M’s win another series
The Seattle Mariners have been good, great and incredibly lucky during their eight-game win streak that ended at SafeCo, but enough progress has been made for #KeepStreaking to remain on fans’ minds.
Cleveland 10, Seattle 1
When: 3:40 PM ET, Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Where: Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington
Umpires: Home – Lance Barrett, 1B – Bill Welke, 2B – Adrian Johnson, 3B – Mark Ripperger
In the quest for nine wins in a row, Wednesday’s game was not close. This team can’t and won’t win them all, but with the Twins coming to town for the weekend series — Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez on the mound — the home stand is forecasting as a success.
Looking back to Cleveland, here are the love and hates from the series.
1. Tom Wilhelmsen
Far from perfect, the Bartender took the hill with two save opportunities this series and walked away with two saves. It took a miraculous (or just incredibly bad base running) double play Tuesday night, and neither outing was clean, but these are the moments that spur momentum.
It was good to see Tom back on the horse; let’s hope this continues.
2. Kyle Seager
Although Seager had a rough day Wednesday, his July numbers are ridiculous. His batting splits for the month are .403/.488/.672, and if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, this will:
In July, Seager has more home runs (5) than strikeouts (4). His defense has been great, and when his bat is on, this team rises to another level.
3. Starting Pitching
This will seem strange today, on account of Joe Saunders‘ bad performance from the first inning on, but the rotation is solidifying itself really well. At this point, everyone in baseball assumed that some (at least one) of the big four would be pitching by now, Danny Hultzen being the main attraction, but that hasn’t happened.
Erasmo Ramirez calmed down after a shaky start, and Aaron Harang is somehow getting it done. With an ace and a great number two, the M’s have viable pitching 1-5… now that bullpen.
1. Run differential
When it rains it pours on Seattle relief pitchers. Saunders had a bad game. That kind of stuff happens, and his success at SafeCo does not guarantee a 100-percent success rate. The frustrating part is seeing a guy like Hector Noesi come in to the game and give up a grand slam to Michael Bourn to really put the nail in the coffin.
This is a different era for Seattle, where a 4-1 deficit is not insurmountable anymore, but 8-1, eventually 10-1, is a bit much to ask.
Keep your enemies closer. Despite winning two of three, the M’s were outscored in the series 13-7. (Math!)
2. Opposing Pitchers
One of the Mariners‘ strengths during the streak that collapsed is the ability to get the starting pitcher out of the game. Heck, they even got Erik Bedard out of the game with a no-hitter going.
Today, Scott Kazmir mowed down Seattle, throwing only 103 pitches over eight innings. That is far too efficient and cannot happen against a non-ace. Kazmir threw 70 strikes!
3. Jason Bay
I don’t want to cut him or send him to the minors or anything like that quite yet, but his play has diminished quite rapidly on him.
Since hitting two home runs on June 1, Bay is hitting .173 with little other production.
His defense doesn’t keep him on the field, and he definitely should not be hitting fifth in the lineup.