James Paxton Returns to Shut Out Astros

The last time that James Paxton it had been eighteen days and he had to leave the game because of a stiff back. He was supposed to have started again last Tuesday however the back stiffen again on him.  Monday night he didn’t look like anyone one who had gone eighteen days without pitching.

Monday night’s game looked like whichever team scored first would win the game and that is what happened.  While James Paxton went seven innings giving up three hits only walking no batters and striking out eight the Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole was throwing a no-hitter going into the sixth inning. His fastball was up to almost a hundred miles an hour just a little faster than Paxton’s however in the sixth inning Jean Segura got the first hit of the game followed by another single by Denard  Span then Nelson Cruz hit a double down the third base line that scored both Segura and Span to make it 2-0 which turned out to be the final score. With the win the Mariners are now three games behind the Astros. The Oakland A’s won once so they are still two games behind the Mariners. A very tight race indeed for the division and a wild card. Alex Colome pitched the eighth inning for the Mariners while he struggled a bit he at least didn’t surrender a run. Edwin Diaz recorded his fortieth save of the season. Though he didn’t strike out a batter he threw only seven pitches to get all three Astro players in a row.  Tuesday night Mike Leake goes for the Mariners and Wednesday afternoon Wade LeBlanc. These two games should be close as well however Leake and LeBlanc pitch like they did in their two last outings the Mariners have a great chance to win. It will be a good series if the Mariners can at least split these two games before facing the Toronto Blue Jays Thursday night thru Sunday afternoon. Should be a lot of excitement at Safeco Field.

The Mariners picked up two new relievers in trades on Monday acquiring left handed reliever specialist Zach Duke from the Minnesota Twins for a couple of minor leaguers and righthanded reliever  Adam Warren from the New York Yankees for international slot money. Dipoto isn’t sure if he can pick up a starting pitcher on Tuesday with the trading deadline ending at 1pm Pacific Time. The Mariners actually can still go for trades in August however the players have to go through waivers first. The Mariners picked up Mike Leake that way last year. We will see if Dipoto is done trading and who Duke and Warren will take two players spots. Go M’s.

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Mariners Offense Comes Alive

Sunday afternoon the Mariners offense came alive finally in the first inning where they scored seven runs. It started out with Dee Gordon singling then stealing second base followed by a single by Segura. Denard Span who was hitting third had a great game getting a double to score Segura to make it 2-0.  Nelson Cruz hit another single driving in Span to make it 3-0.  Things were on from there. Dee Gordon, Span and Ben Gamel all had three hits in the game. Mike Zunino had a great game at the plate getting two hits and driving in three runs. Gamel had a triple in the third inning than Zunino drove him in with a single. That was where the Mariners scoring ended. It would have been nice if the Mariners could have added on after that. 

Marco Gonzales who struggled early turned out having a good outing. He was pitching a shutout until the fifth inning when Justin Upton hit a home run with Mike Trout on base. Gonzales was able to go six inning giving up seven hits. Nick Vincent who came in the seventh inning to relieve Gonzales had a terrible game pitching going two-thirds of an inning where the Angels scored three runs however  Span caught a ball that could have gone out of the park for a two-run homer which would have left the game with the Mariners ahead by one run. Nicasio came in to relieve Vincent and got the batter to fly out.  Alex Colome had another good eight inning giving up no hits and runs striking out two batters. Diaz came in to get his thirty-ninth save of the season. He did had trouble initially however he was able to strike out two batters as well including the final out of the game.

Now the Mariners will come home to face the Houston Astros in a three game series with  James Paxton expected to pitch on Monday followed by Mike Leake and Wade LeBlanc. It would be nice if the Mariners can win at least two out of the three games. The Astros and A’s lost again on Sunday so the Mariners gained a game on both teams. Now they are four games behind the Astros while two games ahead of the A’s. The Mariners will play four games against the Toronto Blue Jays  to finish off the home stand. Expect a large crowd including some fans coming down from Canada. The Blue Jays though have had trouble this season being fourth in the American League East and they are eight games below five hundred. They have had a hard time since mid-May when they were around five hundred. Actually they had about the same record as the Mariners but they went the other direction from the Mariners. The Blue Jays recently trade Jay Happ to the New York Yankees so the Mariners won’t be facing this ex-Mariner next weekend.

