Tag Archives: mariners

Mariners’ Attendance Increase Highest in MLB

seattle mariners attendance

Mariners’ Attendance Shows Fans Care About Team Again

Over the course of the season, no other team increased their attendance over last season like the Mariners. 25,485 came to the park on average in 2014. That’s a 17% increase over last year. It still only ranks 23rd among the 30 MLB teams home attendance figures but it’s a large leap in the right direction.

It’s absolutely no secret in Seattle, and probably around all of baseball that Mariner fans had lost a lot of respect for their team. A decade of constant losing and a front office that showed zero interest of fielding a competitive team would do that to any cities fan base. That is, until now.

This remarkable 2014 season just came to a dramatic, and disappointing conclusion, with a win nonetheless. The Texas Rangers and their fans became our friends for the final week, yet they were unable to defeat the Oakland Athletics in game 162 of the regular season. So, again, the Mariners will be out of the playoffs.

There is reason to celebrate. The final win of the season was witnessed by over 40,000 strong at Safeco Field. Now you might think that was only because it was the finale of the season, or because Felix Hernandez was pitching. And both of those were obviously factors. But the jump in victories, 16 more than in 2013, is the real reason Seattle fans are flocking back to the ballpark.

If the winning continues into next season, maybe the Mariners’ attendance will approach their record of over 3,500,000 fans coming to Safeco in 2002 – just one year after the club won 116 regular season games.

Guys like Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, and Hernandez deserve to play in front of sold out home crowds. Plus young guys such as James Paxton, Taijuan Walker, and the possibility of seeing the rest of the top Mariners draft picks should add even more of a reason for fans to come out and eat some garlic fries next season.

Evaluating Logan Morrison

logan morrison mariners

Logan Morrison Earned a Second Contract with the Mariners

During this past offseason the Seattle Mariners acquired outfielder Logan Morrison from the Miami Marlins. With the outfield being the weakest part of the Mariners offense, the hope that Morrison would return to his 2011 production of 23 home runs and 72 RBI was worth the risk of a relatively cheap one-year deal.

Morrison’s contract was for $1.75 million with another $375,000 in performance bonuses that were tied to the amount of plate appearances the outfielder made.

The signing turned out to be a good one. With the Mariners fighting for their playoff lives in the month of September, Morrison picked up his game and it could be argued that he was the Mariners’ most productive hitter over the final month of the season.

In 336 at bats Morrison had 88 hits (.262 avg) – 20 of which were doubles and 11 home runs. In September however, Morrison found his groove and batted .342 (26 of 76) with 8 doubles and 5 home runs. Possibly none were bigger than the double to the right/centerfield gap that scored Kyle Seager in the second-to-last game of the season. A game the Mariners were trailing 1-0 in the 7th inning. Morrison’s double scored Seager and eventually helped win a must-win game that went into the 11th inning, 2-1.

Mariners’ Attendance Goes Way Up!

Over possibly his last 10 games in a Mariners uniform, Morrison was only held hitless once. A 1-0 loss to Toronto that saw the Mariners manage just three hits against Mark Buehrle. In the 10-game stretch, Logan Morrison’s batting average would rise from .251 to .262.

At 27-years old (August 25th), Logan Morrison should be brought back for another run at a postseason appearance with the Mariners. His impressive finish to the season exemplified the never-give-up attitude that the 2014 Mariners established and need to keep up to compete in one of the best divisions in baseball.

Who do you want to see the Mariners bring back for next season?

Felix Hernandez’s 2014 Emotional Exit (Video)

felix hernandez 2014 final game

The King, Felix Hernandez Walks Off Nearly in Tears

It is quite possible that no other athlete has shown the dedication and loyalty to the city of Seattle and their franchise as Felix Hernandez has.

With losing seasons piling up in the Pacific Northwest, Hernandez has never wavered in his desire to remain a Seattle Mariner. Even though the New York Yankees and nearly every other team in baseball have made it clear they are interested in taking one of the greatest pitchers in the game away from us, King Felix has decided to stay.

