(Photo of Matt Harrison by Associated Press)
It’s getting grim again for the Mariners, who got shut out for the 11th time today, tied with Oakland for the most in the majors. Remember back earlier this season when it looked like they were making some real, tangible progress at the plate? Not so much anymore.
The Mariners now rank 29th in the majors in batting average (.229, one point ahead of Oakland), and 30th in both on-base percentage (.291) and slugging percentage (.355).
They are hitting just .196 at home, which would be the lowest for a full season since home-road splits began to be kept in the early 20th century. In precisely half of those games at Safeco – 22 out of 44 – they have scored two runs or fewer. All that, heaped on top of the worst record in the American League at 37-53, is making fans very restless.
Let’s be honest — the Mariners’ season is starting to unravel, and if they don’t pull it back together soon, they’re headed toward another disaster. Heading out onto the road should actually help, because that’s the one place they actually are a decent offensive team: Anywhere but Safeco.
Today’s post-game theme in the clubhouse, which I suspect no one wants to hear, is that they hit a lot of balls hard, but right at people. There’s truth to that, but after awhile, that message gets tiresome if it doesn’t eventually translate to success. Manager Eric Wedge remains steadfast that it will, and that the team is not losing morale.
“Hopefully, they derive confidence from me, the coaches, and each other,” he said after the game. “That’s the way it has to be. I’m firm in my beliefs we have a lot of guys here, as I’ve mentioned so many times, speaking in particular about the position players, that are going to be solid big leaguers for quite a few years. But they’re going through some growing pains. They’re coming to the ballpark and playing with a lot of energy. They show up and play hard and work hard, and it’s going to pay off for them. That’s what you have to do. You can’t give in to the fight, you can’t give in to the grind.
“You have moments of frustration, but ultimately, the belief never changes. It’s not just blind faith. There are real reasons to believe these young men are going to be much more consistent offensively. We’re playing good baseball. If you look at the way we catch the ball and the way we’re pitching. We just have to loosen things up by scoring a few more runs and knowing we can come to the ballpark and count on that. That’s what we’re working hard to do.”
But lately, however, it’s not working