The Mariners received poor grades for their disastrous 1-6 first week of the season. How bad were they?
Just like those kids that check the mailbox in hopes of intercepting their less-than-stellar grades from their parents, it’s time to evaluate the week that was in Mariners baseball. In short, it was not pretty.
The Mariners had about as bad an opening week as you can have, starting 1-6 after a historic meltdown on Sunday. But after this report and review, let’s all just flush this week down and start anew. Baseball between now and Memorial Day is a feeling-out process, so long as you don’t fall double-digit games back in your division.
Here are our grades for the various elements of Mariners baseball for opening week.
This grade would have been an F without them scoring nine runs on Sunday. Robinson Cano finally awoke from his slumber with a home run and five RBI. Jean Segura and Mitch Haniger have been the steady bats in the lineup so far.
Segura leads the team with 10 hits and three stolen bases. He also has six runs scored and a home run in his first week as a Mariner.
Haniger has been impressive, with a team-high three home runs in the first seven games. But the stars in the middle of the order have been anything but stars. Nelson Cruz has looked downright dreadful, with just two hits, zero home runs and a puzzling .080 average. Kyle Seager has not been much better, with a .130 average.
The Mariners overall have hit just five home runs. They have been unwatchable while hitting with runners in scoring position and dead last in Major League Baseball with a .140 average in such situations.
The good news is there is nowhere to go but up for this group. Cruz, Cano, and Seager will get going. Their track record nearly guarantees that. Also, the baserunning has been good. Seattle is third in baseball with six steals.
This grade would be much higher had Sunday not happened. Starting pitching has actually been the strong point, which is the opposite of what everyone thought heading into the season. In fact, the Mariners are 7th in the MLB in starter ERA with 3.00. Felix Hernandez still has not walked anyone. Hisashi Iwakuma was dealing on Sunday before all hell broke loose.
The downside is that the Mariners are tied for the league lead in home runs allowed with 9. The bullpen has been shaky at best. The Mariners are 27th in the league in reliever ERA at 7.33 and are one of just four teams with three losses by relievers already.
Sunday’s nightmare began with Casey Fien walking two and allowing two hits on his way to allowing four earned runs. Edwin Diaz didn’t fare much better, allowing the tying and winning runs to score. That was one of the biggest 9th inning meltdowns in recent baseball history.
The starting pitching has been getting absolutely no help from the offense or the bullpen. Hopefully they keep pulling their weight as everyone else figures it out.
The Mariners have the second-most errors in the league. Kyle Seager has half of them. He has made up for a few with some nice glove work, turning a few double plays.
Mike Zunino has nabbed two runners trying to steal, the league leader has three.
The defense is at an even 0 defensive runs saved, meaning the defense has cost the team as many runs as they have saved. It is easy to tell that the Mariners have upgraded in the outfield with Jarrod Dyson and Mitch Haniger.
Overall Grade: D+
There is no sugar-coating the horrible start the Mariners have had. The only direction they can point their fingers is at themselves. Almost zero timely hitting and bullpen collapses are not a recipe for a playoff team. Things should even out, as they usually do. The Mariners did start 2-6 last season, so a win today would reach that. The M’s of course went on to win 86 games. There’s lots of baseball left but let’s hope it isn’t this kind of baseball.
Editor’s note: We’re live blogging the home opener at Safeco Field. Head over to our comment section to share your impressions of the game as it unfolds. Click the above link.