LeBlanc Pitches Well and Offense Get’s Together

The Seattle Mariners continue to make us shake our heads when it comes to how they play. Even general manager Jerry Dipoto isn’t sure what version of the team will show up in a given series.

The Mariners seem to play better against the teams that they are fighting against to make the playoffs while not so well against teams that are not so good. At least they are still in the playoff hunt at this time.

It was nice to see the Mariners offense get off in the first inning scoring five runs going through the whole lineup. Dee Gordon had a key hit in the first inning as well at the number nine spot. He was playing shortstop as Jean Segura was scratched from the game. He took himself out before the beginning of the game. Manager Scott Servais wasn’t sure why he did so since it was an important game however the Mariners responded well anyway. Ryon Healy wasn’t in the lineup originally had a couple hits and drove in a run himself. Robinson Cano originally set to play first base but went to his normal spot of second base and Gordon moved over to shortstop. Have to see if Segura will be back in the lineup Friday night or not.

Wade LeBlanc who has pitched well most of the season since being put in the rotation was able to go well in a game it was important for him to do so. The Mariners need to take at least three games in this series to have a shot to make the playoffs. LeBlanc was able to go seven innings giving up three hits and three walks without a run being scored. Besides the five runs in the first the Mariners were able to get another run in the second and then a final run in the fourth inning when Mitch Haniger hit a home run. Oakland scored their only run in the eighth inning off of Adam Warren. Nick Vincent took care of the ninth inning giving up no hits and striking out a batter. It was nice to see an easy win 7-1 for a change especially when they can use the win.

The Mariners are now four and a half games behind the A’s. The Houston Astros also lost so the Mariners gained a game against them as well. Right now the Mariners are playing like they are in the playoffs. We do hope they play like a playoff team so they give themselves all the chances to make it. The Mariners did go through something similar when they made their first playoffs back in 1995.

Friday night Mike Leake pitches against Mike Fiers. We hope that the offense does much better this time around against Fiers and that Leake pitches a good game. This is Leake’s second outing after having to miss a turn because of illness.

James Paxton is expected to start on Saturday after being on the disabled list. With teams able to expand on September 1st the Mariners will not have to take a pitcher off the roster. In fact they will probably add two or three pitchers for the bullpen on Saturday as well along with catcher David Freitas. They will likely add some more players as needed next week. Felix is scheduled to start on Sunday for the final game of this series. No news when Marco Gonzales is expected back from the dl. Go M’s.

 

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Mariners Lose Twice In SD

The Seattle Mariners knew that to have any chance to make the playoffs they really had to go into San Diego and win both games. It was almost a sure thing because the Padres are the worst team in the national league.

On Tuesday the Mariners got one of their best performances out of Felix Hernandez on the season going seven innings giving up four hits and two runs however they lost 2-1 because they couldn’t score any more than one run on eight hits. The one lone run was a home run in the top of the ninth inning by Nelson Cruz.

Wednesday afternoon the Mariners had to do was now split the series but had a poor performance out of Erasmo Ramirez who could only go three innings in an 8-3 loss. The only positive side was Roenis Elias was able to go the rest of the way going five innings giving up one run. The Mariners were able to get nine hits in the game but only scored the three runs. Now they go to Oakland to play a four game series. This is now the most important series of the season if they have any hope in making the playoffs.

The odds are against the Mariners in making the playoffs. They almost have to win every game remaining in the twenty-nine games. They at least have to sweep the A’s in Oakland. We know they can do it because they have done it before.

This is probably going to be the best team the Mariners have field in the last seventeen years but likely will not make the playoffs however I wouldn’t count them out yet. All I know is that I am going to remember this season as a bizarre one. They had winning records the first three months of the season. Also started out July fine as well but then had trouble beating the Colorado Rockies especially in Denver. They lost Robinson Cano in May first because of an injury then he was suspended for eighty games just a couple days later. They played pretty well for the first month without Cano; so much that it looked like they were a better team without him.

The second half of the season the Mariners have looked like the total apposite of the team that played the first half; what makes it real bizarre to me is that they have played awful against the National League West. I would have to say in the previous sixteen years the Mariners have played well if not the best team in the American League playing against the National League. In fact I am sure many would say why the Mariners couldn’t play better against American League teams like they have done against the NL. This year they have played the opposite losing so much against the NL West. They play the NL like the last sixteen years they could be leading the American League West or at least making the playoffs as a wild card. I am sure they would be ahead of the A’s at this point.

Now we have to see who they are against the A’s this coming series and beyond. Will the Mariners be Jekyll or Hyde? The Mariners could win sixteen of their remaining twenty-nine game which would give them ninety wins but probably won’t make the playoffs unless the A’s take a real slide. They only need to win ten remaining games to make ninety wins.