With the 2014 season came a new and unknown experience for many Mariners fans as well as our ace. In the final game, the Mariners had a chance to play for a playoff spot. Of course, the top pitcher in the American League would take the mound for Seattle in a must win game against the Angels. The Mariners would go on to win the game, however, the Athletics would also win – giving them the one game edge and send them to face the Royals in a one-game wild card playoff.

Felix pitched the way Felix always pitches. Brilliantly. After earning one out in the 6th inning, Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon pulled the starter to a standing ovation that we haven’t seen in a long time.

This season proves that winning is possible with this club. The fans are eager and demand it. The management senses that and will be forced to put in the effort this offseason to take the next step in the highly competitive American League West Division.

I’m sure looking forward to next season and what Felix and the rest of the almost 2014 playoff team Seattle Mariners can do.

2014 Seattle Mariners Playoff Tickets

2014 Seattle Mariners Playoff Tickets

Although the chances of any of use ever getting to use them is shrinking drastically after each loss – this is what real playoff tickets look like for the Seattle Mariners.

It has been over a decade since the Mariners have played a postseason game and even though the Mariners have stumbled this past week with blowout losses to the Blue Jays, hope is on the horizon.

If the Mariners can add one more solid bat to the lineup and the pitching continues to perform as they did for most of the 2014 season – we should definitely be excited for another playoff push in 2015.

To check out the exact scenarios that would give the Mariners a playoff berth, take a look at this post from earlier today.

2014 Seattle Mariners Playoff Chances

2014 Seattle Mariners Playoff Chances

As you can clearly see, the recent losing streak the Seattle Mariners suffered through before finally pulling out a win in the final game against the Blue Jays really hurt any chance of a playoff appearance this postseason.

There is still hope however. It would take a flurry of a finish on the Mariners’ part as well as a total collapse by the Oakland Athletics, but crazier things have happened.

Taijuan Walker Dominates, M’s Almost Sweep Astros

isthatajuggalotat

            Over the last four days the Mariners and the Astros played baseball against each other four times. The Mariners won the first three games before dropping the last one in particularly deflating fashion, because losses to Houston are deflating. One of these games was Taijuan Walker’s big league debut, and he was excellent. That’s what matters here, is that Taijuan Walker happened. The other games? Trivial. Taijuan Walker’s the biggest deal right now, and rightfully so. He’s twenty one years old and one of the best pitching prospects in the universe. He’s in the majors now! Tai Walker! Let’s just get straight to the recaps, because one of them is about Taijuan Walker. Taijuan Walker. 

Thursday, August 29 – Mariners 3, Astros 2 

            You know what’s completely uninteresting? A game between a fourth place team and a fifth place team at the end of August the day before a top prospect’s major league debut. Yeah, Erasmo Ramirez is interesting and all, but we want our shiny new toy! The biggest news of the day was not even game-related, as Michael Morse was claimed on waivers by the Baltimore Orioles and subsequently held out of the lineup. Morse was possibly the worst player on the roster, depending on what you think of Endy Chavez, and his waiver claim was the biggest news of the day. This is a fan base hungry for Taijuan Walker.

            Then they played the game and the Mariners won. That’s why they play the games! Erasmo was sharp, striking out seven batters in five and two thirds innings. He walked two and allowed a home run to Brett Wallace, but was otherwise excellent. Ramirez might not be a huge part of the Mariners long-term future, but he’s a cost-controlled young arm on a team that has a severe lack of good starters. Success from Erasmo Ramirez means more payroll to devote towards luring guys like Jacoby Ellsbury to Seattle. Maybe. Just as a reminder, the last major free agent to sign in Seattle was Chone Figgins, and that was in 2009.

