mariners

Mariners edge A’s behind Safeco Joe

Saunders, Offense Click

Seattle 6, Oakland 1

When: 4:10 PM ET, Sunday, May 12, 2013
Where: Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington
Temperature: 68°
Umpires: Home – Dan Bellino, 1B – Mike DiMuro, 2B – Ted Barrett, 3B – Alfonso Marquez
Attendance: 27599
Boxscore 

Happy Mother’s day indeed, the northwest has reason to celebrate. All three Cascadian MLS teams won, the Mariners win another series, and the Canucks advanced to the second round Chris Hansen still has hope for the Sonics in Seattle.

Try not to tell anyone, but the Mariners have won 9 of their last 13 games as they head to New York for a series beginning Tuesday. Felix Hernandez will take the mound because manager Eric Wedge moved Aaron Harang back two days so the King and Hisashi Iwakuma could pitch on normal rest. Golf claps all around Seattle baseball, golf claps indeed.

Sunday’s game concluded a good series for the Mariners, as the scored 6 runs twice and 15 runs overall. The offense is coming into form slowly but surely as the responsibilities/burden of carrying the offense is being shared by different players every game.

Here is the love and hate from Sunday.

Love ‘em

1. Safeco Joe

Safeco Joe was once again stellar at home. (Elaine Thompson/AP)

Safeco Joe was once again stellar at home. (Elaine Thompson/AP)

Please, do not confuse this with Away-from-Safeco Joe, that is a different person that is not a very good pitcher, but Safeco Joe is fantastic. In the second inning, Saunders gave up only his third earned run in four games at Safeco this season, earning his third win of the year (all at home).

6.1 IP 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K’s

2. Walls

DH Kendrys Morlaes has been ok at the plate lately, but his power numbers have been inconsistent at best and nonexistent lately. All that changed in the first inning. Moving down to 4th in the lineup, Morales smacked a 3-run tater to give Saunders the only lead he would need.

Why do I love the walls? Because a year ago, Morales’ first inning blast doesn’t make the warning track, but this season, it cleared the LF wall by a few feet.

3. Jason Bay and Kyle Seager

Wedge is always tinkering with the lineup, which has become a constant hot topic for me on the weekly Mariners podcast. Why not leave Seager hitting second when he is crushing in the 2-hole? Why move Bay up when he is good where he is? Why play Raul Ibanez when he plays the outfield like a lost kid in a giant playground?

Well, Wedge continues to tinker, and Kyle Seager and Jason Bay continue to produce. Seager has been doing it by getting on base, once today without a hit, and remaining consistent. Bay only started once this weekend (today) despite playing very productively the last few weeks, but he just did his job with two hits including a late home run that sealed the deal for the M’s. Kudos to these guys playing well wherever Wedge puts them.

Hate ‘em

1. Andino and Ryan

It is hard enough to swallow one of them hitting .150 and hitting 9th in the order, but playing both at the same time is nauseating. Sunday they were a combined 0 for 7 with 2 KO. It actually could have been a lot worse. Also, you rarely see this; Andino, Ryan, and Justin Smoak have higher OBP (on-base percentages) than slugging percentage-more walks than extra base hits is not good unless you walk every single time.

2. Schedule

The schedule has sucked for Seattle so far. 30 games in April, then 4 straight Mondays/Thursdays with a day off to start May, and then the team plays 29 of the next 30 days starting Tuesday. Feel like someone should have noticed this earlier.

3. Depth

Just a note from Saturday, the Mariners played well enough to win, but fell short because of depth. I think Saturday’s game may be a microcosm of the season to come.

Amazingly enough, this team has the pitching to keep them in every game despite a terrible back end of the rotation. Then, the offense is good enough to score three runs and generate realistic scoring opportunities throughout the game, as the M’s did in the 7th, 8th, and 9th inning Saturday without scoring the tying and winning run.

If players like Endy Chavez, Andino and Ackley are being asked to deliver the final blow with the game on the line, this team will fall short, but perhaps soon the team will have good bats throughout the 25-man roster that make Saturday’s game even more winnable. That will be a good sign for the M’s taking that step towards the postseason, a place they are just short on now.

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