And so it begins
Welcome to the first edition of the State of the Mariners update for the 2012 regular season. In these weekly updates you will find all the information and news regarding the Seattle Mariners Baseball Franchise.
Upcoming Match Ups
The Mariners will continue with spring training games until this weekend when the team will restart their regular season with a two game match up against the Oakland Athletics.
Manager Eric Wedge has set the rotation, but with the unique circumstances starting the season in Japan and then returning to spring training it is not entirely certain which pitchers will open in Oakland on Friday and Saturday.
In order to have Felix pitch the home opener in Seattle on April 13 Vargas will get the start for the Mariners in Oakland, With Felix starting the second game.
What is likely is that the M’s will have studied up on A’s since their last appearance and hopefully have more success in this second meeting with them this season. The key will be improving their clutch hits.
The Mariners split the two games against Oakland in the Tokyo Dome and have a record of 1-1. Both Hernandez and Vargas had good outings but both resulted in a non decision.
Their offensive troubles seem to have continued into the new season as the M’s thus far have a combined average of .174 scoring a total of 4 runs in two games. Two of those runs coming of solo home runs of Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak.
The Mariners pen answered the call the first night with Tom Wilhelmsen and Brandon League, getting the win and save respectively. The second night however Shawn Kelly recoded the loss after he and Steve Delabar were each stung, giving up homes run to Oakland batters.
The Good News
Repeat after me: It is still early and the M’s new line up is still adjusting to a new season. If all the reports are true then we should expect better offensive projections from the team as a whole. It was encouraging to see Ichiro Suzuki settle into his new role in the number 3 spot in the in the lineup, that Dustin Ackley can combine good hitting, solid base running and pop.
Justin Smoak delivered on a promise to be back at full health lifting a ball into the left field bleachers. Most encouraging was to see great starts from both Seattle Veterans Felix Hernadez and Jason Vargas.
The Bad News
Both Steve Delabar and Shawn Kelly had disappointing initial appearances in Japan that cost the Mariners the game. The 2012 bullpen has a lot of question marks surrounding it and this did not help instill confidence. However the lack of offense requires that M’s pitchers achieve perfection every outing which simply isn’t attainable.
Roster Moves / Trades
The Mariners have set their 25 man roster: Read about the initial starters for the M’s here.
The M’s also released RHP Aaron Heilman who had inked a minor league contract with the M’s for this season. It seems Heilman could not recover from his difficult 2011 year with the Arizona Diamondback in which he held a 6.88 ERA.
Mike Carp who is set to be the starting left fielder for the Mariners this season showed a tremendous effort defensively, but apparently these efforts led him to the 15 day disabled list after only one game.
The injury is cited as a shoulder strain, and is relatively minor, but Carp was still working on his swing timing this spring and this will undoubtedly be a major setback in his offensive contribution.
Adam Moore, who sustained a wrist injury early in spring training, is set to return to the cactus league with the Mariners. Moore had a great off season, but no matter his condition he is likely to play in Tacoma for the majority of 2012.
M’s beat reporter, Shannon Drayer, announced that Franklin Gutierrez on the DL with a torn pectoral muscle started reintroducing several baseball activities into his recovery efforts.
M’s in the Community
The trip to Japan saw the Mariners engaged is several community projects including visiting the areas affected by the Tsunami just over a year ago. Players from the Athletics and the M’s both spent time with youngsters in the community giving them baseball coaching and a donation to help rebuild their baseball facilities in the community
The Mariners also used the opportunity to be traveling overseas to honor the U.S. servicemen stationed in Japan. This included a visitation to the military facility an autograph session. The military matches their generosity with a white knuckled ride in a helicopter.
Closer to home, Safeco field officials announced their efforts to continue to be a green facility by announcing the installation of solar panels on the ball park. These panels will help offset their carbon footprint to the tune of 40,000 kilowatt hours per year.
Fans will be able to see exactly what these 168 panels are contributing of several monitors stationed around the ballpark this summer.
With the injuries to two of the key Mariners outfielders and the retirement of needed veteran presence Carlos Guillen this spring, some fans have speculated that the Mariners should look at signing veteran free agent Johnny Damon in an effort to use as a mentor for the young roster in Seattle. Read more about that here: What do you think Mariners fans…Johnny Damon to Seattle?
Mariners Short Stop Brendan Ryan proposed to his girlfriend during the recent road trip. She said yes. Congrats to the Future Mrs. Ryan.
Congratulations are also in order to Alex Liddi who was awarded the M’s rookie of the year for his performance of the 2012 Spring training.
The Mariners are set to start the season facing off the two time reigning AL champions Texas Rangers sandwiched between two series with Oakland.
The division standings will probably show the Mariners in a rapid decline as the traditionally slow starting Mariners face off against MLB rookie (but Japanese Veteran) Yu Darvish and potent Texas offense in Texas.
The Mariners are looking to favorites to finish 3rd over Oakland in the division by the end of the season.
What’s on tap this week?
|4/6/12||@OAK||L 1-4 3/29/12|
|4/7/12||@OAK||L 1-4 3/29/12|
|4/9/12||@TEX||L 5-12 9/25/11|
|4/10/12||@TEX||L 5-12 9/25/11|
|4/11/12||@TEX||L 5-12 9/25/11|