Mariners Finish April Strong, Approaching Tough Stretch

Week 5 Recap

Date Away Team Score Home Team Score Result
4/28
4/29 Mariners 6 Yankees 3 W
4/30 Mariners Yankees PPD
5/1 Mariners 4 Yankees 2 W
5/2 Mariners 4 Astros 5 L/11
5/3 Mariners 9 Astros 8 W
5/4 Mariners 8 Astros 7 W

Well that was a fun week. The Mariners scored 31 runs in 5 games on the road but the bullpen made three of those games more exciting than they should have been. It seems like that’s becoming a regular occurrence. “Sweeping (one of the games was rained out)” the Yankees in New York was pretty great and we won the series in Houston. Now, if only we could score that many runs at home.

  • The Mariners enter play this week with a better record than the Red Sox, the Rays, and the Indians–all preseason contenders. We’re tied for the seventh best record in the AL–right in the middle of the pack–and are just a single game back in the wild card race. This season is far from over, but its nice to see us make some positive steps especially after that eight game losing streak.

Player Performances One of the features I’m including is a look at the recent player performances from the past two weeks. That small of a sample size will give us some pretty extreme data points. If you want to see the methodology behind these statistics, check out this page. The two tables below are the batting and pitching data from the last two weeks (4/14-27).

Batters

Name G AB 1B 2B 3B HR SB BB AVG OBP SLG BB% K% BABIP WAR
Kyle Seager 11 44 7 2 0 5 1 3 .318 .375 .705 6.3% 20.8% .310 0.7
Michael Saunders 10 25 6 2 0 1 0 3 .360 .429 .560 10.7% 21.4% .444 0.4
Robinson Cano 11 45 11 3 1 0 2 3 .333 .375 .444 6.3% 18.8% .417 0.4
Justin Smoak 11 42 5 3 0 2 0 3 .238 .304 .452 6.5% 28.3% .296 0.2
Mike Zunino 9 30 5 1 0 1 0 2 .233 .314 .367 5.7% 40.0% .375 0.2
Willie Bloomquist 4 17 4 1 0 0 0 0 .294 .294 .353 0.0% 29.4% .417 0.2
John Buck 2 7 1 2 0 0 0 1 .429 .500 .714 12.5% 0.0% .429 0.1
Stefen Romero 8 31 5 3 1 0 0 0 .290 .313 .452 0.0% 21.9% .375 0.1
Nick Franklin 2 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 .250 .250 .250 0.0% 25.0% .333 0.0
Abraham Almonte 9 29 3 1 0 0 1 1 .138 .194 .172 3.2% 41.9% .250 -0.1
Brad Miller 7 24 3 1 0 0 0 1 .167 .200 .208 3.8% 26.9% .235 -0.1
Cole Gillespie 4 12 1 1 0 0 0 1 .167 .231 .250 7.7% 0.0% .167 -0.2
Dustin Ackley 10 26 4 0 0 0 0 5 .154 .290 .154 16.1% 35.5% .267 -0.2
Corey Hart 11 42 6 1 0 0 0 3 .167 .271 .190 6.3% 18.8% .212 -0.4
  • Abraham Almonte’s time as starting center fielder has come to an end. It was clear in his brief time atop the lineup that he wasn’t ready to handle leading off. His strikeout rate was an Adam Dunn-esque 35% and he wasn’t getting on base either with a .248 OBP. When things are going right, Almonte could be a catalyst for the offense but half of that play comes once he gets on base and so far, he hasn’t done that. He was sent to Triple-A Tacoma to work on his plate approach and work on reducing his mental lapses in the field.
  • Replacing Almonte in center will be some combination of Michael Saunders and James Jones. Jones had a brief call up earlier this year but all of the comments from the organization point toward him having a significant role moving forward. He was hitting .313/.382/.450 in 20 Triple-A games before being called up. He’s a burner with a ton of speed, gap power, and cannon for an arm. His defensive profile would make him the most efficient in right field where his arm would be a huge asset but his speed allows him to play a decent center field. Michael Saunders will continue filling in where needed in the outfield, and the more playing time the better. Saunders has broken out of his early season slump and produced the second most WAR on the team over the last two weeks. I’d expect to see a rotation of Jones, Saunders, and Romero in center and right with Jones and Saunders playing against righties and Saunders and Romero playing against lefties.