Whatever happens in this series against the A’s I know we will be shaking our heads in one fashion or another. I am sure we will end the season saying to ourselves what could have been. The Mariners had to play a season where they were in the best division of baseball. The Oakland A’s who were not expected to do anything this season has played better than any team in the major leagues in the second half and overtook the Mariners.  Now we will have to see what the Mariners do against them in this four game series. What team will we see? Against the A’s and thereafter; anyway that is it for now. Go M’s.

 

 

Mariners Lose

Tuesday night when the Mariners were playing the worst team in the national league the San Diego Padres and knew how important for them to win to have any chance to make the playoffs they couldn’t do anything offensively.

Felix Hernandez pitched one of his best games of the season almost going a complete game. He pitched seven innings giving up four hits, two walks, struck out nine and walked two batters. It looks like a lot of his games he has done over the years where he pitched well but the offense couldn’t come through.  He gave up a home run to centerfielder and lead-off hitter Jankowski to lead off the game on the very first pitch. The only other inning he gave up runs was in the fourth inning when he gave up another run.

I have read where fans blamed Felix for the loss because he couldn’t bunt in two situations. It was true but there is no guarantee that they would have scored if he would have been able to lay down the bunts perfectly.

The only run the Mariners were able to get was in the ninth inning a solo home run by Nelson Cruz in the 2-1 loss.

The Mariners need not only another outstanding outing by Erasmo Ramirez Wednesday afternoon the offense needs to punish the Padres good. This game plus the four against the Oakland A’s will decide whether the Mariners will still be in the playoff race or not. Of course they will be still in it mathematically but those are only words to use.

Manager Scott Servais had his Edwin Diaz look haircut taken place during pre-game on Tuesday after losing the bet that Diaz would get fifty saves. I would have thought this would rally the players to play a good game but of course it didn’t. What this team is really made of we will have to see the days ahead.

Whether they make the playoffs or not general manager Jerry Dipoto is going to have another busy winter going after some players to plug the holes they have. He did a good job getting Dee Gordon last off-season though he has had trouble hitting after getting injured in May and having a full season of Robinson Cano will be nice as well. Where those two play in the field next season is anyone’s guess right now. He did a good job picking up Denard Span and Alex Colome from the Tampa Bay Rays in May as well.  I would like to see him do something similar this off-season to get them to the next level. Adding another starter and reliever would be a good start.

I haven’t given up on them yet or I would probably find a good excuse not to write here any longer but this second half I have to give them a grade of D at this time compared to an A minus in the first half. Let’s see what happens over the next five days. Go M’s.

 

 

 

 

 

Mariners Can’t Sweep

I am sure everyone was hoping that the Mariners would sweep the Arizona Diamondbacks by winning Sunday’s game but they ended up losing 5-2.

The Mariners have the sixth best record in the American League being a few percentage points behind the Cleveland Indians. Unfortunately the Indians have pretty well clinched a spot in the playoffs having a thirteen game lead in the American League Central. The Mariners are now five games behind the Oakland A’s for the second wildcard. The Houston Astros are six and half ahead of the Mariners in the division. The New York Yankees who have the first wild card spot right now have nine more wins than the Mariners. So it is going to be hard for the Mariners to make the playoffs no matter how well they play. They have Monday off then play two games in San Diego followed by four in Oakland. For the Mariners to have any chance to make the playoffs they need to win all six games or at least five of them. A tall order since the pitching and offense have been struggling though they are seventeen games above five hundred right now with seventy-four wins.

The Mariners led off the game in the first inning with Mitch Haniger getting a hit along with Denard Span with two outs then Kyle Seager drove in Haniger to take a 1-0 lead. It stood until the third inning when Mike Leake had his only bad inning pitching giving up three singles then a three-run homer to give the Diamondbacks a 5-1. The score stayed that way until the top of the ninth when Ben Gamel got a hit then scored on an error. The Mariners had a chance loading the bases without any outs however like in any of their recent games were not able to bring in any runs. Mitch Haniger lined out to third base and then Robinson Cano hit into a game ending double play. So close but so far at the same time with a 5-2 loss.

Mike Leake was able to go six innings despite the five runs in the third inning. Roenis Elias finished the final two innings giving up just one hit. With Monday off before facing the Padres the bullpen will be rested.

For the Mariners to have any chance in the six games remaining on this road trip the pitchers can’t give up big runs like Leake did in the third inning and the offense has to score more than two runs along with taking opportunities to score with the bases loaded with no outs. They need to be able to get at least a sacrifice fly to score one run in these opportunities or a single to drive in a couple. Also the offense will need to add on when taking a lead as well. Though the team has done well in one run games and extra innings it would be a good idea to win by at least two or three runs to take pressure off of the bullpen. The relievers have had trouble outside of Colome and Diaz along with the offense so the Mariners need everyone to step up especially in key situations. They could still win a high percentage of their thirty-one remaining games and still not make the playoffs. Right now though they need to think about taking of the Padres and A’s before coming home to face the Orioles and the Yankees.

