in either the sixth or seven inning. Go M’s.

Going For the Sweep

The Seattle Mariners will be facing the Athletics in the final game of this series in Oakland Thursday afternoon. Felix Hernandez will be going for the Mariners. He has had a lot of success against the A’s. He will have to see what he can do since he hasn’t done well in last couple outings. The Mariners offense in what state it is right now might not score a lot of runs today. Of course Felix is used to the Mariners not scoring a lot of runs when he is on the mound.

Marcus Semien the shortstop of the A’s has had the most success against Felix for those who have had at least thirty at bats. He is batting .333 and includes four home runs. The next in line is Jed Lowrie who has had the most at bats with fifty-three and he is batting .245 against Felix with three home runs. Matt Joyce is the only other one in their lineup that has more than thirty at bats and he is batting .125. Not much of a sample size for the rest of the A’s lineup. Felix success against the A’s in Oakland hopefully will come to light.
In a surprise move the A’s will be having Josh Lucas making his first start in the major leagues. He was recalled last Friday May 18 and has pitched in relief a couple of games. Hard to know at this point how the Mariners will do against him.

Wednesday night Marco Gonzales probably pitched his best game against the A’s going seven innings giving up two hits, walked two batters and striking out six without allowing a run in a 1-0 victory. This I believe is the first time that Gonzales has gone seven innings and he threw one hundred and two pitches. The duo of Juan Nicasio who has struggled in May pitched the eighth inning giving up one hit however struck out a batter without walking any one. Edwin Diaz got his seventh save of the season striking out all three batters that he faced in the ninth inning. At this rate he should go way over forty saves for the season and in July be on the all-star team.

John Andreoli made his major league debut for the Mariners that including his first hit and made an outstanding catch in the outfield. He played right field in place of Mitch Haniger who is day to day after getting hit in the right wrist on Tuesday. The Mariners sent pitcher Dan Altavilla to Tacoma to make room for Andreoli. At this point the only other choice in the outfield was utility player Andrew Romine.

Guillermo Heredia who continues to do well since being put into the starting lineup with the injury then suspension of Robinson Cano scored the only run of the game after hitting a double and then Seager hit a ball to shortstop Semien who was playing in however received an error. The Mariners are now ten games above five hundred with a record of 29-19 so with the sweep the Mariners would record their thirtieth win of the series. The Mariners haven’t quite played a third of the season which puts them on pace to go over ninety wins for the season and should get a wild card birth.

Friday the Mariners will come home to face the Minnesota Twins over the weekend. James Paxton who has had an outstanding May including a no-hitter will go for the Mariners. The Mariners will finish off May at home against the Texas Rangers in four games. Go M’s.
In other news the Mariners have agreed on a new lease at Safeco Field for the next twenty-five years plus options for longer. So the Mariners will be going nowhere for now which is great news.

Injuries Continue For Mariners

Last season the Mariners were going through a lot of injuries to the pitching staff we know however this year it going with the everyday lineup. At the beginning of the season the Mariners had Ben Gamel and Mike Zunino on the shelf then Nelson Cruz and Ryon Healy a couple days later. Actually Healy started spring training not able to swing the bat however was ready when the season started before another injury happened after the third game against the Cleveland Indians at Safeco Field.

Right now Nelson Cruz is day to day and then on Tuesday Mitch Haniger was hit on the right wrist and he is day to day. Dee Gordon went on the disabled list on Tuesday with a sore toe and Daniel Vogelbach was called up in his place. Daniel Vogelbach  was designated hitter with Cruz nursing an injury. Andrew Romine came in to take Haniger’s  spot in right field. Right now only Dave Freitas the backup catcher is the only true healthy player on the bench. We will have to see whether Haniger will be back in the lineup on Wednesday or not along with Cruz. If both are not available than Vogelbach will be at designated hitter again and Romine in right field. At this point Ben Gamel will be in left field against lefties well as righties. We hope no one else gets hurt in the meantime even if it is day to day. 

