By Shannon Drayer
This Mariners team is tired. The schedule has not helped. Injuries have taken a toll as not only are starters lost but role players have been forced into everyday roles and the bench has been limited with guys who are not available to play or just up from the minors.
How many more changes can be made remains to be seen, but right now this group is not getting it done.
“We can’t keep watching this,” manager Eric Wedge answered after Sunday’s 2-1 loss when asked if more moves were on the horizon. “We’ve got to be better offensively. When we do create opportunities we’re not taking advantage of it. We’ve got to create more opportunities. We’re not going to come through every time, but we damn sure got to do better than we’re doing right now.”
The M’s scored seven runs and went 6 for 26 with runners in scoring position in four games against the Yankees. (AP)
Another game where the Mariners managed to score just one run. On the postgame show I became a little exasperated when callers and texters questioned why Raul Ibanez wasn’t lifted for a defensive replacement or a pinch runner in the ninth. I understand the reasons why, and I am not going to go into them here, but the ninth inning is not the issue. It’s innings one through six.
How about getting more than one run against the starter? You’ve got Felix on the hill; you are not going to need much. The Yankees have a nasty pen. This is where you had your best chance to create opportunities as Wedge said they needed to do.
I don’t think I need to point out here that the offense is broken. I think that is stating the obvious. The question is, what can be done at this point?
One thing I would like to see done is eliminate these “day-to-day” injuries. Michael Morse “needed a day” Sunday, according Wedge, who also called dealing with his quad injury a “slippery slope.” Of course it is. A muscle is either healed or it is not.
Morse was unavailable on the bench for eight games before coming back for three and going 1 for 11, clearly appearing to be slowed by the quad. If he had been placed on the disabled list when originally hurt he would have been eligible to come off of it in time for Friday’s series opener at Oakland. Meanwhile, Wedge would have had another bench player to use over the last week. It is absolutely ridiculous that the nine who started the 16-inning game Wednesday finished it because there simply weren’t options on the bench.
Michael Saunders’ struggles haven’t helped. His fall has been dramatic and somewhat strange in that it appeared that he came back strong from his shoulder injury. After missing 17 games he came back and hit .275/.373/.510/.883 in his first 13 games back. Since then he is .189/.277/.279/.556. with 46 strikeouts in 137 plate appearances.
I don’t know if a trip to Tacoma would help or if it is even possible with the shortage of center fielders in this organization but it is hard to imagine any kind of turnaround without significant contributions from him.
Wedge’s answer above seemed to indicate that they were to the point where the group that they have here — for the time being, at least — was the one that would have to get it done. I don’t know if we see Dustin Ackley recalled or Mike Zunino called up. I am not sure there are other options at this point, but if there is a rabbit in a hat anywhere in this organization, it’s time to pull it out.