The trading deadline will end on Tuesday July 31 so we will have to see if Jerry Dipoto will make another trade. I am sure he will be looking for a starter along with a position player if possible. The Mariners could still make a trade in August like they did last year when they picked up Mike Leake from the St. Louis Cardinals.  So put on your belt to see what happens. I would never put any thing past Dipoto though he won’t make a trade unless it totally makes sense for the Mariners. Now Mariners let’s take care of the Astros. Go M’s. 

Monday afternoon the Mariners acquired left handed reliever  Zach Duke from the Minnesota Twins for a couple minor leaguers then a few minutes later they picked up right handed reliever Adam Warren from the New York Yankees for international slot money. So we will have to see the moves the Mariners make to activate both players when they arrive. Looking to bolster their bullpen for sure. In other moves Daniel Vogelbach was optioned to Tacoma with James Paxton coming off the disabled list and starting Monday Night. Another move infielder Zach Vincej was brought up while Kyle Seager is on paternity leave for a few days. Utility player Andrew Romine will be playing third base Monday night and batting ninth. General Manager Jerry Dipoto doesn’t expect to trade for a starter before the trading deadline however I would say never. With Duke and Warren shows the Mariners are not satisfied with the way the bullpen has been except  James Pazos, Alex Colome and Edwin Diaz. Although Duke will be the primarily left handed specialist we should still see Pazos in the sixth or seventh innings. At this point it looks like Mariners are still planning to have Felix start on Thursday. I hope that they have Elias or some other pitcher start throwing in the bullpen in the first inning so the game doesn’t get out of hand.

Felix Needs Fixing

Saturday Night when the Mariners really could use a win Felix Hernandez had another poor outing. In fact he called it his worst outing that he has ever had. He gave up a home run to Mike Trout in the bottom of the first then Nelson Cruz tied the game in the top of the second 1-1 however that was it for the game far as the Mariners side anyway.

In the second inning Felix had trouble getting his curve ball over the plate so the Angels were hitting him as target practice. Only a couple curve balls went the way they should however the rest were right in the middle of the plate. The Angels were able to get three runs off of Felix in the second to take the lead 4-1. I have no idea why the Mariners had Felix go out in the third inning with how he was pitching if they had any though of winning the game. I know that they didn’t want to overextend the bullpen however the third inning wasn’t any different in how Felix was pitching. They finally took Felix out with two runners on base and another run had scored to make it 5-1. Long reliever Casey Lawrence came in for Felix however he gave up a three run homer  to rookie catcher Francisco Arcia  to make it 8-1. Arcia all together had six runs batted in with the final score being 11-5. Nelson Cruz hit his second homer run in the fourth inning and the Mariners scored three runs in the eighth inning including a solo home run by Guillermo Heredia.  We do hope these five runs will help the Mariners come out of their hitting slump. It is amazing to me to think that the Mariners are still eighteen games above five hundred at this point. Sunday afternoon Marco Gonzales goes for the Mariners. He is acting like the ace of the staff at this point. We do hope that he can salvage this series against the Angels. The Mariners will call home to face the Houston Astros and James Paxton is expected to come off the disabled list to pitch on Monday of course we will have to see.

Speaking of the disabled list my idea right now would put Felix there to work out his problems. Whether he has a physical injury or not that would still be a good idea. He could work out on his pitching in the bullpen and see how the velocity works out. I would then  send  him out on a rehab assignment to see how things go. When he is ready than activate him. In the meantime add Elias or Ramirez to the starting rotation unless the Mariners are able to pick up another starter. Right now the Mariners are in a position where they can’t use him if they still want to make the playoffs. Go M’s.

First Loss in Extra Innings

It would be bound to happen eventually the Mariners would lose in extra innings with all the close games they have been playing and Friday night it happened against the Angels. It was bad timing as the Houston Astros and the Oakland A’s both lost as well.

