Mariners sweep for second time in 2013
This is what a team should look like coming out of an All Star Break! 26 runs for the Mariners offense makes the second half look brighter, but will the team be able to claw back into any semblance of a playoff race?
Seattle Mariners 12, Houston 5
When: 2:10 PM ET, Sunday, July 21, 2013
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas
Umpires: Home – Todd Tichenor, 1B – CB Bucknor, 2B – Dale Scott, 3B – Bill Miller
Raul Ibanez seems to think so, when he was asked about trade possibilities, he told reporters he wanted to make the playoffs with this team this season.
The Mariners need to continue this trend of late, with a 46-52 record, 6-game wining streak and 8 GB of the second wild card, there is plenty of work to be done.
Here is the love and hate from the weekend in Houston.
1. Felix finishing the job
We all remember that game against the Angels, the one when the King blew an 8-run lead? That was not happening on Sunday.
With a 7-run cushion after the second inning, Felix Hernandez just cruised right through the lineup, his dominance is necessary for the team and for an individual pitching award that could very much be his (It’s not the Cy Old award, but I won’t jinx it).
Line: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, and 7 KO’s
2. Signs of Life: Condor edition
Michael Saunders is riding a modest 9-game hitting streak that Kyle Seager would openly mock, but for the Condor and what was a plummeting batting average (.207 before the hits started streaking), this is fantastic news. During the run, Saunders has a .353/.421/.618 split and is averaging an RBI per game.
If he and Dustin Ackley can get hits both at home and on the road with more consistency, this offense is brought to a higher level.
3. Youngins’ at the top
With Brad Miller and Nick Franklin shouldering (carrying) the top of the lineup and playing excellent defense, the offense has had more opportunities to score runs than with Saunders and Ackley there in the past. Both added home runs this weekend, two from Miller on Friday and Franklin with a delicious Grand Slam Sunday, and tallied 9 hits over the weekend combined.
Their success has made life easier on Mike Zunino, who is doing everything he can to familiarize himself and get comfortable with the pitching staff, his power will eventually come.
1. Bartender Please!
We all love the bartender, truly we do, but when was the last time he had a clean inning two days in a row? Tom Wilhelmsen has calmed down a lot since the Cleveland series, but his inability to leave the bases clean needs to resolve itself.
Saturday was good, but he gave up a walk, and Friday was OK, but he still gave up a run. Bartender, serve us some nasty and have a great second half!
2. Cleveland Series
Speaking of Cleveland, the tribe comes to town on Monday. It is time for the M’s to enact some revenge. The disappointing and embarrassing collapses in May brought tears to the eye of every Mariners fan that had to look at Eric Wedge’s beard as Cleveland partied like they deserve to have the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their town (they don’t).
Also, they should probably change their team name right? It’s been awhile, they had their fun, but it probably offends enough people for the name to change.
3. Ibanez hitting third
I love Raul, even though I thought his playoff comments were a little far fetched, I still love the guy for being a Mariner so many times and for so long. But come on Wedge! The third hitter in the lineup is there to get as many scoring opportunities as he can and as many at bats as possible. Ibanez is our power bat right now, but he should be hitting further down the lineup because he doesn’t get on-base enough (.312 OBP) to force the other team to throw great pitches to him.
I also don’t want him playing in the outfield, but apparently that is a losing argument and why the hell not we have Ackley playing centerfield everything will be fine!