mariners

State of the Mariners – weekly notebook | April 30th

What a surprise!

Welcome to the fifth edition of the State of the Seattle 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 M’s are headed to Tampa Bay, to take on the Rays under the management of Joe Maddon.  The Rays have developed quite a competitive strategy in the A.L. East.

With a team payroll of just over 64 Million dollars the Rays have a real shot at the play offs every year.

Compare that with the M’s payroll just shy of 82 Million and you wonder what Seattle is missing out on.

The M’s are 11-12 for the season compared with the Rays sitting at 13-8 which still only leaves them at second place in their division.  This four game stretch will be tough slugging for the M’s as they have found their pitching to be sub par this season against a team that can hit the skin off the ball if you make a mistake.

Here are the match ups

Game 1: Monday, April 30, 4:10 PST
Felix Hernandez vs Jeremy Hellickson

Game 2: Tuesday, May 1, 4:10 PST
Hector Noesi vs Matt Moore

Game 3: Wednesday, May 2, 4:10 PST
Blake Beaven vs James Shields

Game 4: Thursday, May 3, 10:10 PST
Kevin Millwood vs Jeff Neimann

The M’s will then return for a weekend set with the Minnesota Twins back at Safeco Field.

Recent Results

In a surprising turn of events the M’s went 4-2 last week sweeping the Detroit Tigers in their home ball park and going 1-2 in a match up against the Blue Jays in Toronto.  The consistency to be a ball club that is consistently competitive remains to be seen, but there is substantial progress from the past few years.

Michael Saunders

Saunders is looking good and had a two home run performance in Toronto

The Good News

Michael Saunders. By the end of last season, with the lack of any substantial offensive contribution, it looked fairly certain that Saunders career was finished.  However, with Franklin Gutierrez on the disabled list to start the year, Saunders got a chance to prove himself.

He has been doing just that.

He had a two home run performance in Toronto and the first Mariner Grand Slam of the season, leading his club to a 9-5 win over the Jays.

Dustin Ackley.  When Chone Figgins was given a night off, rather than look to the Mariners lead off man from the past decade, Seattle Manager Eric Wedge placed Dustin Ackley in that role.

Not only did he succeed, he thrived.  Wedge will no doubt use this as motivation for the struggling Figgins to stay competitive.

Home Runs.

This week we saw the ball go yard from the bats of Miguel Olivo, Alex Liddi and Michael Saunders and some more bombs from Jesus Montero, Justin Smoak and Chone Figgins.

The Bad News

Log Jam at 3rd base. The Mariners injured left fielder, Mike Carp is allowed 20 rehab assignments at AAA Tacoma and is out of minor league options, meaning he HAS to come back despite hitting only .149 for the Rainiers.

His presence (and need for at bats) will push Chone Figgins, (who has been guaranteed every day at bats for the time being) back to third base forcing one of the hottest M’s bats in Kyle Seager back on the bench in a utility role. 

Alex Liddi, who had a good offensive showing last week will struggle for any playing time at all.

Brandon League. League continued to look terrible this week along with the rest of the Mariners bullpen.  This is concerning.

Brendan Ryan.  While this quick witted young man is one of the most talented defensive short stops in the game, his bat stinks so far this season.  Munenori Kawasaki (or mini Ichiro as many a spectator calls him) sits with a hot bat, not to mention Kyle Seager who may need playing time after Carp reappears from the DL.

Roster Moves / Trades

Nothing new on the wave lengths for the M’s this week, but now that the first month of play is over look for changes to be happening any day.

Injury Report

George Sherill who was lucky to be signed at all this year, somehow made the club in time to be guaranteed a pay check while he undergoes season ending Tommy John Surgery.

Statue of Dave Niehaus

Seattle Mariners Weekly Notebook - April 30th

M’s in and for the Community

Get on board the Collectible Mariners Train Car series with this year’s edition – The Justin “Smoakamotive” Train this Friday, 7:10 vs. Twins. All kids 14 and under take home a cool Dustin Ackley T-shirt this Saturday, 6:10 vs Twins.

Gossip

The Mariners biggest off season news was the trade that brought Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to Seattle while parting ways with top pitcher Michael Pineda and Jose Campos for the new York Yankees.

Pineda, as it turns out, will be out for the season with a seemingly mysterious arm injury.  Many people are wondering if the M’s knew that Pineda was damaged goods? An MRI was done by the Yankees prior to making the trade official and they could have said no.

They didn’t, but are really wishing they had.

Division News

The Los Angeles Angels, slated to be this year’s #2 club in the A.L. West standings are parked in the rear of the division.

As such the team has been making some early roster moves, including parting ways with veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu. 

The Angels misfortunes could turn out to be in the Mariners favor if they can stay competitive they have a better shot at making this year more interesting than first anticipated.

What’s on tap this week?

NEXT 5
Date vs Last Meeting
4/30/12 @TB 7-8 8/21/11
5/1/12 @TB 7-8 8/21/11
5/2/12 @TB 7-8 8/21/11
5/3/12 @TB 7-8 8/21/11
5/4/12 MIN 2-3 9/22/11


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