The game was tied going into extra innings 3-3. In the top of the tenth inning it looked the Mariners may go up a run with Dee Gordon on third base and Jean Segura on first. Segura decided to steal second base which he did then Gordon went for home and he was called save by the home umpire however the Angels decided to go for the instant replay which was overturned by the umpires in New York. The Mariners were unable
to score a run to take the lead. Mitch Haniger was not able to get a hit to bring home Haniger so going into the bottom of the tenth it was still 3-3. As time goes by I am dis-
liking the instant replay. Although the team that the call is going against is supposed to get the benefit of the doubt it seems to me the call goes against the Mariners more in their favor whether they are the one that bring the replay or the other team. The call should be overturned when it is obvious a mistake but that doesn’t seem happens enough with the Mariners.
The bottom of the tenth Kole Calhoun hit a walk-off home run off of Juan Nicasio for the Angels win 4-3. I am not sure I dislike him worse or Mike Trout when facing the Mariners or Nicasio pitching for the Mariners. It was the second inning that Nicasio pitched for the Mariners. He got the Angels pretty good in the ninth inning but as they say it only takes one bad pitch.
The Mariners made a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday morning picking up right handed reliever Sam Tuivailala  for single A reliever Seth Elledge who was pitching for Modesto. I know that some Mariner fans will object because Elledge was  the
Mariners tenth top prospect however Tuivailala is twenty-five years and is in his second season in the major leagues though he did pitch a little in two other previous seasons. With the work of the bullpen the Mariners did need to pick up another reliever and he is under club control for the next four years so likely he isn’t going any where. Though Elledge is a top prospect there is no guarantee that he will ever make to the major leagues and the Mariners are looking for someone to help them now. They have other relievers in the minor leagues that can help in the future although the bullpen is getting younger. I am not saying that Tuivailala will be a savior for the Mariners however he will help. Now we need to see the offense to step up.
Wade LeBlanc had struggles in the first inning giving up three runs however the Mariners were able to get back in the game with a solo home run by Mike Zunino in the fifth inning and Nelson in the seventh inning. The Mariners were able to score another run in the eighth to tie the game before going into the extra innings. At least the starting rotation is keeping the Mariners in the games for the most part however it would be nice to see the offense come alive and score more runs so don’t have to be so dependent on the bullpen. I am not sure why Nicasio with his pitching record lately why the Mariners decided to have him go another inning. Some will say why didn’t Edwin Diaz not pitch the tenth inning while others are glad that he didn’t. Not sure however Servais must have felt to give him a day off. Anyway the true point is that the offense has to do their job well as the pitching and they have been lacking at that recently. We hope that they can come alive Saturday Night with Felix Hernandez starting for the Mariners. Go M’s.

Split Series with Giants

Wednesday afternoon the Seattle Mariners took on the San Francisco Giants in the second of two games before a sellout crowd at Safeco Field. A great day to go with the temperatures in the high eighties.

The Mariners offense again struggled except the bat of Ryon Healy who had another home run. I was thinking during the game with a crowd that big wouldn’t the players be motivated to hit more to entertain the crowd. If so the motivation didn’t turn into hits though they score three runs on four hits.

It was nice to see Mike Leake back to his old self where he was able to go six and a third innings. He gave up four hits with the two runs and didn’t walk a batter while striking out two. Juan Nicasio came in to relieve Leake in the seventh inning. He gave up a hit in two-thirds of an inning. Actually the hit went to Leake’s second run given up.  I am not sure why the Mariners are still using Nicasio to pitch in the seventh inning although Nick Vincent doesn’t seem to be a very good alternative either. Chasen Bradford seems to be the logical choice to me but that isn’t the role they have him at this time. I know that Dipoto is looking to pick up another reliever along with a starter. I hope that finding another reliever he will be one that can pitch in either the seventh or eighth inning.

Alex Colome pitched the eighth inning and was recorded with the victory. He gave up a hit however struck out a batter as well. The bottom of the eighth inning with the tie at 2-2 Guillermo Heredia led off taking a walk. He was sacrificed to second by Dee Gordon who was initially called safe by the umpire but was overturned when the Giants asked for the replay. Jean the hitting machine Segura though was able to hit a single to bring Heredia home and that was the ball game. Although he has struggled at the plate since becoming a starter in centerfield what I like about Heredia is he has no problem in taking a walk when it is good for the team. I wish more of the players were willing to do so like Heredia. He knew getting a walk was as good as a single. Along with Gordon and Segura he is a good bunter as well. He is able to do the fundamentals to help win games.

The Oakland A’s won again over the Texas Rangers so they are still a game and a half behind the Mariners. Both teams gained on the Astros though who lost on Wednesday. The Mariners now go to Anaheim to take a three game series against the Angels over the weekend before returning home to play the Houston Astros.  The Mariners play the Astros and the A’s twenty-six times combined in their remaining sixty games on the season. We are hoping that the Mariners will be able to pick up some pitching either starting or relieving or both along with the increase of production from the offense. Whatever happens baseball will be exciting over the next five weeks for sure. Go M’s.

One Run Games

Although the Seattle Mariners have had success this season so far in one run games is that you going to lose some as well especially ones like Tuesday night when the Mariners lost 4-3 giving up a run in the top of the ninth inning to the San Francisco Giants.

