The Mariners started the season 6-5, endured a 1-6 road trip which included being swept by the Miami Marlins (62-100 in 2013), then returned home only to drop two out of three to the Astros in a three game set. If it wasn’t for a walk-off three run home run by Kyle Seager in the bottom of the ninth, the Mariners’ losing streak would have been extended to nine games Wednesday.
The Astros, for the most part, are fielding a team full of prospects and players who are probably right now considered on the fringe of being MLB caliber. As a perfect example for 2014, read here for more insight.
The fact of the matter is, the Mariners find themselves in a very similar predicament. Early success was offset by the strength of their rotation and bullpen. Having a healthy James Paxton through two starts also contributed to two wins. Now that their pitching staff is banged up, it does not matter how their bullpen or rotation performs. This is because lately, there has not been many leads to protect.
If Felix Hernandez was to give Seattle nine innings of shutout ball in every one of his foreseeable future outings, his chances of picking up a win every time would not be great. The Mariners do not have a productive offense, and they do not score runs in the way a winning ball club should score runs. Seattle has been shutout three times so far in 2014. After dropping the series to the Astros on Wednesday and scoring only nine runs in the entire three game series, the Mariners are averaging 3.6 runs per game. Not only did the Mariners fail to score many runs against Houston, but they are doing a poor job of simply putting the ball in play. Seattle hitters struck out 34 times across the 26.1 innings played against the Astros.
All strong prospects at one point in their careers, it appears unlikely that Nick Franklin (23), Brad Miller (24), Abraham Almonte (24) and even Dustin Ackley (26), or Justin Smoak (27) for that matter, are ready to be serious and immediate offensive contributors at the Big League level.
It’s frustrating that Robinson Cano is surrounded by such a thin lineup, and Mariners management should take seriously the notion of trading for an established Major League bat, or even signing one perhaps — Stephen Drew probably is not up to much these days. Right now, a career .264 hitter in the Mariners’ lineup sounds delightful.