GAME: Mariners (7-11, 3rd, AL West, -5.5 GB) at Rangers (10-6, 2nd, AL West, -1.5 GB). GAME #: 19. SERIES: 2nd of 3 games. MEETING: 6th (Rangers lead 3-2). WHEN: Saturday, 5:05 p.m., Rangers Ballpark. STREAKS: Mariners L 1; Rangers W 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
The Mariners have an embarrassing — it’s way early to say historic — trend going. In their past three games, Seattle batters have struck out 44 times — 19 whiffs against Detroit Wednesday, followed by 12 against the Tigers Thursday, followed by 13 against the Texas Rangers Friday.
Through 18 games, while posting a disappointing but predictable 7-11 record (7-0 loss to Texas Friday) the Mariners have whiffed 148 times, an average of 8.2 times per game. Now consider:
When the 1986 Mariners, “led” by Jimmy Presley (172) and Danny Tartabull (157), became the first team in franchise history to record more than 1,100 seasonal punchouts with 1,148, they averaged 7.08 batter strikeouts per game.
That dubious “sub-standard” stood until 2011, when the Mariners, paced by Miguel Olivo’s 140, fanned 1,280 times — 7.9 per game. So here are the 2013 Mariners, whiffing 8.2 times per contest. Sure, it’s early. Still . . .
The Mariners, who have five double-digit batter strikeout games so far, will take their licks Saturday against RHP Nick Tepesch, a rookie who averages 6.9 strikeouts per nine innings, but had only five the last time he saw the Mariners, April 14 at Safeco Field.
Tepesch (1-1) will be opposed by RHP Brandon Maurer (1-2), who recorded his first career win in that game after a pair of rocky outings. A closer look at the probables:
MARINERS: RHP Brandon Maurer (1-2, 9.95 ERA, 1.73 WHIP)
The 22-year-old Maurer, a Newport Beach, CA., native in his first major league season, will make his fourth start and second against the Rangers. Maurer flirted with losing his spot in the rotation after allowing 12 earned runs on 15 hits in his first two outings, the second of which lasted just two outs. But Maurer recovered in his last start against Texas to post his first major league win and shelve talk about a demotion.
- LAST START: April 14 vs. Texas, won 4-3 at Safeco Field; 3 earned runs on 5 hits over 6.0 innings; 5 strikeouts, 2 walks, 0 home runs, 97 pitches, 61 for strikes.
- LAST VS. RANGERS: Same as last start.
- CAREER VS. RANGERS: 1-0, 3.00 ERA in 1 start covering 6.0 innings; 5 strikeouts to 1 walk, 0 home runs, 1.00 WHIP.
- AT RANGERS BALLPARK: Never pitched.
- LOVES TO FACE: Elvis Andrus (0-for-3, .000), Adrian Beltre (0-for-3, .000), David Murphy (0-for-3, .000).
- HATES TO FACE: Lance Berkman (1-for-2, .500), Leury Garcia (1-for-2, .500), Mitch Moreland (1-for-2, .500).
- CURRENT RANGERS VS. MAURER: 5-for-23, .217 BA, 5 strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 home runs, .280 on-base percentage.
RANGERS: RHP Nick Tepesch (1-1, 3.46 ERA, 1.23 WHIP)
The 24-year-old Tepesch, a Missouri native in first major league season, will make his third start and second against the Mariners. Tepesch won his major league debut April 9 against Tampa Bay, allowing one earned run on four hits in 7.1 innings. But the Mariners hit pretty hard in his second outing, pinning a 4-3 defeat on him. The Rangers selected the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Tepesch in the 14th round of the 2010 amateur draft.
- LAST START: April 14 at Safeco Field, lost to Seattle 4-3; 4 earned runs on 9 hits in 5.2 innings; 5 strikeouts, 0 walks, 1 home run, 102 pitches, 65 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: Same as last start.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 0-1, 6.35 ERA in 1 start covering 5.2 innings; 5 strikeouts to 0 walks, 1 home run, 1.58 WHIP.
- AT RANGERS BALLPARK: 1-0, 1.23 ERA in 1 start covering 7.1 innings; 5 strikeouts, 3 walks, 0 home runs, 0.95 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Robert Andino (0-for-3, .000), Jason Bay (0-for-3, .000).
- HATES TO FACE: Jesus Montero (2-for-3, .667), Endy Chavez (1-for-3, .333), Raul Ibanez (1-for-3, .333).
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. TEPESCH: 9-for-26, .346 BA, 5 strikeouts, 0 walks, 1 home run, .370 on-base percentage.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
- CURRENT ROAD TRIP: Three at Texas (Friday-Sunday), three at Houston (Monday-Wednesday). The Marines will return to Safeco Field Thursday to face the Anaheim Angels.
- Friday’s 7-0 loss at Texas marked the first time in 2013 that Seattle suffered a shutout.
- The Mariners haven’t won consecutive games since starting the season 2-0 against Oakland.
- Kyle Seager delivered his American League-leading ninth double Friday.
- CF Franklin Gutierrez was out of Seattle’s starting lineup for the second consecutive game with tightness in his groin.
- Seattle OF Michael Saunders , who has been on the disabled list since April 11 with a sprained right shoulder, took batting practice Friday and may resume throwing in the next couple of days.
- In the Mariners’ seven victories, they are batting .351 (20-for-57) with runners in scoring position. In 11 losses, the Mariners are batting .125 (8-for-64) with RISP. The Mariners have no hits with RISP seven times in 18 games.
- The Mariners hit seven home runs at Safeco Field during the season’s opening home stand (10 games). With fences farther back last year, the Mariners also hit seven homers in the season’s first 10 games.
- The Mariners are in the midst of 16 games in 16 games. They will not have their next day off until May 2.
|4/20||Sat||at Tex||RHP Brandon Maurer (1-2) vs. RHP Nick Tepesch (1-1)|
|4/21||Sun||at Tex||RHP Aaron Harang (0-1) vs. RHP Justin Grimm (0-0)|
|4/22||Mon||at Hou||RHP Felix Hernandez (1-2) vs. RHP Brad Peacock (1-1)|
|4/23||Tue||at Hou||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (2-0) vs. RHP Bud Norris (2-2)|
|4/24||Wed||at Hou||LHP Joe Saunders (1-2) vs. RHP Lucas Harrell (0-2)|
Mike Blowers said that there used to be shame in striking out, but now players just see it as another out and nothing more. I agree with Mike. They’re all swinging from the heels. Who wants to see the #7, #8, #9 hitters come up and swing from the heels? Not me. But the opposing pitcher sure does.
Fair point, and the Tigers struck out much as the Mariners, but their lineup’s contact power is so much better. 13 years of a pitcher’s park has robbed the organization of its ability to attract anyone like the Motown big boys.
Or, the “organization” without any measurable baseball vision, drive or ability has robbed the fans by virtue of 13 years of being the Mariners, run by the Mariners and energizing the fan base with such winning future hall-of-famers as — a. real. big. scoreboard. Players of stature aren’t generally begging to go to Miami or Pittsburg or Houston, either. The M’s perform poorly because the players here just ain’t. so. great. It seems to self-select from both sides: the one’s the “organization” wants intersect with the ones who want to be here within a small, well-defined, reliably predictable range of talent and chutzpah mediocrity (excepting the few and far between Felix type outliers, of course).
At least the turnstiles are beginning to reflect the incessant pile driving this FO has done to bury the franchise.
Tell us again about the ownership power changes that the ROOT deal brings to the picture?