The Mariners were tied 3-3 however the Giants scored because Dee Gordon threw an errant throw to first base that Ryan Healy wasn’t able to hold on to and the Mariners were not able to score themselves in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The Mariners were still unable to score runs like they should though they had nine hits. They left eight runners on base so the opportunities were there for sure. The Mariners need to score more runs with a higher difference than one run. Though they have been successful this season in one run games the odds can catch up with them over the whole season and since they are now in a tight race with the Oakland A’s now being behind them by one and a half games. The A’s though were in one of those games where they were way behind the Texas Rangers 10-2 and came back to win the game. Before that they had a victory over the Giants were they came from behind to win in extra innings. Just like one run games those are going to catch up with you as well.

I hope that Dipoto can pick up another hitter or at least the batters start hitting more frequently with runners on base. It would be a sad story if the Mariners win less games than they lose the rest of the way after having a good start through June. They are now at nineteen games over five hundred but if they win where they stay at the same spot or drop down to like fifteen games over five hundred win the season ends and not make the playoffs.

I know to that some fans complained that Edwin Diaz was used in the game when it was a tie. I am not sure whether he should have been used until they got into extra innings or not. It is a hard decision to make for the manager. Diaz has to be used so he can be ready for other games in the future as well but at the same time do the Mariners want to overuse him at the same time so he will be less affective later in the season. Both Nicasio and Colome were uses in the game so do they go with Diaz or go with Nick Vincent instead?  Having no error the game most likely would have gone into extra innings where Vincent would have been used. So pitch Diaz in the ninth or save him for the tenth. In either case the game would have still been tied or you even wait if the game goes even longer. I am not sure there is a true answer to the question about using Diaz or not. The important thing now for the Mariners to do is score more runs and beat the Giants today before going on the road to play the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend starting on Friday. Mike Leake goes Wednesday to end this home stand. Very important that he puts in a good performance and the Mariners win. Go M’s.

Thoughts About Mariner Baseball

The Seattle Mariners are now have a record of 60-40 in the first hundred games. Obvious easy math for sure. They are five games behind the Houston Astros and two and a half ahead of the Oakland A’s.  Of course the A’s have been playing at pretty good clip the last month or so however we figure they will slow down at some point.

The Mariners if they stay playing at sixty percent they will end with a record of 97-65. The A’s would have to go 39-22 in their remaining games. The odds are against both teams doing so for one thing the Mariners play the A’s thirteen more times along with the Astros. Yes twenty-six of the Mariners sixty-two games are against both teams. It would be quite a season if both teams win ninety games or more which is still very possible because the Mariners have to go 30-32 to do so. Although the chances of winning ninety-seven games will be difficult it is still possible.

A lot of seasons ninety wins would get the Mariners in the playoffs but if they end at that amount they could miss out to the A’s.  The A’s still would have to play excellent ball though it depends how they play against each other.

We should continue enjoying their games though they haven’t played as well in July as they did before hand. The Mariners do show that they have some weaknesses primarily in starting pitching, the bullpen and the offense. The Mariners defense has been solid all season but some of the players like Kyle Seager who has played excellent defense his offense has been a bit low. He has hit well at times but at others not so well. He isn’t like  someone who should be hitting fifth in the lineup.  Dee Gordon is another who has played good defense since going back to second base when Robinson Cano got hurt and then suspended for eighty games but his offense has been not as good after sustaining a toe injury and having to spend time on the disabled list. Jean Segura has been the best hitter as far as the infield goes and he has played good defense at short as well. The outfield has played good defense and they have hit well most of the time outside of Guillermo Heredia who hit well until he became a regular when Gordon went back to playing second base.  Mike Zunino continues to play good defense behind the plate which  we now know because he just came off the disabled list however his offense has been terrible most of the season hitting under two hundred though he has hit a good number of home runs but the Mariners need to have him hit better if they expect to make the playoffs. Robinson Cano will be returning around August 14 that will be a benefit to the offense for sure. He will play some at first base well as occasional time at second base and dh.

With the trading deadline coming up soon Jerry Dipoto will need to bring in some pitching whether in starting or relief or both. Also another regular position player would be a good idea to. Whatever the case we should enjoy the next sixty-two games. Even if they don’t make the playoffs it will be a wonderful season and something to look forward to in 2019 and beyond. I am not saying that I won’t be disappointed not making the playoffs but still a good season any as long as they don’t fall flat on their faces coming up. We hope that they can play at least five hundred ball against the A’s and Astros to keep them in the race. Until next enjoy the Mariners against the Giants in the next two games. Go M’s.