Good or terrible? Assessing the Mariners after nine games

Apr 17, 2015, 10:58 AM | Updated: 11:22 am
The Mariners head home with a 3-6 record after being swept by the Dodgers in Los Angeles. (AP)...
The Mariners head home with a 3-6 record after being swept by the Dodgers in Los Angeles. (AP)
(AP)

The Mariners start a nine-game homestand Friday night with three against the Rangers followed by three with the Astros and three with the Twins. If you’re like me, you’re conflicted, not knowing if the Mariners, at 3-6, are just off to a slow start or not as good as we thought they’d be.

Here’s a point-counter point debate that won’t result in definitive conclusions, but it’s probably the kind of thing you’re thinking about, too.

They’re terrible: Fernando Rodney gave up four runs last Sunday in Oakland and blew a save Wednesday night in Los Angeles. He’s gawd-awful, can’t stand him, sick of his high-wire act, he flirted with disaster last year and it’s caught up to him. He’s done.

They’re good: Rodney saved 48 of 51 games and had a rough April last year, too. He’ll be fine. He still has his velocity, just needs better location. Before Wednesday, he had saved 23 straight games.

They’re terrible: Taijuan Walker was supposed to be a can’t-miss prospect, an ace in the making, but he looks like a sixth starter now, and you know where sixth starters are? In Tacoma!

They’re good: Walker had a fantastic spring and a great start in a crucial spot in Toronto last year. He has good stuff and should start to reach his potential sometime this season.

They’re terrible: Hisashi Iwakuma has gone nine consecutive starts of 6 1/3 innings or fewer, including two this year. The guy looks like he’s throwing batting practice and might be done at 34. Three walks in his last start isn’t a good sign for a pitcher who walked only 21 all of last year.

They’re good: Iwakuma has a splendid track record with the Mariners and had a 3.52 ERA last year.

They’re terrible: Austin Jackson doesn’t have it anymore, and I’m starting to wonder if he ever did. He’s hitting .200 with a .243 on-base percentage. He strikes out too much for a leadoff hitter.

They’re good: Jackson still could snap out of it. He just needs to be halfway decent in this improved lineup. And if all else fails, maybe James Jones or Franklin Gutierrez could be called up from Tacoma.

They’re terrible: Logan Morrison is batting .167 and will probably get hurt at some point this season because he always gets hurt. And he can’t even remember how many outs there are.

They’re good: Morrison’s a streaky hitter who could bust out of it at any time. Plus he’s been OK defensively, maybe better than OK. Another if-all-else-fails scenario: Jesus Montero! He’s hitting .394 with Tacoma after going 3 for 5 Thursday.

They’re terrible: Rickie Weeks is batting .174. Not impressed at all with him at the plate or in left field.

They’re good: He was an All-Star in Milwaukee. Just a matter of time until we see the powerful Rickie Weeks. And even if we don’t, Dustin Ackley looks ready to be a full-time left fielder.

They’re terrible: Brad Miller is batting .172. and is average at best as a shortstop.

They’re good: Miller came around late last year, but if he doesn’t, Chris Taylor sounds like he’s a week away from being major-league ready from the broken bone in his wrist.

They’re terrible: The Mariners are second-to-last in on-base percentage and still struggle to score at times.

They’re good: With Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager as anchors in that lineup, this won’t continue.

They’re terrible: Mike Zunino has struck out 14 times in 30 at-bats. Thought he’d solved his strikeout issues in spring training. Apparently not.

They’re good: Zunino is great behind the plate and his offense isn’t as necessary anymore. Plus he’ll get better in time – it’s just his second full season in the big leagues, and he hit 22 homers last year.

They’re terrible: The Mariners are 3-6 and have lost three in a row. Come on, they’re the same old Mariners. When does the Seahawks’ season start?

They’re good: They played three playoff teams to start the season and now they come home to face three teams with losing records last year. They should have a 6-3 record in their next nine games.

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Good or terrible? Assessing the Mariners after nine games