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June 12, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Eric Wedge sees slow offensive improvement despite struggles scoring on road trip

Just got done speaking to Mariners manager Eric Wedge in his office. Wedge was quite concerned about his team needing to get a win today. There is a difference between a 2-5 road trip and a 3-4 job that could impact the club beyond mere stats.
“I’d really like to get this one today, you know what I mean?” Wedge said. “You always want to win, but this is really a separator for our road trip.”
Offensively, the Mariners have scored three runs or fewer in five of the six games on this trip so far. Not surprisingly, they’ve won only one of those.
They’ve had four games with just one run scored. Not surprisingly, they’ve lost all of those.
It isn’t only about the pitching. If the team doesn’t score, it can’t win — period.
But in the face of all that, Wedge still says — surprisingly this time — that he’s seen some improvement from the offense on this trip.
“I think that, slowly, we’re heading in the right direction,” he said. “And when I look at it, I really work off a case by case basis. And with the exception of that one game (Tuesday in Chicago) I like the way they’ve been competing. We’ve made a lot of hard outs on this road trip, too. If you look at it, we’ve made a lot of hard outs and that’s real.
“The conversation’s good, in regard to the dialogue in the dugout, pre-game and post-game. In regard to opposing pitchers. All of that matters. And all of that leads me to believe that we’ll continue to get a little bit better. It’s never at the pace that I want it to be at, but I think it’s coming.”


Breaking it down to a more individual scale, Wedge sees that Ichiro “was much better yesterday. Hopefully, that continues.”
On Chone Figgins, he’s “show signs” according to Wedge and “well see.”
“It’s a delicate balance right now between the kids and the veterans.”
Carlos Peguero has been moved up to fifth in the order for today’s game, behind clean-up hitter Jack Cust.
“He’s done a little bit of damage here and I think they (Tigers) recognize that,” Wedge said. “Hopefully, that helps Cust, who’s in front of him.”
Adam Kennedy gets a day off today versus the right-hander, Rick Porcello. That was pre-planned and Wedge admits he’s been pushing the limits with Kennedy’s playing time.
“Hey, I want to play him every day,” Wedge said. “But we’ve got to stay ahead of him physically.”
Something else to consider is that the Mariners are coming to the end of a stretch of 20 consecutive games and all players are starting to feel it. You see it with the pitchers, who keep going every fifth day — young and old — as well as the position players. All of the starters will get an extra day off from their rotation turn after Thursday’s off-day — the first for the club since two weeks ago this past Thursday.
“Twenty days in a row at this level is real,” Wedge said. “That’s why they only let you do 20 days in a row.”
The lineups:
MARINERS
RF Ichiro
SS Brendan Ryan
1B Justin Smoak
DH Jack Cust
LF Carlos Peguero
C Miguel Olivo
CF Franklin Gutierrez
3B Chone Figgins
2B Jack Wilson
RHP Felix Hernandez
TIGERS
CF Austin Jackson
3B Don Kelly
RF Brennan Boesch
1B Miguel Cabrera
C Victor Martinez
LF Andy Dirks
SS Jhonny Peralta
DH Alex Avila
2B Ramon Santiago
RHP Rick Porcello

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan, Chone Figgins

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