Pitchers

Name IP G TBF SO K/9 BB BB/9 HR HR/9 BABIP ERA FIP pLI WAR
Felix Hernandez 18 3 78 14 7.00 7 3.50 1 0.50 .291 3.50 3.63 0.3
Roenis Elias 12 2/3 2 52 16 11.37 5 3.55 1 0.71 .333 2.84 2.82 0.3
Brandon Maurer 8 2/3 2 42 6 6.23 3 3.12 2 2.08 .355 9.35 5.79 0.0
Chris Young 12 2/3 2 53 9 6.39 8 5.68 2 1.42 .147 2.84 5.66 0.0
Hisashi Iwakuma 6 2/3 1 26 3 4.05 1 1.35 1 1.35 .238 5.40 4.63 0.0
Erasmo Ramirez 6 1 24 8 12.00 3 4.50 2 3.00 .091 4.50 6.30 -0.1
Danny Farquhar 7 6 34 10 12.27 1 1.23 0 0.00 .455 2.45 1.22 1.5 0.3
Fernando Rodney 6 6 30 9 12.79 3 4.26 0 0.00 .438 4.26 2.66 2.3 0.2
Charlie Furbush 3 1/3 6 19 4 10.80 1 2.70 0 0.00 .538 10.80 2.53 1.2 0.1
Joe Beimel 1 2/3 3 8 1 5.40 0 0.00 0 0.00 .571 10.80 1.93 0.8 0.0
Lucas Luetge 1 1/3 1 5 1 6.75 1 6.75 0 0.00 .000 0.00 3.88 0.3 0.0
Yoervis Medina 5 6 26 3 5.06 3 5.06 0 0.00 .368 5.06 4.26 1.8 0.0
Tom Wilhelmsen 7 5 28 5 6.43 3 3.86 1 1.29 .158 1.29 4.85 0.9 -0.1
Dominic Leone 3 4 15 4 12.00 2 6.00 2 6.00 .286 6.00 11.13 0.8 -0.2
  • Hisashi Iwakuma made his first start of the season on Friday in Houston. The results weren’t the best–6 2/3 IP, 3 Ks, 1 BB, 1 HR–but it’s good to see him back after his finger injury. The rotation immediately become much better with him slotted into the #2 spot. After this crazy week–the Mariners will need six starters this week–I’d expect Brandon Maurer to lose his spot despite his relatively promising starts the last few weeks.
  • Man, this bullpen has got some real issues. On Saturday, the Mariners were leading 9-2 at one point and were able to hang onto a one run lead in the ninth. On Sunday, we were leading 6-1 and 8-4 and won by just one run again. Lloyd McClendon’s bullpen management has been a bit suspect–odd, since he was a bullpen coach for a few years while in Detroit. Danny Farquhar is getting more high leverage innings at the expense of Tom Wilhelmsen (a good thing) but Yoervis Medina still seems like the go to guy in the eighth inning (a bad thing). All this and the roller coaster that is a Fernando Rodney save opportunity makes for some exciting times ahead during the late innings.

AL West Standings

Team Win-Loss Win% Games Behind
Athletics 19-12 0.613
Rangers 17-14 0.548 2
Angels 15-15 0.5 3.5
Mariners 14-15 0.483 4
Astros 10-21 0.323 9

The Week Ahead

Date Away Team Probable Pitcher Home Team Probable Pitcher
5/5 Mariners R Chris Young Athletics L Scott Kazmir
5/6 Mariners L Roenis Elias Athletics R Jesse Chavez
5/7 Mariners TBD Athletics TBD
5/7 Mariners R Felix Hernandez Athletics TBD
5/8 Royals L Danny Duffy Mariners TBD
5/9 Royals L Jason Vargas Mariners TBD
5/10 Royals TBD Mariners TBD
5/11 Royals TBD Mariners TBD

Here’s where the schedule gets hard. We play eight games in seven days, four on the road and four at home. Erasmo Ramirez is expected to be called up to start the first game of the double-header on Wednesday and then Maurer, Iwakuma, Young, and Elias will round out the weekend. If the Mariners can split the four games against the Athletics and get a series win at home against the Royals, I’ll call this week a success.

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