The A’s took an early lead scoring a run in the fourth and fifth inning. I mentioned yesterday the key against Oakland that they Mariner pitchers don’t walk batters or  give up home runs which they didn’t.  The A’s did have a couple doubles in the game but only one brought in a run. The Mariners tied the game in the seventh inning on a two-run homer by Mike Zunino. The Mariners won the game in the top of the tenth inning on a double by Guillermo Heredia that scored Jean Segura. Edwin Diaz  came into the game to record the save in the bottom of the tenth. At this point the pitching is a key to keep the scoring low so the offense can score runs even if it is only three for the Mariners to win. So far so good against the A’s. The Astros won so the Mariners are still two games behind however the Angels lost so they are now two and half games behind the Mariners. So lets go M’s. 

Mariners Take Series Over Tigers

For most of Sunday’s game it looked like the Mariners were willing to split the series against the Tigers. Francisco Liriano  was pitching hitting a no-hitter into the seventh inning when Mitch Haniger hit a single to end  it. The Mariners were down 2-0 after Wade LeBlanc gave up a two-run homer in the first inning off of former Mariner John Hicks. Other than the first inning LeBlanc pitched well into the sixth inning when he was lifted with one out. The Mariners bullpen did a good job going the rest of the way through the eleventh inning when  Jean Segura hit a single to drive in Dee Gordon for the win 3-2.  The bullpen did an outstanding job giving up three hits in five and two-thirds innings along with no walks and striking out seven.

At this point without Cano we are not sure how the Mariners offense will run for the next couple months or so along with the fact that Nelson Cruz wasn’t in the lineup either. It is a good start though without Cano in the lineup. I am sure the guys will show what they have going on.

What I didn’t like in the game was that the Mariners used Zunino as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning with one out though there was a runner on base. Zunino is an all or nothing hitter so the chances are likely he will do nothing which is what happened.  In fact I don’t like pinch hitting anyway because most of the time it doesn’t work  and in the case of Zunino he doesn’t do it enough to get good at it anyway. The  Mariners have a small bench and in this case Ben Gamel had already had been used. I would only use a pinch hitter under certain circumstances like if you have a runners on second and third with less than two outs and using a contact hitter or another situation would be needing someone to bunt to move the runner along. So Servais should stay away from using pinch hitters is what I am  saying.

The Mariners have Monday off and  then play three games against the A’s in Oakland before heading home over the weekend for a series against the Minnesota Twins and then four against the Texas Rangers to finish the month of May. In those ten games it would be real nice if the Mariners could win seven of those games.  The Mariners start June at home against Tampa Bay before going on the road.

The Mariners now have a record of 27-19 and being two games behind Houston and a game and half ahead of the Los Angeles Angels. Go M’s.

The Mariners So Far Good Without Cano

So far the Mariners offense has done fine without Cano in the lineup. In fact their record is 4-2 since the Mariners lost Cano first to injury and then suspension. Although the Mariners I am sure would be better with Cano in the lineup they seem to wither the storm so far.

Dee Gordon went back to second base after starting the season in centerfield which is a new position. The Mariners have made Guillermo Heredia the every day centerfielder at this point and he seems to be just fine at the plate well as in the field. This could be the Mariners best lineup with or without Cano. The key still is the pitching. I believe that the starting pitching is doing fine right now though Felix has had his ups and downs. At this point he is hard to depend upon on a regular basis. James Paxton is the obvious ace of the ball club and on Saturday night he pitched a complete game so that helps out the bullpen to get rest. He gave up two runs on three hits. Wade LeBlanc goes for the Mariners on Sunday and he has done well since being added to the rotation. Marco Gonzales I believe has done better than we expected so far though he is only able to go five innings most of the time. Mike Leake has had his ups and downs well as Felix but I think he should be OK. Paxton continue doing what he is this will give the bullpen added relief. Sorry about the pun. Not really though.

Heredia so far has done well in the lineup now playing regularly. What questions they had about him hitting against righties have been answered at this point anyway by him doing fine. I am sure he will struggle against some of the top right handed pitchers but who doesn’t. I like the fact that he is very good when the Mariners are in a middle of a rally. Heredia always is a part of it seems. Over the season we will see if he is meant to be a regular along with Ben Gamel. It will be interesting to see how Mitch Haniger will do hitting third in the lineup. A full season with him in the lineup will be questioned as well. I see that he could become a superstar. Who knows Cano being out could be a blessing in disguise. Go M’s.