Winning at least ninety games for the Mariners will be a big accomplishment after quite a few years but likely won’t make the playoffs anyway. For them to do it they must win every series remaining on the schedule. It may take at least a couple sweeps as well. We have to remember to enjoy the ride and the season even if they fall short in making the playoffs. So Mariners we are rooting for you and looking for “Refuse to Lose the sequel”. Go M’s.

Mariners Looking To Sweep

The Seattle Mariners have one more game to go in the series against the Diamondbacks Sunday afternoon however they did win again to take the series and we hope a nice sweep before heading to San Diego for a couple games.

The Mariners never seem to win games easy except once in a while. Saturday night was another won when winning by one run 4-3 in the 10th inning. Denard Span hit a home run then Edwin Diaz got his fiftieth save even though he gave up a couple hits. In fact Mitch Haniger had to make an outstanding catch to end the game otherwise the game would have been tied or the Diamondbacks would have won. The Mariners continue to win in extra-inning games. They are now 13-1. Now manager Scott Servais will have to get a Edwin Diaz like haircut because of the 50 saves. It will be interesting to see how he looks in that shave.

The scoring began in the first inning when Mitch Haniger led off the game with a home run then third baseman Eduardo Escobar tied with a home run in the bottom of the first. So the score stayed 1-1 until the seventh when the Diamondbacks scored two runs. The Mariners tied the game in the ninth to make it into extra inning. The Mariners though had several opportunities to score runs to make an easy victory but not on this day. Twice they had the bases loaded and couldn’t even bring one run inning. In total the Mariners had twenty-eight runners left on base in the game. I am not sure if I have ever seen that stat being so high.

The important thing though is that the Mariners won the game no matter how difficult they made it on themselves. At least the offense came through when necessary.

Wade LeBlanc pitched well in the game going six innings giving up one hit, two walks, striking out six and giving up the home run only in the first inning. On the other hand Nick Vincent didn’t have as good an outing as the game before allowing the two runs in the seventh. He was relieved by Zach Duke but he didn’t pitch and Adam Warren came to get the two remaining outs in the seventh inning. Also he pitched the eighth inning as well. Alex Colome pitched the ninth and was recorded with the win.

Although he continues to struggle though he was given the day off on Friday Kyle Seager drove in the tying runs in the ninth inning with a double. We do hope that is the start to him getting back on track. The Mariners can sure use his bat for the stretch run and we hope the playoffs.

The Oakland A’s won again so the Mariners are still four games behind them so very important for the Mariners to continue winning especially going to the series against the A’s next weekend when they start a four game series on Thursday. The Mariners are hoping that James Paxton will be ready to go in that series. Mike Leake pitches Sunday afternoon while Felix Hernandez takes the mound on Tuesday in San Diego followed by Marco Gonzales on Wednesday. Go M’s.

Erasmo and the Mariners Win Friday Night

I wonder how many are surprised as I am with the pitching in his three starts since coming off the disabled list and rehab assignment by Erasmo Ramirez.

Right now Ramirez is one of the best pitchers going for the Mariners besides Mike Leake who is expected to pitch Sunday in Arizona after missing his last start because of illness.

Ramirez was able to go six innings with a quality start as they call it these days giving up six hits walking one batter striking out six and giving up three runs. Actually only one was an earned run since the other two scored because of throwing errors by Jean Segura and Dee Gordon who are both generally very steady in the field.

Mitch Haniger led off the game with a single one of three hits he got for the Mariners against his old club. Jean Segura was considered the major parcel of the trade but Haniger is looking like a guy that might turn out to be the major player in the deal though Segura is no slouch either as he is batting .315 right now. Segura actually drove in Haniger as part of the four run inning the Mariners had in the third inning to take a 4-0 lead. The Mariners extended the lead on a home run in the fifth inning before the Diamondbacks scored a run in the bottom of the same inning to make it 5-1. The Mariners then scored their sixth and final run in the sixth inning before the Diamondbacks scored two runs on the errors by Segura and Gordon to make the final score 6-3.

This was a game where the Mariners were able to add on after scoring the four runs in the third inning. Lately the Mariners have had trouble adding on runs along with the pitching whether the starters or the bullpen.

The bullpen was able to shut down the Diamondbacks without giving up a hit in three innings. Nick Vincent took over for Ramirez after Gamel pitched him for Ramirez in top of the seventh inning. Vincent was taken over in the eighth by Colome who like Vincent struck out two batters and then Edwin Diaz struck out one batter while recording his forty-ninth save  of the season now a Mariners record. If you have followed the Mariners closely you know on his next save the fiftieth after words manager Scott Servais will have to get a Diaz haircut. Something they decided on early in the season if Diaz was able to do so. This was finally a game that Diaz was able to close out without having just a one run lead going into the ninth.

