One Third Of The Seattle Mariners Season Is In The Books

A Third Of The Way Home And Things Are Looking Up

This week your 2014 Seattle Mariners will officially pass the one third mark in the season.  With one third of the season down and two to go where do the M’s stand?  Not too surprisingly they don’t look too bad.

When you start breaking down the individual performances you find good and you find bad, no matter how good or bad your team might be overall so let’s start with overall and work are way from there.

Overall Defensively

At the 1/3 mark the M’s are a .500 team.  They seem to float from two or three games over .500 and then back to two or three games under .500.  They always are hanging around 6 games or so back of 1st place.

Defensively this team has been pretty solid.  They rank 13th in MLB in terms of errors.

The current M’s outfield regulars in Dustin Ackley, James Jones, and Michael Saunders can certainly cover a lot of ground out there.

On the infield you have Kyle Seager, Robinson Cano, Justin Smoak and Mike Zunino all of whom have been very solid defensively.  Brad Miller has lost the shortstop job due mostly to his struggles at the plate.  He has been pretty good defensively there however.

I think the best is yet to come in 2014.

I think the best is yet to come in 2014.

Overall Offensively

The Seattle Mariners certainly aren’t scaring anyone with their overall team batting average which is hovering right around .235 on the season.  It ranks them 28th out of 30 teams.  There are some impressive numbers though if you look into the splits.

With runners in scoring position (RISP) the M’s bat just over .250.  That puts them in the top 10 in that category .

If you go to RISP with two outs they bat just over .240 but that number is actually 6th in MLB.

The M’s might not get as many hits as other clubs but they are getting them when they have guys on so that is good news.

Individually Offensively

When you look the M’s lineup you have to like what you see in the top 3 spots.  Abraham Almonte has been replaced by Jones.  Jones and Saunders have been doing a great job of setting the table for Cano as of late.

Since that switch was made near May 1st Jones is batting .267 and Saunders is batting .317.

With Corey Hart on the DL the M’s have been turning to Smoak and Seager in the middle part of the lineup and while Seager has rebounded from a very slow start I think it’s fair to say that the M’s are seriously lacking a cleanup hitter right now.

Smoak has been inconsistent and is still struggling to keep his average above .250.  Seager, after the slow start has just now worked his average back over .250.  Despite the low averages for middle of the lineup players Seager and Smoak have driven in 29 runs a piece, just two behind team leader Cano.

Ackley has hit well in the bottom third of the lineup batting .255 as has Zunino who has hit .230 but does have six homers mixed in there.  Miller started off the year at the top of the card and has since been moved down.  He continues to struggle, batting around .150.

Starting Pitching

The rotation is really starting to take shape now.  Hisashi Iwakuma is back and that takes some of the heat off the bullpen as both he and Felix Hernandez  regularly are pitching deep into ball games.

In fact combined, the two, Iwakuma and Hernandez have 18 starts with 121 innings pitched.  That’s nearly 7 innings per start.  Any team would love to have that.

Chris Young might be the biggest surprise on the year.  In 10 starts he’s thrown over 57 innings with a 3.30 ERA and has a 4-2 record.  Pretty good for a guy who’s been on the shelf for the past couple of seasons.   If the season ended right now, I’d vote for him for comeback player of the year.

Roenis Elias has been the #4 starter in the rotation and he’s been pretty darn good considering this he’s such a young guy who’s been forced to skip AAA and take over a major league starting role due to so many injuries.

Elias has a 4.02 ERA in 11 starts with 57 strikeouts.  His biggest issues have been working ahead in counts and being efficient on the mound.  He winds up throwing too many pitches because he falls behind.

Even when Elias gets ahead in the count he seems to nibble from time to time instead of going right after the hitter.  This has caused him to throw more pitches but fewer innings.

What Elias is experiencing is nothing uncommon for a young pitcher.  In time he’ll get past that sort of thing.

The final rotation member has been, well, uh, not good and that would be Brandon Maurer.  I think the M’s have no choice but to give him one more start due to their injury situation but it’s not been good for the young pitcher so far.

With Corey Hart on the DL the M's have been turning to Smoak and Seager in the middle part of the lineup

With Corey Hart on the DL the M’s have been turning to Smoak and Seager in the middle part of the lineup

Maurer has a 6.99 ERA in 6 starts so far.  He’s averaging less than 5 innings per start.  Opponents are hitting over .300 against Maurer.

Look for Maurer to be replaced hopefully by Taijuan Walker during the Atlanta series.

The Bullpen

Let me just get this out of the way first thing.  Fernando Rodney has been pretty darn good.  Yes… good.  I said it.

I know some of his saves have been rocky but they were saves none the less.  He has 13 of them on the year and that ties him for 9th overall in MLB.  Rodney’s ERA is very good at 2.79 and his 23 strikeouts in just 19 innings is very impressive.

Rodney’s issue is with walks.  He has 9 of them in those 19 innings and when he walks guys, he gets in trouble.  Hopefully this is something he can work out because he’d be flat out scary without those walks.

You have to like what we’ve seen from Joe Beimel and Danny Farquhar so far.  Both have ERAs right around the 2.50 mark and have been really vital to the M’s success so far.

The guy in the pen that is most impressive to me though is Dominic Leone.  He has just been outstanding in 2014 so far.  He has a 1.29 ERA over 21 innings.

Opponents are hitting just .192 against him and he’s struck out 24 batters in those 21 innings.

Yoervis Medina is a guy who’s pitched pretty well.  Like Rodney he has had an issue with walks on occasion but does have a 3.60 ERA over 20 innings with 20 strikeouts.  It’s the 12 walks that are worrisome.

After Medina you start getting down into the bottom of the bullpen barrel where Tom Wilhelmsen and Charlie Furbush live.

In fairness to Wilhelmsen his numbers look pretty good with a 3.16 ERA and 23 strikeouts across 25 innings.  Where it gets scary are those 16 walks.  He’s just not consistent.

It’s like it comes and goes for Tom, almost minute by minute at times.  He’ll get two quick outs in an inning and then bang– he can’t get anyone out or even throw a strike.

Charlie Furbush, well, I’m pretty much ready to push him over a cliff at this point.  5.02 ERA and an opponent average close to .300 will definitely make you start thinking dark thoughts about a guy.

Hopefully if Walker can take over for Maurer in the rotation, James Paxton won’t be long behind.  Paxton can take over for Elias and Elias can slide into the bullpen in Furbush’s spot. 

This is a season that has been the Mariners most hopeful in many years so far.  If guys can continue to get healthy and stay consistent I still think the M’s can finish this year over .500.

Hang in there M’s fans.  I think the best is yet to come in 2014.

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About Brian Scott

Husband, Philosopher, Animal Rights Advocate, and Author Brian is a Spokane native and Gonzaga University grad. Seahawks, Mariners, GU Hoops and Cougar football are the teams that drive his passion for sports. You can catch him on twitter too! Connect with Brian today!
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