Stop me if this sounds familliar. Actually, don’t stop me, because it is exactly the same thing we were hearing a year ago.
Yes, folks, the Mariners are trying to do too much.
I’m not making light of it, but it will sound a bit funny because we’re seeing history repeat itself here one year to the next.
We’ve seen some good offensive showings by youngster Justin Smoak this season and a few more from Milton Bradley.
But by and large the offense looks as bad as it did in 2011. Yes, I know we’re only two weeks in as of tomorrow. And there is still time for manager Eric Wedge to hope for a turnaround by pushing his players to never give up.
They may not have given up tonight. But they did give in a little too easily. When you see just 3.06 pitches per plate apearance, you’d better be doing something with the ball other than popping it up.
The M’s didn’t do it. Sure, the Royals made some defensive plays. That’s what teams do in the major leagues. They rob you. And the M’s never recovered.
“We’ve got a few of these veteran guys that care a great deal about this team and what happens to it,” Wedge said after a ninth loss in 11 games by his club. “But you can only do what you can do.”
Sounds familliar, right?
Well, he’s right.
Miguel Olivo is now in an 0-for-20 slump and hitting just .162. Jack Wilson is 0-for-13 and hitting just .207 after a great start. Chone Figgins had that late double tonight, but had been just 3-for-16 prior and is hitting .167. We’ll see whether the double helps Figgins, who had hit some balls hard during his slump without any results to show. And of course, Jack Cust, who didn’t play tonight, is hitting just .175.
That’s a whole lot of veteran hurt right there.
Just as with last year, when veteran players with track records of success weren’t getting it done, the song is still playing the same tune in 2011. There was some thought out there that at least part of the “mysterious” and “coincidental” slide by so many bats last season might be related to too many people pressing in an offense without big bats.
Now, you’ve got more guys who seem to be pressing in 2011.
Yes, the team is feeling the strain of Franklin Gutierrez being out. Gutierrez was not only a Gold Glove center fielder, but a right-handed bat (potentially a good one) in an offense lacking a bunch of those.
So, yeah, the M’s are behind the eight ball. Heck, they’re underneath the eight ball.
Adam Moore being out doesn’t help because you have Olivo on-pace to play about 145 games and he simply can’t do that. I don’t think all of his slump is related to pressing. I think he needs a few more days off than he’s been able to get because of this team’s catching situation.
So, I agree. This isn’t exactly the full squad the M’s hoped to be fielding at this point.
But injuries do happen. And when they happen to a rebuilding team like this, they can devastate.
Am I making excuses? No, I’m not. This offense is what it is. To work, you need a whole bunch of guys to keep hitting and hitting and hitting. Night after night. You need them working counts inning after inning. Driving opposing pitchers from the game by the fifth or sixth.
And that just doesn’t happen at the big league level. Not every night.
Yes, the M’s have had chances. Yes, they keep leaving guys on base. Yes, they keep on pressing and keep on losing.
We’ve heard the song before. It needs some new lyrics.
Mostly, it needs some bigger bats. Guys who can do in one swing what a night of hitting and hitting and hitting singles might accomplish.
Other than that, yeah, Smoak should have had a triple tonight. I remain impressed by him. In the long-term, he matters. In the short-term, wish the M’s and their pressing veterans some luck. Because they’re going to need it.