Terrible Loss By Mariners

Friday night the Seattle Mariners didn’t look like a team that is playing for a spot in the playoffs. Instead they looked more like the Baltimore Orioles or the Kansas City Royals who are at the bottom of their perspective divisions.

The Mariners playing before a sell-out crowd of over forty-six thousand which more than half were wearing Dodger blue. Also this was a game the Mariners had the best chance of winning because of the pitchers they are facing this weekend.

The game actually started in good fashion. Wade LeBlanc looked good on the mound. He sailed through the first and second inning looking good then gave up a solo home run in the third. I thought that was fine at the time that the Mariners could still win a low scoring tight game. In the inning he gave up another solo home run which made me think that is OK. However he gave up a two-run homer that made it 4-0; alright a bit tougher but it is still manageable for the Mariners to come back from.

In the bottom of the fourth inning Ryon Healy hit a solo home run to make it 4-1. I thought all right they have a good chance to come to win. Of course it turned out I was all wrong. LeBlanc started the fifth inning then left the game with one out and reliever Christian Bergman entered. I am sure hoping that he would stop the bleeding but that didn’t happen the bleeding continued. At the end of the fifth inning the score was 7-1. At that point I thought the chances of the Mariners to win the game were pretty unlikely but maybe the offense will get to the Dodger pitching. Not on that didn’t happen Bergman gave up two home runs in the seventh inning so the score now was 11-1. The only bright spot was that Bergman left the game after the seventh inning. James Pazos pitched the eighth inning giving up no hits but a walk. The Mariners had utility player Andrew Romine who has pitched in a game before throw in the ninth inning. He did the same as Pazos just giving up a walk.

I am sure the players will forget this 11-1 loss going into Saturday night’s game but I hope that they feel embarrassed at the same time allowing the Dodgers to win a lopsided game in their park. I hope they get the attitude of “not in our house”.  It reminds me of the Toronto Blue Jays in Seattle in front of a large amount of their fans as well letting them win three out of four games. This shows me that the Mariner players need to grow up in my mind anyway. If they expect to make the playoffs they have to play better ball and keep their minds into the game at all times. This continues where the Mariners don’t make the playoffs regardless of how many wins they end up with that changes will have to take place after the season. I feel they need to find players that have playoff experience and want to be in the playoffs as well. I do know that they have a few players who have been in the playoffs like Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano and Cameron Maybin but this ridiculous. Not only should they feel embarrassed they should feel bad because the Mariners team is the longest running team not be in the playoffs and they have a real chance to make it this year.

Erasmo Ramirez will be making his second start of the season on Saturday night for the Mariners against left Rich Hill. For the Mariners to win Ramirez will have to pitch almost as well as he did in his first outing shutting out the Astros thru five innings. It would be nice if he could go six innings in this game.

The Mariners have decided to slide Marco Gonzales next start to Wednesday so he won’t be starting like he was supposed to Sunday. The Mariners felt that he could use a few extra days of rest. Roenis Elias is expected to come off the disabled to start the game. I expect that Christian Bergman will be sent back down to Tacoma. Felix Hernandez is expected to start on Monday against the Houston Astros in the place of James Paxton who went on the disabled list after being hit on his left arm in his last outing. Felix made his first appearance out of the bullpen in that game and did an outstanding job going five and two-thirds innings giving up two runs on a homer against the Oakland A’s.

Now it is time for all the players to start playing their A game for the rest of this series along with the three game series against the Astros at home. Go M’s.

A Look at the Tacoma Rainiers

Thursday the Seattle Mariners have off after playing for twenty straight days so again I figured to look again at the Tacoma Rainiers the Mariners Triple A team. We are familiar with a few of their players because they have spent some of the time with the Mariners this season. The Rainiers begin their longest and final series of the season where they play eleven games in twelve days starting Thursday night. The Rainiers do have a losing record however they could still end up with a winning record especially if they do well on this home stand. They have a record of 59-62 and are in third place of the Pacific Coast League northern division. They are two-and a half games behind the second place Reno. Of the eleven games at home the first four are against Fresno who leads the northern division  ten and a half games ahead of the Rainiers. They are followed with three games against Reno and they end the homestand with four against El Paso. The final road trip will be three in Las Vegas, then El Paso for three that ends the season on September 3. The Mariners will be able to recall any players they want on September 1 when the rosters expand to forty.