Bullpen Need New Relief?

It seems to me that the Seattle Mariners need to make changes in the bullpen for later in the games. I am not saying to get rid of Nick Vincent or Juan Nicasio but to pitch them in less stress situations until things work out for them.

They could still pitch in the seventh and eighth innings when the Mariners have a good size lead since that is where they are comfortable in. For the mean time I would go with James Pazos, Chase Bradford and Dan Altavilla in the close games late in the game and see how they do. Pazos and Bradford both have been pitting well  so why not try giving them the chance. The truth is that they can’t do much worse. The positive side if they do an outstanding job when Vincent and Nicasio return to pitching well the Mariners will have an outstanding bullpen. We do know that there are ups and downs always in relief however Vincent and Nicasio have been struggling so why not make a change. The deal is whether Servais will be willing to make the change. I guess we will see won’t we.

Thursday the Mariners brought up Ryan Cook from Tacoma and he came in the sixth inning with two outs after Marco Gonzales had pitched a good game giving up one run that was not earned. He was able to hold until Vincent came into the game in the eighth inning and gave up the winning runs to the Detroit Tigers in a 3-2 loss. At this point Cook could be the guy coming in to pitch in the sixth or seventh inning then they could go with Pazos or Bradford in the eighth inning.

It will be interesting to see if Servais keeps it as is or will make the change like I suggest. I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays as is because Servais always likes staying with his guys but I hope not. Now that the Mariners have about $10 million to spend with the suspension of Cano it will be interesting to see where the Mariners go with the money. I wouldn’t be surprised if they wait until June or July to acquire a player. Will this player be a starting pitcher, reliever, infielder or outfielder. We will find out and all I do know is that Dipoto comes out with surprises. I am sure no one figured he would pick up Dee Gordon in the off-season and stick him in centerfield and now with Cano out he will return to second base for the time being. I am sure Gordon will still work on center field defense even though he will be at second base. Guillermo Heredia now will be the center fielder. He did start Thursday and got three hits though a right hander started for the Tigers. Anyway the weeks to come will be interesting for sure. Go M’s.

Dee Gordon Move to Second Base?

With loss of Robinson Cano for a lot of the season because of his injury and suspension the Seattle Mariners are looking at moving Dee Gordon back to second base. He has been taking grounders at second base since Cano was injured on Sunday.

It will be interesting to see whether Gordon will be playing the rest of the way at second base until Cano’s return or spending time between second base and centerfield. This is quite the dilemma for the Mariners.

If Gordon returns to second base on a regular basis this means that the Mariners likely will have Guillermo Heredia playing center field most of the time. So what does that mean for the rest of the outfield? Does that mean that Ben Gamel will play left field on a regular basis or see Andrew Romine playing in left field against lefties or will the Mariners bring up Taylor Motter to platoon in left field and what happens with Gordon Beckham.?

Dee Gordon we have seen so far being an important part of the  Mariners offense and he is a good defenseman at second base as well. Having him at second base with Heredia at center field will make the Mariners a better defensive team. Also Heredia is a better offensive player than Beckham and Romine that I see.

It will be interesting to see whether the Mariners will go out and trade for another outfielder whether as a starter or as a fourth outfielder? I am sure that there are those who wonder what the future of Cano is in Seattle? I am sure he will return to Seattle in good standing. I think the medicine he has been taking should not have cost him 80 games in my opinion. I take the same medicine myself and I never thought anyone in baseball would be suspended in taking it.  Cano’s error was not letting major league baseball know that he was taking the medicine. He may not have thought he would be band for it. Nothing more can do on that since he did accept the punishment.

The key to the Mariners season still is up to the Mariners pitching. Even without Cano the Mariners offense is still in good shape though not at the same level that it was. The Mariners bullpen has been struggling lately especially at the backend with Juan Nicasio and Edwin Diaz. Actually Nicasio has had the most trouble pitching in the eighth inning blowing two games that led to losses for the Mariners. The Mariners coaching staff  may have to make some changes there. Also can’t be sure how the starting rotation will fair going forward either. It is interesting see how the Mariners will do going forward toward the all-star break in July. I am  sure the Mariners will make at least one trade if not more in the weeks ahead. Go M’s.