This was pretty much the breaking point for Mariners manager Eric Wedge tonight. Any doubts that he and GM Jack Zduriencik may have had about what moves to make next were pretty much erased by this 4-1 loss in 11 innings to the Oakland Athletics.
After the game, Wedge strongly hinted that more than one young hitter will be Class AAA-bound next week. He didn’t mention any names, but Dustin Ackley again looked lost out there at the plate tonight and Justin Smoak was really no better.
Carlos Peguero had tripled to left field in the ninth inning with the game tied. But Ackley came up, looked at some good pitches, then bounced out meekly to the shortstop.
“It’s just been Groundhog Day too many times for me,” Wedge said. “Like I told you before, we’re in the process of evaluating everybody and everything. We’re a couple of days away from the all-star break and we’re not going to just keep watching what we’re watching.
“We’re not going to keep watching people do the same thing over and over again and live with it.”
Wedge went on to say: “You’ve got to be patient with young players because it doesn’t happen right away. But ultimately, we need to make sure that if certain guys aren’t getting it, then maybe we need to make some changes.
“We’ve been contemplating this for a while. You’d like to see them get it done and make the adjustments up here because if you send them out and bring them back up, they still have to go through some things they have to go through.But if they push our hand, then it is what it is. And that’s pretty much where we are right now.”
You could sense the frustration level when he said: “What’s most frustrating about it is that these guys had it there for a while. They showed you what they were capable of doing and more importantly, they proved to themselves what they had to do to be successful.
“So, unless they’re just not paying attention, or just dumb, they should be able to find a way to get back to it and be more consistent.”
But ultimately, it sounds like his mind is already made up about some guys.
Wedge said he and GM Jack Zduriencik have gone over the options available to them and know what they have to do. Zduriencik told me yesterday that he’d be using this weekend series as a final evaluator of what to do at the break. Judging by what happened here tonight — it won’t be a happy time for some hitters.
“We’re going to do what we have to do to get better here in the second half offensively. Because I know how Jack feels about it, I know how I feel about it. I know how the (coaching) staff feels about it and we’re not going to keep watching this over and over and over again.
“We’ve been patient, they’ve been addressed. We’ve come at them in different ways and in different fashion. But ultimately, they’re grown men out there and either they’re going to get it done or they won’t be here.”