Gordon Beckham who spent a little time on the Mariner roster when Dee Gordon went on the disabled list leads the Rainiers in batting with an average of .311. First baseman/designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach leads the Rainiers in home runs with nineteen and rbi’s with 58. The odds are pretty good that Vogelbach will have more than twenty home runs and sixty rbi’s on the season for the Rainiers. Another name that might not be as familiar to some Mariner fans is Ian Miller. Last year he had the Ken Griffey Award as the best player in the Mariners minor league system. He played part of last year in double-A well as Tacoma. This season he has been with the Rainiers the full season he leads the team in runs with 56 while stealing 26 stolen bases. Where he stands and how the Mariners look at him to be on the big club next season or in the future at that matter is hard to know at this point. It would not surprise me he is involved in a trade during the off-season if he isn’t figured part of their future. Right now the Mariners have at least five  outfielders in front of him in Denard Span, Guillermo Heredia, Mitch Haniger, Cameron Maybin (who will be a free agent when the season is over) and Ben Gamel.

Looking at the other two players Gordon Beckham and Daniel Vogelbach will likely be brought up when the PCL season is over. Likely neither one will see much action in September especially with Robinson Cano back on the team. Beckham I am sure will be a free agent at the end of the season. The Mariners may re-sign him to either add depth to the infield or take the place of Andrew Romine as the utility player. This is up in the air because no one knows at this time where Dee Gordon and Robinson Cano will play for the Mariners next season. I am sure Jerry Dipoto and Scott Servais may have an idea. I could see Dee Gordon returning to center field next season and Robinson Cano taking his spot again at second base. This is the case than you will see Ben Gamel in left and Mitch Haniger in right with Heredia as the fourth outfielder. The Mariners could decide to keep Denard Span who could be a free agent if the Mariners buy out his contract for around $4 million. If he plays for the Mariners his contract will be around $12 million. The Mariners could look at trading Gamel as well. Gamel will be another who will be recalled at the beginning of September if not before hand.

Another outfielder that might see action again with the Mariners next season is John Andreoli who was called up a couple times to the Mariners but only batted five times. With the Rainiers he is batting .285 but has only three home runs so he is a similar outfielder to Ian Miller or for that matter Ben Gamel and Denard Span but bats right handed instead of left like they do. His chances on the Mariners next year would be as a fourth outfielder. This again would depend on what Dipoto decides to do during the off-season. He might be called up in September as well but might only limited duty.

Looking at the infield besides Beckham the other choice at this time is Zach Vincej who was called up when Kyle Seager went on paternity leave and did a find job for a little bit of time he was in there. He and Vogelbach are the only ones to be on the 40-man roster at this time. Three other infielders on the Tacoma rosters are second baseman Adam Law, Seth Mejias-Bean and Danny Muno who are all under thirty years of age. Although they don’t look to be starters for the Mariners in the future could be utility players or be involved in a trade. Zach doesn’t have a high batting at .238 but his on-base percentage is over three hundred and he has only six home runs. Adam Law has spent half his season at double A and then the other half with the Rainiers. He is batting .280 with the Rainiers with three home runs. His father Vance and grandfather Vernon both played in the major league. I remember having his grandfather’s baseball card when I was a young kid. Mejias-Bean has had an average season with the Rainiers but not much power either with seven homer runs Muno has been hurt since the end of June and he has average below two hundred with only one home run. So all these guys don’t look to be regulars in the major leagues at this point anyway.

