It’s been a worrisome and tumultuous, yet fruitful and inspiring start to the month of the May for the Seattle Mariners. On one hand, the offense has been on a tear and the team has won three-straight series’ to start the month – taking two-of-three from Anaheim, Texas and Philadelphia. On the other side of the bay, four of their five starting pitchers are on the disabled list, the bullpen is still having some issues and Guillermo Heredia and Ariel Miranda struggled to make it to the Rogers Centre in Toronto on time on Thursday due to Visa issues.
Okay, that latter concern is fairly miniscule compared to the others, but still worth mentioning. Let’s just hope the 7-2 loss in Toronto on Thursday isn’t the start of a rough patch for the M’s who have overall been playing fairly good baseball lately.
With all the injuries, the lineup changes, playing in a national league park (Philadelphia) and everything else the Mariners have dealt with lately, it is hard to establish a consistent, every-day lineup, so for the sake of this column, I made up one.
Let’s check in and see how everyone –individually – is doing so far for the 17-18 ball club.
- Jean Segura (SS) – it really is unfortunate that Francisco Lindor of the Cleveland Indians is also an A.L. shortstop. Otherwise, I’d e making my case for Segura to be the starter in the all-star game this summer. Segura is out-performing even the high expectations set for him in spring training, and if he keeps hitting, maybe he will end up more deservingly than Lindor to represent the M’s as an all-start starter. Sorry Carlos Correa, you’re trailing buddy – and so are you fellow AL Wester, Elvis Andrus. Segura is leading the A.L in batting averaged (.369).
- Mat Gamel (RF) – with all due respect to injured Mitch Haniger, Gamel has been doing dangerous things (in a good way) out of the No. 2 hole. He joins the list of Mariners doing commercials for the Hair Club for Men on steroids. (The hair is on steroids…not the humans.) Gamel had lots of fun in Philadelphia where he went 6-for-9 with five runs, 4 RBI, a HR and also walked three times in two games. He is hitting .352 on the year.
- Robinson Cano (2B) – Cano has had so many good games for Seattle this year, that when he has a bad one, I don’t seem to mind. I usually get frustrated when I see a GIDP pop up in the box score or watch a couple of really bad strikeouts, but Robbie and I have been on good terms when he has a quiet games this year. Like Gamel, playing in Philadelphia helped him out as well.
- Nelson Cruz (DH) – No one should have pouted more than Nelly, after he was delegated to bench duty while playing in Philadelphia. Everyone else was hitting, and if he was anyone else – he might have cried about it. During the World Baseball Classic this spring, he played right field – much to the chagrin of Mariners’ brass I’m sure. Now he’s back in an AL park and he celebrated by going deep in his first at bat in the Rogers Centre on Thursday proving he is not only healthy, but he is by far the best designated hitter in the American League – and it’s not even close.
- Kyle Seager (3B) – Has his younger brother Corey taken all of his home runs away? No – Corey Seager only has five. I guess if you combine their home runs, seven for Kyle would be a good number. In all honesty, he hasn’t really needed to hit…yet. The top four hitters in the Mariners lineup are playing so well right now, that I could hit fifth, produce zero runs and it wouldn’t matter. Kyle Seager is hitting .266 with two homers and 19 RBI, so I guess he’s playing better than I would be. Maybe June and July will be his months to shine.
- Danny Valencia (1B) – Here we have I think easily the most attractive man on the team. Period. I doubt he’d be happy to hear that from an on-the-field production standpoint, but it should be club house bragging rights none-the-less. He is starting to hit a little bit as of late, but essentially, he’s just there to be a pretty face.
- Taylor Motter (LF) – Apparently, all he does is hit doubles. Last time I wrote about this guy, I was foreshadowing that his barrage of extra-base hits would come to an end. I made that up. He has 10 doubles in 84 at bats this season. Earl Webb holds the MLB record with 67 doubles in 589 at bats in 1931. Motter – one double every 8.4 at bats. Webb – one double every 8.79 at bats.
So, yes…I’m saying there’s a chance – if Motter gets 550-plus at bats, which is highly doubtful. It’s a fun stat none-the-less.
- Tuffy Gosewisch (C) – You didn’t think I’d take the boring route and go Carlos Ruiz here, did you? That would be lame. The Mariners are going with…for lack of better, more polite phrasing…a really crappy catching platoon now that Mike Zunino was sent back to Tacoma for getting confused again. Apparently, he feels swinging and missing the ball is the idea. Anyway, the 33-year old Tuffy just looks like he doesn’t belong. He reminds me of a malnourished Mike Lowell and I kind of feel bad for him. Please hit at least .100…that’s my baseline goal for him.
- Jarrod Dyson (CF) – Mr. Zoombiya is having success early zooming by people and stealing bases – his problem has been getting on base, which is directly reflected in his spot in the batting order. Why do all of these hitters with incredible speed not know how to get on base routinely – yes that’s you Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon. You’re in this too. Dyson needs to start hitting. A .202 average isn’t going to cut it – just ask Leonys Martin (too soon?).
THE D.L. REPORT
Haniger will be back soon as will King Felix. I don’t think Hisashi Iwakuma will be out too much longer either and James Paxton has maybe a couple weeks with Drew Smyly still safely a month away. If the current rotation can just “hold serve” and keep the team afloat at .500 for two weeks – I will consider that a moral victory.
The offense is good, but it will need help.
UPCOMING GAMES TO WATCH
The Mariners still have a chance to win the series in Toronto or at least earn a split with three games left north of the border. The Blue Jays are pretty banged up right now too and haven’t been playing well, so there’s no reason Seattle can’t win at least two of the games over the weekend.
After that, the Mariners return home for three against Oakland and four against the White Sox. Haniger expects to be back at some point during that home stand – let’s hope his oblique is healthy.
Happy Mother’s Day weekend everyone. Go Mariners! Go Rainiers!