In a nutshell, the ten game home stand to open the season didn’t leave the Mariners with as many wins as they probably wished. The Mariners dropped their third three-game series of the 2103 season, losing two out of three to the Detroit Tigers. Seattle finishes the home stand 4-6, and they stand at 7-10 on the season as they head into Texas for three against the Rangers and three against the Astros.
Good News: Mariners Pitching. The Seattle Mariners’ pitching staff is picking up where it left off last season. Aaron Harang, making his first start in the majors this season, gave the Mariners a good showing from the No. 5 hole. In a 6-2 loss on Tuesday, Harang went five innings allowing only three earned runs while striking out six. The three runs he did allow, though, were enough for ex-Mariner Doug Fister to run his record to 3-0 on the season. Felix Hernandez left with a no-decision last night as the Mariners eventually lost 2-1 in the 14th. Hernandez rebounded from two straight losses to go eight strong innings allowing four hits and one unearned run while striking out 12 Tigers. Hisashi Iwakuma combined with the bullpen to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Tigers. Iwakuma went six innings before leaving with a blister problem allowing three hits and striking out two. Carter Capps, who will see an increased role with the injury to Stephen Pryor, threw two shut out innings to earn his first MLB win, and Tom Wilhelmsen sat down the Tigers 1-2-3 in the ninth to earn his sixth save. Wilhelmsen, who saved 29 games last season, has saved 6 of the Mariners’ 7 victories.
Bad News: Mariners Offense. Seventeen games in, and here we are again. The Mariners’ offense isn’t getting enough done for the Mariners to win games. In the Tigers series, Seattle scored six runs in thirty-two innings. The Mariners struck out 40 times in the three games. Granted, the Tigers threw an awesome trio of pitchers in Fister-Scherzer-Verlander, but the Mariners have to have better offensive production. The Mariners did a great job today against Tiger ace Justin Verlander. The Mariners made Verlander work, and, as his pitch count ran up, they got to him in the seventh with Kyle Seager delivering a pinch-hit RBI double and scoring on a RBI from Endy Chavez. But, Mariners pitchers had no room for error in the 2-0 win. Felix Hernandez couldn’t get the win the night before despite limiting a potent Tiger offense to one run through eight innings. As a team, the Mariners have slumped to a .220 batting average, 28th in MLB. The Mariners starting infield today had the following averages at game’s end: Justin Smoak .207, Dustin Ackley .154, Robert Andino .154, and Brendan Ryan .167. Even today’s offensive hero, Kyle Seager has gotten off to a slow start at .217.
Deep In The Heart of Texas. The Mariners are hoping hotter climates will rub off on their bats as they go to play three games in Texas. Seattle played Texas last weekend splitting a four game set with the Rangers. The Mariners will swing to the back end of the rotation with Joe Saunders, Brandon Maurer, and Aaron Harang. Saunders handcuffed the Rangers in Safeco last Saturday in a 3-1 loss, and Maurer had his first win as a pro winning on Sunday 4-3. Texas counters with Yu Darvish, who lost Friday night to Iwakuma, Nick Tepesch, who lost to Maurer on Sunday, and Justin Grimm, who didn’t make it to the 5th inning in his first start against Seattle last Thursday. This may be the break the Mariners’ bats need to wake up. Texas, 9-6 on the season, split two games in Chicago versus the Cubs with Wednesday’s game being rained out.