Catchers position right now is occupied by Dan Freitas who has spent some of the season with the Mariners as the second catcher. He is batting .351 with the Rainiers in twenty-six games while with the Mariners he is batting under two hundred in twenty-nine game. He has had a solid minor league career so he could be a solid number two catcher whether with the Rainiers or elsewhere. He looks to me like he could have some power however he hasn’t shown it in his career so far.  Cameron Rupp the Mariners signed recently on a minor league deal only has played in twenty games for the Rainier with an average just above one hundred. He hasn’t had an oppressive career far as at the plate. Hard to know whether he will return next season. A third catcher is Garrett Kennedy who is like Rupp hasn’t shown himself to have a high batting average or power either.

When it comes to pitching not a lot to talk about there. They do have three pitchers who have seven victories that tie for the lead. They are Christian Bergman who recently was brought up to the Mariners when James Paxton went on the disabled list, Casey Lawrence who recently sent down by the Mariners and Rob Whalen who pitched earlier for the Mariners as well.  Lawrence has the lowest era of 2.75 far as starters go. Both Bergman and Whalen haven’t been as impressive being over five earn runs per game. Shawn Armstrong led the Rainiers in saves with twelve and an era of 1.93. Ryan Cook, Mike Morin and Nick Rumbelow  all have had success in the Rainiers bullpen before and after spending some time with the Mariners. Ryan Garton who had some success with the Mariners last September has had a fine season in Tacoma with an era of 3.22 in twenty-nine games. Not a lot to look at with Tacoma far as a future with the Mariners. Dan Altavilla spent a little time with Tacoma just like Seattle but has been hurt for a good period of the year. He still may have a solid career in the major leagues ahead of him. He is now starting a rehab assignment with the Rainiers so we could possibly see him in a Mariner uniform come September. Besides these guys not a lot of other good pitchers for the Mariners to pick from on the Rainier staff. I will do a rap up on the Rainiers when their season is over. I expect not to add much then what I have mentioned here. Look forward to see a few of them this September for the Mariners. Those in the bullpen will get the bulk of the work out of those players when opportunities arise.

Gordon Powers Mariners Past A’s

Wednesday afternoon in a game the Mariners really needed to win it took them twelve innings to beat the Oakland A’s. The pitching was outstanding for both teams though the Mariners had opportunities to score runs in regulation time having a total of ten hits.

We have to give Mike Leake a big ovation since he was able to go eight innings shutting out the A’s giving up only two hits and walking one batter. Also he struck out six batters. For a while he looked like he may pitch a no-hitter. A’s pitcher Brett Anderson almost matched Leake going seven and two-thirds inning giving up five hits, no walks and two strike outs. Leake threw ninety-five pitches while Anderson had The Mariners tried get to the A’s bullpen to beat them but it took until the twelfth inning to do so. Mike Zunino walked and then Dee Gordon hit a home run to right field to score two runs. Mitch Haniger had a double after Guillermo Heredia got an out. Denard Span was not able to hit in Haniger so the score was 2-0 going into the bottom of the twelve inning.

The Mariners had Edwin Diaz read to go so he came in to get his forty-seventh save of the season. He gave up one hit however struck out three batters to record the save.

The Mariners now take on the Dodgers in Seattle starting on Friday to go over the weekend. So they are having a needed day off on Thursday though I always miss not seeing them play.  The Mariners have a record of 70-52 with forty games remaining. They split those games they will end with ninety wins. It would be good to see if that would be enough to make the playoffs but I am not sure whether it will. A lot depends how the Mariners do against the A’s and the Astros along with how they are playing against other teams. The Dodgers on the other hand are 64-57 and have gone 3-7 in the last ten games compared to the Mariners 6-4 record. The way the Mariners have been playing of late it is hard to know what direction they will go. It will be important that the guys do well at the plate and in the field. The Mariners will face two lefties on Saturday and Sunday in Rich Hill and Kershaw so it will be real important that the Mariners win the game Friday night. We know how the Mariners played the Astros it is possible to beat both of them but they will have play in the same manner.  The key for the Mariners is that the starting pitchers will be able to go at least six innings per game to give any chance to win.  Wade LeBlanc will take the mound for the Mariners on Friday followed by Erasmo Ramirez on Saturday. They both pitch like in their last outings the Mariners will be in good shape. Gonzales will have to do better in his next outing as he goes against Kershaw on Sunday.  Long as Alex Colome and Edwin Diaz keep pitching the way they have the bullpen will be in good shape. It will continue be interesting to see how Servais fills out lineup on a daily basis. Cano could be playing first base again on Friday while he could be going anywhere on Saturday and Sunday since Healy will probably be in the lineup. All we shout out now is go M’s.