The Mariners finally won a game where the offense and the pitching came together. It has been a while since this has happened. We hope in the Mariners final thirty-three games this will happen more often than not.

Wade LeBlanc who has had his troubles of late starts for the Mariners Saturday night. This is another game the Mariners have a good shot of winning if LeBlanc is able to pitch five or six successful inning. Robbie Ray starts for the Diamondbacks. He has an era of 4.91 in sixteen starts and is averaging five innings per start. We hope that he is able to only go the five innings if not less in this game. It would be nice the Mariners could score four runs at least early in the game like Friday night and then add on as well. This will be important since Zach Greinke will go on Sunday. He has a record of 12-8 with an era of 3.09. The Mariners hope that Mike Leake who faces Greinke on Sunday will have an outstanding game like in his last outing. How well he does in part is how much he is over his illness. If he does pitch well this make a good game to see and who knows the Mariners could sweep the series which would be very good indeed. The Mariners need to take as many series the rest of the way as they can to have any chance to make the playoffs.

The Mariners are hoping that James Paxton will be available in the A’s series that will take place next weekend. After the Diamondbacks the Mariners will face the Padres in San Diego for two games. Later they will play the Padres in Seattle.

The A’s will be for four games ending the month of August and begin September. The Mariners will have reinforcements at the end of the series against Oakland. It would be very good if the Mariners can take at least three of the four games before going into Oakland while at the same time take three of four in Oakland. That would give the Mariners six wins in eight games and put them in good position to take over the playoff spot from Oakland. Although it won’t be easy the Mariners did do a similar deal in 1995. Actually that year they began September in third place and tied the division leader the Angels at the end then had to play an extra game where the Mariners won. Wouldn’t it be exciting if the Mariners could pull something almost like this again for their first return to the playoffs in seventeen years. Go M’s.

Mariners Still Have Chance For Playoffs?

I am sure most Mariner fans are dumbfounded or disappointed or whatever other adjectives you want to use because after Wednesday’s game the chances became even harder for the Mariners to make the playoffs losing to the Astros 10-7.

Wednesday’s gave wasn’t as close as the score indicates. The Mariners offense did come alive scoring five runs in the sixth inning that included a two-run homer by the ever hot Mitch Haniger. The problem in this game was that starter Marco Gonzales gave up eight runs in three innings. The bullpen which has had problems throughout the season only gave up two runs in six innings to give them somewhat of a chance.

What the Mariners have to do to make the playoffs is to play playoff baseball and that might not be enough to make it anyway. It was the kind of ball they were playing back in May and June however we haven’t seen that for some time other than the series where they swept the Astros in Houston.

For the Mariners to have any chance to be in the playoffs they must win at least twenty of their remaining thirty-four games and then the A’s would have to win no more than sixteen of their remaining thirty-five games.  This is a season where the Mariners can have the best record in the last decade and still not make the playoffs. They are playing in the best division of baseball with the Astros expected would be good but the A’s have done great as well. In fact they have played even better ball than the Mariners did back in May and June since the all-star break if not before then.

The Mariners split the remaining thirty-four games they will end the season 89-73 which many years might get them in but not this one. I believe even with that record us fans will be disappointed in what could have been. The way they have been playing of late the record might be less than eight-nine wins.

All we can do right now as fans is to enjoy the ride and we hope that the Mariners will play in the way that we can enjoy the ride. Even if the team doesn’t make the playoffs let the last thirty-four games look like playoff baseball. One way that can happen if Dipoto can go out and pick up another starting pitcher; he mentioned at the beginning of the season picking up Mike Leake and Marco Gonzales at the end of last season was for this season. Let’s do the same thing this year where the pitcher they pick up is for next year as well. We look at the rotation right now and it doesn’t look so well for the rest of the season. We hope when Paxton gets back soon he will be the ace type of pitcher along with Mike Leake. Without another starter the other three spots don’t look that good though Wade LeBlanc might be alright if he hasn’t pitched too many innings in the manor of Gonzales. The Mariners might be OK if Felix pitches similar to what he had done coming out of the bullpen when Paxton went on the DL.

The starting pitching is only the beginning though for playoff baseball. The offense has to get going as well. They need to consistently score at least four runs a game and the defense needs to do a better job as well. The top of the batting order has done well but the Mariners need more out of five through nine especially from Kyle Seager who has not played very good ball. We hope that Servais giving him the day off on Wednesday and playing Cano at third will help. In fact playing Cano at third at least another game or two might be a good idea as well. The Mariners need to have all their regulars play at a good level as well. Let’s make the next five weeks look like playoff baseball and who knows what may happen. Go M’s.