The Mariners are 43-52, in 3rd place, 11.5 games back of Texas in the AL West. They are on a 9 game losing streak, having been swept in 2 straight 4 game series. They only managed 2 runs in 4 games against the Rangers. So there is not a lot of happiness in Mariner land. We lose two games and it gets depressing around here, count your blessings.
Even with all that Jeff Sullivan, from Lookout Landing, SB's great Seattle Mariner blog, was willing to answer some questions for me.
Can we get a quick scouting report on the starting pitchers the Jays are going to face?
Right now it looks like the Jays are going to get Michael Pineda, Jason Vargas and Doug Fister. Pineda's a hard-throwing giant righty with a fastball he locates and a swing-and-miss slider that has somehow gotten the job done against both righties and lefties alike. He's the current favorite to win the AL RoY. Vargas is a lefty with a dynamite changeup but nothing else that'll get your attention. He's a good bet to go six or seven innings while allowing three or four runs, and then when he's done you shake your head and wonder where two hours just went. Fister's kind of a generic command-first righty who'll allow the ball to be hit. He has a full assortment of pitches that he locates well, but none of them are remarkable. As with Vargas, his starts kind of just happen, and he seldom does anything really worth talking about.
With the trade deadline coming do you have some idea of what the Mariners might do? Are there players you'd like to see moved?
The Mariners are going to sell, but they don't have a lot to shed. Erik Bedard's the most appealing get, if he can return from the DL. Brandon League could be made available, although he has another year of team control. Beyond them, there's just a middling pile of available crap like Jack Cust, Jack Wilson, Adam Kennedy, Jamey Wright, and so on. Veteran bench guys and seventh relievers. This doesn't look like it'll be an exciting deadline.
How is Brandon League doing?
Fairly well, and worse than he could. You guys understand.
How is Dustin Ackley doing? Any other young Mariners we should look for?
We couldn't ask for Ackley to be much more than he's been in the early going, as he's flashed contact, on-base ability, power, speed, and defense. All the tools have been there, albeit not necessarily on a consistent basis. But he just broke in. You can expect to see Kyle Seager, Greg Halman and Mike Carp as well. They are much less exciting. Seager's a line drive third baseman, Halman's a powerful outfielder with a swing-happy approach, and Carp is an ugly, unathletic son of a bitch who's up because he was destroying the PCL. Does Justin Smoak count for this question too? You'll see a lot of him, but he's currently mired in a godawful slump. I usually don't buy into slumps having predictive value, but Smoak's is a doozy.
Ichiro isn't having his normal season. What's happening with him? Is he getting old?
He's not getting young. I learned a long time ago that Ichiro will take you by surprise if you try to analyze him like you do other players, but there's no denying that he's been quite bad for a few months now. He still runs well. He still makes contact with everything. But the contact is worse, and his bat looks like more of a bat, and less like a magic wand. While I won't go so far as to say that Ichiro is finished as an upper-level player because Ichiro has earned the benefit of the doubt, there are a lot of questions, and with Ichiro, we're not used to there being questions. This could be it.
The Mariners offense has been pretty awful, do Mariner fans have any hope that it will improve this year or next?
It couldn't really get much worse, right? The Mariners have gotten a sub-.600 OPS from four different positions so far this year. A sub-.600 OPS. Chone Figgins has been terrible. Franklin Gutierrez has been terrible. The left fielders have been terrible. You'd figure that simple regression would lift things up between now and the end of the year, and you'd figure that the front office would bring in some help over the offseason, but you're kind of catching us at a low point right now, so while we all assume that things will get better, none of us have confidence, if that makes any sense. At the moment we kind of prefer to think that we're doomed.
Thanks Jeff. I do hope your team's offense comes around, but not this series, ok.