Thoughts After 6 Games

Sorry, I’ve been having laptop trouble for the last couple days and couldn’t get anything up on the blog.  While having my laptop trouble, the Mariners decided to not postpone their games for me to write about so I have a bit of catching up to do.

After the first six games of the Mariners season, I’ve come away somewhat impressed by the team.  Yes, they’re 2-4 and had a little bit of help in those 2 wins but the team has played pretty well considering the competition.  There are some major concerns, I’m looking at you bullpen, but there are also things to feel good about.

It doesn’t help that the Mariners have played 4 of their 6 games against southpaws.  The Mariners will fair better against righties this season but haven’t caught much of a break in terms of pitching match-ups this week.  One of the right-handers they faced won 18 games last year and the other one was a guy hitting 95 MPH after 5 innings after never making a start before.  Not a lot of breaks in there.

Along with the pitching match-ups, the Mariners had to face Texas the last 3 games.  Not surprisingly, they lost all three.  Texas looks like they could go 162-0 right now.  There’s no way they’ll stay this hot all season but they are certainly hitting on all cylinders and demolished Boston far worse than they did us.  Yes, we should have gotten one of the games in that series with our 3 best pitchers on the mound, but we just couldn’t quite turn the corner.

Bullet points after the jump.

  • I felt a lot of pessimism about Justin Smoak, going into this season.  I understood that he hadn’t looked very good in his first big league stint but I also wondered why so many people were down on him.  Just a year ago he was a top-20 prospect in baseball and now people were wondering if he’d ever be anything more than a platoon player.   Smoak started the season hot though and wound up hitting very well through the first 4 games.  He’s gone hitless in the last 2 games but is still putting respectable at-bats together.  This season is about watching younger players develop and so far the results have been positive on Justin Smoak.
  • The other guy who’s stinging the ball is Milton Bradley.  I know some people don’t like Bradley at all, but he’s one of my favorite players and he looks closer to the guy who led the league in OPS 3 years ago than he does to the alternative.  That is great news.  He also looks healthy and is playing hard.  He’s still mad at just about everything but that just makes him more entertaining.  Keep hitting, Milton!
  • Jack Cust was acquired over the off-season and is being the Jack Cust that we all thought he would be.  He’s working the count and walking a lot.  When he’s not doing that he’s mostly getting out.  He’s yet to hit a home run, but he had two hits today which is a good sign.
  • Speaking of home runs, the Mariners have hit two so far.  They may look like a different team than last season, but they don’t want us to completely forget about last years nightmares either.  The two home runs have come from Ryan Langerhans and Chone Figgins.  Baseball is a weird sport.
  • Aside from Chone Figgins home run, he has sucked at the plate.  He looks a lot like Chone Figgins from the first half of last year, which doesn’t inspire much confidence.  His defense has been nice but I wish he could do something with his bat besides giving the opposing team infield practice.
  • The starting rotation has been good, to say the least.  Felix is in mid-season form already.  Jason Vargas was great in his first start.  Doug Fister pitched well considering he’s Fister.  Bedard was good, but got a few unlucky breaks in his first game in almost 2 years.  Pineda was phenomenal and almost got the win but didn’t get much help.  I think this rotation could be very good this year if they stay healthy.  I don’t have a ton of confidence in Fister but everyone else gives us a chance to win.
  • Jack Wilson has been one of the highlights of the first 6 games to me, today’s 2 errors aside.  He’s hitting line drives and bringing a smoothness to second base that I’ve never seen.  It’s fun to watch.  Hopefully he doesn’t injure himself too soon.  June 1st would be fine, just not before then.
  • I get the feeling that this lineup is one or two bats away from being anywhere from decent to pretty good.  As bad as Guti was in the second half of last year, it will be really nice to have another decent right-handed bat back in the lineup.  Then when Ackley comes up in June (most likely), I think the Mariners lineup could produce over 4 runs a game.  It’s a crazy thought, I know, but it wouldn’t be all that surprising.

I know none of us really wanted to start the season 2-4, but if we were playing anyone besides the Texas Rangers I think we’d be more like 4-2 or, at the very least, 3-3.  Keep your heads high M’s fans, this team will battle and will be more fun!  See you at the home opener on Friday!



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