Brandon Maurer delivers hope to the Mariners; claims first victory

Mariners defeat Rangers 4-3 to earn series split

Seattle 4, Texas 3

When: 4:10 PM ET, Sunday, April 14, 2013
Where: Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington
Temperature: 48°
Umpires: Home – Gary Darling, 1B – Paul Emmel, 2B – Bruce Dreckman, 3B – Clint Fagan
Attendance: 16981

The 6-8 Mariners got the win on Sunday afternoon and headed into their first day off this season on a positive note. SP Brandon Maurer went out and pitched like his job was on the line and finished with a win.

The offense improved as the series wore on, yesterday accumulating 10 hits and 4 different players tallied the runs batted in.

In honor of the off day, here is the love and hate from yesterday’s game and a touch of the whole baseball weekend in Seattle.

Love ‘em

1. Rebound

Expectations were not high for Maurer’s third start of the season, after getting shelled on Tuesday (he didn’t make it out of the 1st inning vs Houston) he rebounded well with a quality start.

6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (2 Earned), 1 BB and 5 K’s

Those are numbers that the Mariners’ offense can work around and put Maurer in line for a win. Maurer’s first earned run given up in the second inning would have been caught by a taller centerfield, (more on that below) so that is good too.

2. Hits

Friday, 7 hits. Saturday, 7 hits. Sunday, 10 hits. In order to score runs, teams need to have guys on base. Since the Mariners are not hitting for power or drawing a lot of walks (7 BB in four Rangers game, 0 on Sunday), Seattle will need to single teams to death and hope for timely shots.

Tom Wilhelmsen

Closer Tom Wilhelmsen has been great out of the pen as well.

3. Starting pitching

Felix Hernandez pitched irregularly poor Thursday night, but since then, the Mariners staff has been fantastic. Hisashi Iwakuma pitched a gem on Friday that was fun to watch, Joe Saunders is making me look foolish questioning him going 7 strong without an earned run, and Maurer showed signs of life yesterday.

After losing control in the Astros series, Seattle truly calmed down and pitched well from top to bottom never allowing a game to get too far away. Closer Tom Wilhelmsen has been great out of the pen as well.

With Blake Beavan moving to long relief, it will interesting to see what Aaron Harang does with this opportunity on Tuesday night.

Hate ‘em

1. Outfield Defense

This is not a shot at Endy Chavez, a player that less than a week ago was running around with kids in AAA, but the defense has taken a huge hit due to injuries. In the 4-game series with Texas, three games the outfield consisted of Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez, and Chavez, whose combined age is 109.

Missing Michael Saunders, Michael Morse, and Franklin Gutierrez was a big blow offensively, but an underrated point is how much they are a great defensive crew. Hopefully, Guti and Morse will be back Tuesday or sometime close to that.

In an emergency this weekend, it looked as though Dustin Ackley would have played outfield. Something the M’s have considered in the past and is an interesting proposition.

2. Slugging

There are too many players on this team slugging their batting average or close to it. It is a terrible thing. Slugging percentage weighs total bases (HR=4) per plate appearance, while batting average measures a hit as a hit. If Justin Smoak, Jesus Montero, or Dustin Ackley have gotten hits this season, they’ve predominantly been singles.

Yesterday, Smoak hit his first double of the year, goodness gracious this needs to continue as none of the three players listed above have shown any signs of power (0 HR’s, 2 Doubles).

3. Stephen Pryor

Not exactly something to hate Pryor for, but his injury yesterday takes strength away from the 8th inning. His fastball has been nothing short of electric, and he has been perfect setting up for Wilhelmsen. Hopefully, his injury is short-lived and he will be back soon, I’d like to see Oliver Perez receive more opportunity to set-up because of his strong play in the Texas series.

Happy Jackie Robinson day!

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About Jeff Budke

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