I’m not entirely sure what’s going on with these guys…But I strongly believe that they need to be scared.
Anyone remember the classic scene from Bull Durham where the manager is lamenting to Crash that he’s tried everything he can think of to motivate the players? Crash’s simple resolution is to “scare em.”
Next scene, the manager throws some bats into the showers and starts screaming what a bunch of “lollygaggers” the players are.
Here is a clip for those who want a good laugh: Bull Durham – Lollygagger Scene
Now I don’t expect to have Lloyd McClendon to throw this kind of fit…but something has got to be done to get this team motivated.
I doubt benching Robinson Cano or Kyle Seager is going to do any good. But I would like to see how Cano would react to say dropping to number nine in the line-up. After all, he’s hitting like he belongs in the nine hole right now.
Some good things I have seen over this lousy home stand is the starting pitching has been outstanding. Over the past 7 days, opposing teams have batted .255 against the pitching of J.A Happ, Taijuan Walker, Roenias Elias and Felix Hernandez. Take out Hernandez’s .333 and hitters are going at a .229 pace. I do believe that any major league team would take that in a heartbeat.
However, the relief pitching, the strength of last year, has just been abysmal. Over the same seven game stretch, opposing teams have hit .272 with an on base percentage of .395. Along with 11 walks and 10 extra base hits, that’s not what you expect from last year’s best bullpen in the majors.
I don’t have any faith in Fernando Rodney…in fact, I wasn’t to happy when the Mariners acquired him. He has some good stuff but is unreliable. I think we have all had enough of the “Rodney Experience” for a while.
McClendon should give Carson Smith a shot at closing. He has an ERA of 1.13, has struck out 25 and walked only 5. In comparison, Rodney’s ERA is 6.94, has struck out 20 with 12 base on balls. McClendon has been reluctant to give the ball to Smith but just how many times does he give Rodney a chance? I admire loyalty to a player but what about loyalty to the team and more important, to the fans?
We were hopeful at the end of last year when the Mariners missed getting into the playoffs by 1 game. We were lifted even higher when Jack Z. went out and got Nelson Cruz to give some much some much needed power to the line-up.
No one expected to see Cano hitting only .243 right now. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. He’s has several notable base running gaffe’s, the last one against the Yankees, getting picked off at first after driving in a run.
I don’t see a need to panic just yet…but I do see a need to shake things up a bit. As a team, they are hitting just .212 for the season with runners in scoring position. They have struck out 212 times. And it only gets worse with 2 out with runners in scoring position. .212 along with 60 strike outs.
And it was typical in the game against Tampa Bay last night. Down 1-0 in the ninth inning, Austin Jackson hits a leadoff triple….and stays there while Brad Miller struck out, Mike Zunino hits a shallow foul ball to right and Dustin Ackley flew out to left to end the game.
Pitiful…With Jackson on third and no outs, the Mariners could not get him in, not even with a productive count.
So what can be done? With the exception of Cruz, change the line-up. Drop Cano down in the line-up, get Seager in the 3 slot, let Miller lead off and put Ackley on the bench.
It may not produce wins but it could get these guys going.