Paxton Injured Mariners Lose

Tuesday Night when the Seattle Mariners could use a good win against the Oakland A’s a line drive hit James Paxton on his left arm where he had to leave the game.

The score was tied at one  with one out when A’s Jeb Lowrie hit a ball up the middle that ended up hitting Paxton’s left arm and he had to leave the game. Mitch Haniger led off the game with a double and with two outs was singled home by Nelson Cruz. In the bottom of the first leading off shortstop Marcus Semien hit a home run to tie the game. Paxton was able to get the next batter out however Jeb Lowrie hit the ball that struck Paxton. He went after to retrieve the ball but let it stay on the ground. With the trainer and manager Scott Servais he walked off the field. Later it was learned that Paxton had no broken bone so should be OK however he will likely spent some time on the disable list.

Felix Hernandez came in for Paxton in his first relief in the major leagues. He actually did a fine job. His only mistake was giving up a two-run homer to Lowrie in the third inning. Lowrie was not kind at all for the Mariners Tuesday night. Felix ended up going five and two-third innings giving up five hits with the two runs. Also he walked two batters along with striking out two. Not bad for a guy’s first outing in relief. Unfortunately he was recorded with the loss. Now his record is 8-11. Felix now has lost four games in a row after having a record of 8-7. With Paxton likely going on the disabled list Felix is probably going to step in his spot of the rotation since he had a good outing. Nick Vincent pitched the eighth inning giving up no hits and striking out one. Adam Warren pitched the eighth inning giving up a hit, a walk and striking out one without giving up a run.

With Paxton out for the near future the Mariners will likely add a reliever to the roster. The most likely one will be Chasen Bradford who was sent down several days ago.

Besides Mitch Haniger’s double and Cruz rbi the only other run the Mariners had was a home run by Cameron Maybin which was his first with the Mariners. So far the Mariners hitting hasn’t been good in this series against the A’s. Actually they have had hits but unable to drive in many runs. Again the Mariners were in a one run game against the A’s and again they lost.

Mike Leake will go for the Mariners in today’s afternoon finally of this series against the A’s. He has an era of under three against the A’s this year and he will face off against lefty Brett Anderson who has a history of doing very well against the Mariners. We hope that the Mariners bats can come alive on Wednesday. It comes to my mind that if the Mariners lose this game the sweep against the Astros has gone for not since they will be swept by the A’s and loses ground by the three games. The Mariners always seem to get into trouble when they have been in a playoff race the last few years. Most recently they missed out the playoffs by a game. Last year they weren’t in the race because of so many injuries to the starting rotation. Every starter was out a significant amount of time except Ariel Miranda who made every start last season. Now he is pitching in Japan. It is tough when a player like Kyle Seager has an important role on the team and he is having a terrible season. He is getting home runs and driving in runs like in most years. For a while his fielding was outstanding but his fielding has been terrible as of late since he has been back from paternity leave. Robinson Cano started Tuesday night’s game at first base in his return from suspension however he may play some at third as well. Right now Seager is batting .227 and has struck out one hundred times in 117 games but it has been his struggle in the field along with making poor decisions at the plate as well. He isn’t playing the kind of ball a player of his kind should be on a playoff team. If the Mariners don’t make the playoffs again I wouldn’t be surprised if general manager Jerry Dipoto may do something at third base during the off-season. The Mariners need players that can play baseball at playoff level over a course of a season. Go M’s.

