With the news last night that Justin Smoak would be activated off the disabled list — something the Mariners will officially announce once he gets here to Anaheim — the team officially begins its last-ditch bid to salvage the 2013 season.
At nine games under .500, the addition of Smoak — with Franklin Gutierrez and Dustin Ackley soon to follow — might happen too late. But you never know when the next winning streak will start (or if a decent one ever will for this team) and the road trip still has three games remaining.
The big thing Smoak brings — assuming he won’t need a week to round back into form — is the ability to get on-base. That’s a skill that has diminished greatly for this team ever since injuries and Class AAA demotions began piling up back in mid-May.
Back when the Mariners came out of that hard-fought series in Cleveland a month ago, their team OBP stood at .312 for the season, even with Jesus Montero not performing and some players beginning to wear down.
Today, in the month of games played since, team OBP has been a dismal .283 and sent the overall OBP for the year plummeting down to .301.
The major culprit in this downward spiral has been Michael Saunders, who on May 5 had a .351 OBP and a .971 OPS and was looking like one of the better leadoff hitters in baseball. Since then, his OBP has been just .281 with a .549 OPS. Naturally, he is no longer at the top of the order.
The sheer disintegration of Saunders the past six weeks coincided with that other dip I’ve mentioned over the past month.
For those who criticize the roster makeup of this team as being flawed with too many first-base/DH types, you are technically correct. As of right now there are too many of those cluttering up the nightly lineup and the addition of Smoak — one would think — would not stand to improve that much.
But that critique of the roster, while valid in a literal sense, is also flawed.More
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