The Seattle Mariners limp home after spending their first week of 2010 on the road. It’s been ugly and brutal but at least they are home now. Seattle is facing the Oakland A’s who are on top of the AL West and took three of four from the Mariners last week.
Throwing out the first pitch is Randy Johnson. I’m hoping he’s still got some arm left because the Mariners could surely use him. The Mariners went 2-5 on their AL West swing through Anaheim, Oakland and Texas. It could have been worse; they were one three-run ninth inning away from getting swept in Texas.
There have been some bright spots but not many. Franklin Gutierrez is hitting over .400. Chone Figgins and Jack Wilson at second base and shortstop have looked very good as has Jose Lopez at third. Ichiro is still Ichiro and Ken Griffey, Jr. is still Junior. The defense has been good, apart from Milton Bradley in the outfield; more on him below.
The dark spots are more obvious but that’s to be expected on a team that is 2-5 before even getting a chance to play at home. Runs are few and far between. The bullpen has been burned through with starters failing to get deep into games. Yesterday in Texas, Ian Snell pitched three innings before being yanked after giving up eight hits and five runs.
but the biggest cloud on the team so far is Bradley. He’s always been at best an average outfielder but he has been at best an adventure in the field. His current biggest bonehead play this season was setting up under a fly ball in Texas only to have it hit the wall 15 inches away from him. Time for an eye check maybe?
Bradley was signed by the Mariners to hit but he’s 1-for-21, batting an awe inspiring .048, so far. His one hit is a home run, which ironically leads the team in home runs, but he’s flashed more middle fingers at fans than connecting bats to balls. I’m not one for hasty moves in baseball since the season is more a marathon than a sprint but there is no way a team’s cleanup hitter can be batting under .100 and the team succeeds; especially a team that has to work as hard as the Mariners do to score runs in the first place.
After the Big Unit throws out the first pitch, Ryan Rowland-Smith takes the mound for the Mariners. In his first start, against the A’s in Oakland, Smith gave up three quick runs but settled down to leave the game with a 4-3 lead. The A’s came back so Smith didn’t get the win. His ERA sits at 5.40.
That’s high but not as high as his opponent, Justin Duchscherer, who takes the hill with a 7.94 ERA after the Mariners touched him for 4 runs last outing.
Hopefully the home cooking can get the Mariners on the right track. If the team wants to compete in the West and improve on last year, they need to start now. It’s a long season, a marathon, but you can’t win that marathon if you’re so far behind in the first mile that you can’t even see the leaders.