Robinson Cano is Activated

The Seattle Mariners now have Robinson Cano returning Tuesday night after being on suspension for eighty games. Last week he spent two games on rehab assignment for triple A Tacoma and then three games in rookie ball Everett on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. He said that he was all set and ready to go.

An offense that did a good job for the first month or so that he was on suspension has had problems the last month scoring runs is welcoming him back. The games he missed the Mariners were 46-34. This means that he was six games above five hundred when he was suspended. It was odd situation because he had just gotten hurt and would have spent some time on the disabled list anyway.

In the last month the Mariners have been playing about five hundred so shows how they did before this skid without Cano. The offense really needs a shot in the arm. In some respects so does the defense though Dee Gordon has played as well if not better than Cano at second base which is not an easy fate.

Casey Lawrence who pitched three innings ineffectively was optioned back to Tacoma as Robinson Cano was activated Tuesday.

We should know in a few hours where Cano will be in the lineup and what position he will start in his first game back. With Gordon nursing pain in his left shoulder wouldn’t be surprised if Cano starts his first game back in his familiar spot of second base. The question to that many are asking whether he will bat third in the batting order. That is a good question. Jean Segura has been hitting well in the third spot since manager Scott Servais changed the batting order when they played the Astros in Houston. There is a possibility that Cano could go to the second spot in the batting order or Segura shifting back to the second spot. Cano could move to the fifth spot in the batting order where Kyle Seager has struggled a good part of the year. This could depend where he is playing as well. The importance is what makes the Mariners a better team offensively. One thing for sure he will likely bat somewhere between second and fifth depending how he  is hitting and other players as well.

Manager Scott Servais feels that Cano will feel uncomfortable as he returns to the team which is understandable. We will have to see how the fans respond when the Mariners return to Seattle to play the Dodgers on Friday. Much of that will depend on how he plays and the Mariners are too. The Mariners win both games remaining in Oakland and he is hitting well contributes to the offensive output I expect that he will get a really good response. Otherwise it will be hard to tell. I am sure everyone is hoping that the Mariners will go on a good win streak in the meantime. Go M’s.

Mariners Lose Opener to A’s

The Seattle Mariners went into Oakland to see if they can beat the A’s after sweeping the Houston Astros. This being the first game of the series it always seems to be an important game especially when the season is coming to a close and every game counts for something.

During the season especially the last month or so it is easy to wonder who these guys are. The first seven inning the Mariners looked like a team that wasn’t playing nineteen games above five hundred instead of one that is nineteen games below.

Marco Gonzales who has twelve victories on the season and the most wins by any starter on the team had trouble in this game. He was able to go only five innings throwing ninety-seven pitches which are around his limit. The Mariners don’t want him going over a hundred pitches if possible. In the five inning he gave up eight hits, walked three which is unusual for him and struck out four. He has been striking out more than four hitters a game though he isn’t overpowering and throws more like Wade LeBlanc or Jamie Moyer.

The Mariners did have a solid chance after five innings being down 4-1 though the offense wasn’t going well however Casey Lawrence who recently was brought up from Tacoma pitched the remaining three innings however he gave up three runs all in the sixth inning to make it 7-1.

The Mariners offense came alive in the eighth inning when they scored a run off of starter Sean Manaea who had been going along smoothly before had and then in the eighth inning he was replaced by former Mariners Emilio Pagan who gave up two hits and yield another run to make it 7-3.

The odds were still against the Mariners to win the game because they would have to score five runs to win in regulation time. Mitch Haniger continues blistering the ball hit a double that allowed the Mariners get closer to winning. He had three hits in the game while Jean Segura had four out of the team’s ten hits. The Mariners came in a whisper to win the game scoring three runs off of reliever Jeurys Familia who the A’s had recently picked up from the New York Mets. The Mariners had the tying and leading run on base after closer Blake Treinen came into the game. Treinen actually had trouble giving up two hits but struck out three Mariners to close the door. So the Mariners did have another one run game however this time they were not able to secure the win.

