Most of the people reading this know how the Seattle Mariners pitching staff went south, mid-season. Again, looking at the big picture, it’s no surprise. Believe it or not the M’s walked the fewest batters in the majors this year. It’s too bad they couldn’t stop other teams hitting their pitches.
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They were 20th in batting average allowed at .252. That is very close to Seattle’s offensive batting average. As is their ninth worst .726 OPS against, which again is close to their .722 offensive OPS.
Just like the offense, the Mariners margin of error was so thin, that so many of the small things mattered. This is where my discontent with this season really comes to the surface. I mentioned the M’s inability to move runners over earlier. On the pitching side, it comes down small things such as pitching changes or even more detailed, how they pitched to opponents.
How many times did a Seattle pitcher wind up on the short end after leading a batter in the count? I’m not blaming catcher Mike Zunino, he does what he’s told. It gets backs to what he’s being told. There is a serious disconnect between what should happen and what does happen on the mound.
Again due to the thin margin of error the M’s had, they couldn’t afford to have an ineffective Felix Hernandez pitch as often as he did. Someone needed to step up and sit him down. Even if there were injuries to James Paxton and Marco Gonzales. His 5.55 earned run average was the worst on Seattle’s staff among pitchers with 45 or more innings. It wasn’t even close, Mike Leake was next with a 4.36 ERA. That’s over a run per nine innings.
There were injuries, lots of injuries, the Seattle Mariners used 32 pitchers last season. It’s baffling to think that among 32 pitchers that could have taken innings away from someone so ineffective. Granted, they gave a second chance to Erasmo Ramirez, but his penchant for giving up home runs should have disqualified him from pitching at the major league level.
It’s easy to second guess. When it comes to pitching, the Mariners were either to slow to realize they didn’t have the right personnel or couldn’t press the right buttons to get the pitches they needed when it mattered.