Mariners Progress Report: The Ship Is Sinking

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 12: Relief pitcher Tony Zych
SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 12: Relief pitcher Tony Zych /

The Mariners had a promising start to the week, taking both games of a quick series in Oakland. Then all hell broke loose against the Angels at the worst time.

The Mariners came back to Safeco Field ready to celebrate Edgar Martinez’s number retirement. Instead, Seattle embarrassed themselves and perhaps put their playoff hopes on life support.

The M’s finished the week 2-4 after suffering a four-game sweep against the Angels. The Mariners and Angels basically swapped places in the standings as now Seattle is two games behind the Halos for the second Wild Card spot. The feeling is the Mariners are letting this slip away. Teams all around them keep losing to let Seattle in but the M’s cannot get out of their own way. They are only two games out but with all the injuries and lack of pitching, if feels like 20.

SEATTLE, WA – AUGUST 11: Nelson Cruz
SEATTLE, WA – AUGUST 11: Nelson Cruz /

Batting: B-

The Mariners averaged 4.3 runs per game this week which is slightly below their season average. They failed to score runs in critical situations multiple times. They were 6-for-30 with runners in scoring position (.200 average) during the four-game series with L.A.

Nelson Cruz was certainly a bright spot as he hit .435 with four home runs,10 RBI and a whopping 1.527 OPS, putting his name in the hat for A.L. Player of the Week honors. The other masher in the lineup, Robinson Cano, hit .375 this week.

Kyle Seager, although still struggling with consistency, shows he still has the power of an elite third baseman as he hit two dingers this week with five RBI. He is now just two home runs shy of his sixth straight 20+ home run season.

Yonder Alonso is six games into his Mariners career. He went 4 for 22 (.182) without an extra base hit. He didn’t exactly blow the doors off of Safeco Field but it is still early for him.

Mike Zunino is in some real trouble. He hit .154, although one of his two hits this week was a monstrous home run. Zunino is hitting .176 in the last month.

SEATTLE, WA – AUGUST 12: Starter Erasmo Ramirez
SEATTLE, WA – AUGUST 12: Starter Erasmo Ramirez /

Pitching: D

The staff as a whole posted a 4.75 ERA. James Paxton pitched into the 7th inning during Thursday’s loss to the Angels. He then had to leave with a pectoral strain and is now on the 10-day disabled list. Mariners fans all over Seattle may have thrown up their hands in disbelief at another injury and stuck a fork in this season. I am tempted to do the same.

Before we get to the ugly parts, Erasmo Ramirez had a solid start on Saturday, throwing six innings without an earned run. Christian Bergman was called up to aid a fatigued bullpen and he threw five shutout innings.

Aside from a few scoreless outings here and there, the pitching was atrocious. The bullpen was embarrassing in the series sweep at the hands of the Angels. The bullpen had a 7.36 ERA in those four games. Three of the four losses this week were credited to a reliever. Edwin Diaz walked the bases loaded for Mike Trout during a tie game, which isn’t what we call a sound strategy. He then gave up a three-run double to the MVP. He did notch two saves this week but it was overshadowed by his implosion on Thursday.

Andrew Moore had a rough outing out of the pen, allowing four runs in just 1 2/3 innings. Ariel Miranda had eight walks and 10 earned runs in two starts this week. Need I go on? The pitching is sinking this team quickly. It is an injury-depleted, inexperienced bunch.

SEATTLE, WA – AUGUST 12: Yonder Alonso
SEATTLE, WA – AUGUST 12: Yonder Alonso /

Defense/Baserunning: C-

The Mariners committed three errors which led to two unearned runs. They now sit at 5 Defensive Runs Saved, 14th in the league. There were also a few baserunning blunders. Alonso was sent home to try and break the tie on a Cano double on Saturday, only to be thrown out by a mile. Dyson got himself in a pickle while on second on a routine ground ball to shortstop. Both of these mistakes cost the Mariners at least two runs and perhaps a win.

Next: A Realistic Look at Yonder Alonso

Jarrod Dyson has taken the lead in the American League for stolen bases with his 27th this week.

Player of the Week: Nelson Cruz (.435, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 1.527 OPS)