James Paxton who is expected to be the stopper will go for his eleventh win for the Mariners against right hander Mike Fiers who is making his second start for the A’s since being traded over by the Detroit Tigers. He went five and a third innings giving up four hits and a run. We hope that the Mariners can get off early and often against him. Fiers the Mariners beat back in May when he was pitching for the Tigers. The Mariners won the game 7-2. This would be great for the Mariners so Wednesday’s afternoon game would be for winning the series. The Mariners will have Mike Leake going for them against lefty Brett Anderson. Back in May he did beat the Mariners 3-2 going against James Paxton. We hope that the Mariners will have a better answer for him next time.

The Mariners are now two and a half games behind the A’s. The Mariners win these two remaining games then they will be only a half a game behind them. The Mariners have done well against them in Oakland. This season they were 2-1 against the A’s in Oakland before Monday night’s game. Go M’s.

Mariners Sweep Astros

I am sure we are all surprised that the Mariners swept the Astros in a four game series. It is one of the hardest things to do no matter how good or bad the other team is however the Mariners did it in fine fashion.

The Astros have what most would call the best five-man starting rotation in the major leagues and the Mariners faced their top four pitchers.

What made the sweep amazing beyond the fact they were able to score some runs against the Astros the Mariners starts were able to match up with them. In the first game the Mariner hitters were able get to Justin Verlander early scoring six runs in the first two innings making him an early exit.

A breakdown of the pitching in the series the Mariners scored total of twenty runs with fifteen of them against the starters. So the Astros bullpen which was the questionable part of the pitching gave up only five runs.  The Mariner pitchers gave up a total of thirteen in the series with 8 runs and half of those were by James Paxton in game number one in five and two-third innings. Mike Leake and Wade LeBlanc each gave up two runs in their starts with Leake going six innings and LeBlanc five. The biggest surprise was in the final game of the series Erasmo Ramirez making his first start of the season coming off rehab and pitching in Felix’s spot shut out the Astros in five innings. The fifth inning was the inning he had the hardest time however was able to get through it.

The Mariners’ bullpen gave up five runs in fourteen and a third innings. Two runs in the first game and then three runs in the final game. The two middle games they didn’t give up a run at all. Edwin Diaz got a save in all four games. The last pitcher to get four saves in a four game series was Joe Nathan when he was with the Minnesota Twins in 2004; quite an accomplishment for sure.

Another big story of the series was Scott Servais changed the lineup around including inserting Mitch Haniger in the leadoff spot. It all started off with Haniger leading off the first game of the series hitting a home run off of Verlander. It was awesome the rest of the way. In total he had nine hits in seventeen at bats and drove in four runs. Not bad for first four games leading off. I am sure we will see him at leadoff in the Oakland A’s. As long as he is hitting well I am sure we will see him in that spot.

Sunday’s game the Mariners hero in the 4-3 victory was Ryon Healy who hit a home run to tie the game at 3-3 in the top of the ninth after the Astros scored all three runs of theirs in the eighth inning. He then drove in the winning run with a single in the top of the tenth inning. What an exciting way to finish off the Astros.

The Mariners now go to Oakland to take on the A’s still a game and a half behind them. The Mariners will be able to come closer if they can win at least two of the three games. They do that they are a half a game behind the A’s while they sweep the A’s they will trade spots and have a game and a half lead over them. While the Mariners and A’s play the Astros will be at home against the Colorado Rockies for two games. Of course we will be rooting for the Rockies. The Astros then will go to Oakland next weekend while the Mariners will be home to play the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Astros then will come to Seattle next week to play the Mariners Monday thru Wednesday. We are hoping at that point the race between the Mariners, Astros and A’s will be real tight. I am sure the stands will be filled with big crowds for those six games. Go M’s.