April 20, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Mariners need to ‘fight’ just to get a run on the board these days
That wasn’t the happiest of clubhouses after a 5-0 loss tonight to the Texas Rangers. The Mariners have gone 19 innings without scoring a run and look as bad on offense as we’ve seen them the past three or four years.
This club was not supposed to be this bad and the Mariners, to a man, insist things will change. I spoke to Raul Ibanez earlier, since I know many of you are not happy with his performance so far. The Mariners imported a bunch of veterans to help bring some “swagger” and leadership to the team this season and right now — given how things are unfolding — it will fall on those veterans to keep this squad from coming apart.
Ibanez knows he hasn’t gotten the job done. He’s down to just .174 hitting-wise and is playing a whole lot more in the field than anybody really expected.
Right now, he isn’t using that as an excuse. If he’s got a uniform and the team needs him, he has to play and do more than he’s done. Same with some other guys out there, both young and older.
“I’m just not doing my part,’’ Ibanez said. “But you try to do better and you keep fighting. The most important thing is to keep fighting and pulling together and just scratch and claw.
“You go through moments like this in baseball as a team. You scratch and claw and play a little pepper. You try to square up some balls and not do too much.
“Otherwise, what winds up happening when you start going through something like this collectively is that everybody tries to do too much.’’
Now, that’s all well and good. But the Mariners have to talk the talk as well as walk the walk. We’ve seen too much of the latter in recent years.
Ibanez knows this is a better team than it’s shown. But again, that’s just talk.
“We’re a much better team than this,’’ Ibanez said. “We’ve just got to go out there and do it. And show it. And the only way we’ll do that is to keep fighting. And we will. These guys will keep fighting.’’
As for his fielding misadventures last night, Ibanez told me he came in and changed his spikes after toppling over on the slick grass while charging after that triple that bounced away from him. Tonight, he used the different spikes and had no fielding issues.
I know fans get a kick out of posting videos about his defense, but honeslty, it’s Ibanez’s bat the team has to worry about. If he hits, fans can live with the odd blunder. And I know this because the team can live with it and if it’s good enough for a team paid to win games, it’ll have to be good enough for the fans. Right now, his offense isn’t good enough.
The offense of a lot of these veterans hasn’t been good enough lately. Some of it is because Michael Morse has a broken finger. But Kendrys Morales is healthy and he’s hit one home run this year. Justin Smoak has no home runs. Nor does Jesus Montero, Dustin Ackley or Kyle Seager. Seager is at least doing more of what he did last season and stroking some doubles.
But this team as a whole just isn’t playing at a high enough level offensively. It’s barely MLB level right now.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge mentioned the lack of swagger after the game. He said the coaching staff is staying on the players to make sure their confidence level doesn’t plummet.
“We talk to these guys,’’ he said. “I mean, that’s something that can never waver. Confidence is a big part of everything. I think that collectively, as a team, offensively, we need to get that swagger back and that confidence back that we had early.
“But each guy, to a man, just has to do what they need to do to help us get there. That’s all you can do.’’
And this team will have to start doing more.