A short week with the All-Star game and the surrounding break early in the week. Felix, Cano, Seager, and Rodney all helped the American League beat the National League in the Midsummer Classic and secured home field advantage for the Mariners in this year’s World Series. (If you want to take a brief look at home field advantage, check out my post on the King’s Court)
The Mariners resumed play with a three game series against the Angels. There was a ton of hype surrounding the three game series against the Athletics right before the break but this Angels series was just as important, if not even moreso. The Mariners and Angels needed ten extra innings to settle these three games and, after two walk-off wins, the Angels emerged triumphant. So this marathon of a series and the Athletics series last weekend have shown us that the Mariners can play competitively with the top two team in the division and AL. We’re not at the point where I’d be confident in a one game playoff but we’re close. The trade deadline is July 31, just a week and a half away. Let’s see if Jack Zduriencik has any more magic up his sleeve.
The Mariners head into the All-Star break after taking two of three from the division leading Athletics. This week seemed like a good way to gain some momentum for the second half but a stinker of a series against the Twins put a damper on any hope of a hot streak. In the two series against the White Sox and Twins, the Mariners scored a grand total of 9 runs in 7 games. We owe our two wins to excellent pitching performances by Felix, Iwakuma, and the bullpen. The two wins over the Athletics were pretty decisive. It definitely felt good to get two strong wins against the best team in baseball right before the break..
For this week’s recap, I’m going to go through each position group and give a mid-season report. The stats included will be to-date season performances instead of the normal two-week period.
Early in the week, the Mariners split a four game, home-away series in which the losing team scored only once in each game. We also gave away another gem of a performance from King Felix (7 IP, 10 K, 3 H) on Wednesday. Over the weekend, we took on the Royals, who had recently been on a 12-game winning streak. The Mariners juggernaut swept away that pitiful band of royalty. We’ve firmly entrenched ourselves in the AL Wild Card race and have refused to give up any ground.
Welcome back to another season of Seattle Mariners baseball. I’ll be covering the team week by week again and in the coming weeks you’ll be seeing some new features to this recurring series. For now, enjoy this recap of the first two weeks of play.
That series sweep against the Angels to begin the year felt really good. A number of experts picked the Angels to have resurgent year, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton couldn’t this bad the thinking went. Well a thorough dismantling by the Mariners doesn’t prove much–its only three games after all–but it sure was fun.
I’ll be glad when the Mariners are playing any of the other 27 teams in the majors. We started the year with five games against the Angels and six games against the Athletics. While we were able to build a small lead against three of the AL West teams, it’ll be nice to see another opponent.
Spring Training is in full swing and there’s just two weeks until Opening Day! The Mariners enter the 2014 season after handing out the largest contract to the top free agent during the offseason. Personally, it feels like the Mariners have turned a corner from rebuilding mode to win-now mode. Whether it was the right time or not is up for debate but I’m excited to see where this takes us. Just like last year, I’ll be offering my thoughts on the projected roster, broken up by position group. I’ve simplified the amount of data I’m presenting–just a personally built 2014 projection. I trust that you’re able to look up historical data on your own.
First up, the 2014 Seattle Mariners infield. A bunch of young guys out to prove themselves surround a star who will be counted on to lead this team back to the promised land. The signing of Robinson Cano brought a lot of fanfare but three of the five positions in the infield will be held by players drafted and developed by the Mariners. This organization has been able to identify and develop strong talents across the infield and this position group is now one of the strengths of the team.
The Mariners came out of the All-Star break on a roll, sweeping the Astros and taking two of three against the Indians. We stumbled against the Twins over the weekend, splitting a four game series. This July surge is eerily reminiscent of similar surges in 2009 and 2011 except this year it’s almost completely driven by our young core.
Yesterday, the Seattle Mariners called up Mike Zunino from AAA-Tacoma just a year after he was drafted. Tonight, he will be making his major league debut, starting at catcher and batting sixth for the Mariners. To say this decision has been criticized might be an understatement. It’s been analyzed from almost every angle and has been universally panned by the blogging community. I won’t add my voice to the cacophony but I do want to examine this move as a case study in decision-making. As a project manager, I regularly give input into decisions that I hope are based on sound, rational data. It seems like throwing Mike Zunino into the major leagues was a decision made based in emotional and personal sentiment.
Big news today as the Mariners have called up Mike Zunino from AAA-Tacoma. In his first full year as a professional, Zunino has hit .238/.303/.503. He has certainly showed his strong power potential but he is not a polished hitter and has struggled against advanced AAA pitching recently. This is clearly a desperate move by the front office to try and salvage something positive from this season. But rushing unprepared prospects is not the answer to the problems this team faces. The roster is still full of veteran stopgaps and hasn’t yet been stripped down like Houston or Miami so what’s the point in bringing up Zunino? If Zunino is on his way, shouldn’t we be calling up all of our other prospects to see which of them will stick? Dave Cameron at USS Mariner makes an excellent argument for why this move signals the end of the Jack Z era in Seattle.