10 Random Thoughts On The Mariners
As they prepare to close out interleague play with a three-game series in San Diego this weekend:
1) After the All-Star break, Ichiro will not be in the leadoff spot anymore. Manager Eric Wedge will announce that the future Hall of Famer will now hit eighth in the Mariners’ lineup. Also, Danny Hultzen will be called up from Tacoma to replace Hector Noesi in the rotation.
2) Nice to see Brendan Ryan on a mini-tear of late. He’s still not hitting. 200 but has managed to bang out eight hits in his last 16 at-bats. An encouraging sign. If he can hit at least .200, he’s worth having out there at shortstop because he’s such a good defensive player. Saw him at Newcastle a week and a half ago. His slump was really wearing on him.
3) Casper Wells is 11-for-21 since returning to the Mariners two weeks ago. This guy deserves a chance to play every day, and this business of playing him mostly against left-handed pitchers is ridiculous – he has a higher average against right-handers.
4) At this point, whattaya do with Brandon League? You want to trade him by the trade deadline on July 31 but to increase his value, you have to make him the closer again. But he faltered as the ninth-inning guy, and Tom Wilhelmsen has been terrific, allowing no earned runs in his last 12 1/3 innings.
5) With Lucas Luetge’s recent struggles in Arizona, Charlie Furbush has become the Mariners’ best left-handed reliever. Furbush was fantastic in the 12-9 10-inning win Tuesday night, striking out four Diamondbacks in two innings of work. Have to admit that his name still amuses me and find it fitting that he’s grown a beard.
6) Kyle Seager should be the Mariners’ representative at the All-Star Game. He had seven hits, two HRs and six RBI in the Arizona series. With 45 runs batted in, Seager’s on a pace for 103 this season.
7) Though they went 1-1, the Mariners scored 22 runs in their last two games. But don’t expect that kind of offensive production to continue this weekend – Petco Park is as pitcher-friendly as Safeco Field. They’re thinking about bringing the fences in there too.
8) After their outburst in Arizona, the Mariners are hitting .263 on the road and just .202 at home, the biggest disparity in the major leagues.
9) At 30-41, the Mariners are on a pace to finish 69-93. I predicted 75-87.
10) Over-under on Eric Wedge finally getting so fed up that he has an on-field tirade to rival Lou Piniella – July 1 against Boston at Safeco Field. I’m not only taking, I’m HOPING for the under… the man’s got to be seething inside.