            Franklin Gutierrez led the offense with three hits, including another dinger. Franklin Gutierrez’s isolated slugging percentage is .338, which is higher than Miguel Cabrera’s isolated slugging percentage. It’s higher than everybody’s isolated slugging percentage, except for Chris Davis. Aside from Guti’s two-run shot, the Mariners also got runs from a Nick Franklin first inning solo shot. The dinger was a welcome sign, because Nick Franklin has been gut-wrenchingly awful for a really long time now. He’s closing in on replacement level, which sure as hell doesn’t fit the narrative we collectively strung together after his star-level start at the big league level.

Friday, August 30 – Mariners 7, Astros 1

            Finally, the one that matters. I don’t have cable, and as a result listen to almost every game on the radio. For the last month or so, every game I watch on television has been a game I went out of my way to watch, having identified it as a contest that needed visual enhancement. Since becoming a non-cable person, I’ve listened to a lot of games and only watched a couple, all featuring Felix. This one did not feature Felix. Needless to say, this was one worth watching.

            Taijuan Walker is electrifying. Everyone loves a big league debut, even if that debut is Abraham Almonte or someone like that, some guy who probably doesn’t have a lengthy big league career in front of him. This is because baseball is a game featuring human beings, and watching human beings accomplish their life-long goals is fascinating. A rookie’s first call-up is about more than how they do against the highest level of competition, it’s about how they react to everything. To the crowd. To the lights. To the pressure. It’s almost as interesting to watch a young player’s emotions as it is his fastball.

            Walker’s emotions showed the most early on, predictably, as he did something that he had never done before and had always dreamed of doing. He took the deepest of deep breaths. You could see him focusing himself before every pitch, and the first pitch he threw almost went into the dirt. It took him three tries to get his first strike, and after he did you could see traces of smile creeping over him. Walker’s twenty-one. He’s one of the youngest players in the major leagues, and a guy who many of us have watched closely since he was drafted. This debut was about more than balls and strikes. It was the realization of a goal, a shared goal between player, coaches, and fans. It was the start of a big league career that hopefully lasts a long, long time. The results could have been bad and we would have still had reason to celebrate.

            Of course, the results were excellent, as Walker allowed only two hits over five dominant innings, which, again, were the first five innings he had ever thrown at the big league level. He walked Brett Wallace and only struck out two guys, but this is where we get to say eh, whatever, big league debut. He was only allowed to throw seventy pitches, because he’s a twenty-one year old top prospect coming up on an innings limit. His fastball was a sight to be seen, reaching the upper nineties and blowing right past the Astros hitters. Of course, the Astros aren’t much of a test as far as major league competition is concerned, but results are results. Walker’s secondary pitches started off shaky but he improved seemingly every inning, which is a welcome sign. His next test comes against Kansas City on Wednesday, and I couldn’t be more excited for it. Welcome, Taijuan. Stay forever.

            Dustin Ackley tried his damnedest to steal the spotlight, and really has been commanding attention for the last month-plus. In this game he went four for five, driving in four runs and saving one with a phenomenal diving catch in center field. He hit a freaking triple. Just when everyone was ready to write him off as Jeremy Reed, Ackley is as hot as he’s ever been. He’s been playing center over Gutierrez, for what it’s worth. At this point it’s probably safe to assume Ackley’s going to be factored into the team’s plans this winter, and it’s suddenly easy to remember why he was the number two overall pick a few years ago.

            This was just about as awesome as a late August M’s/Astros game could be. The Mariners scored seven runs and two important young players led the way. Abraham Almonte did in fact make his debut and was just fine. Huzzah to baseball.

Saturday, August 31 – Mariners 3, Astros 1

            It will be a shame if and when Joe Saunders makes multiple September starts. Not that he was especially bad in this game, but he did walk more batters than he struck out and he is thirty-two and having a vile, unwatchable season. Not that the Mariners have great options or anything, but they have options. Chance Ruffin, for one. Blake Beavan, for another, and I can’t even believe I just typed those words. It’s September, the Mariners are way the hell out of contention, and hey maybe it’d be weird and interesting to see what happens if a broken Tom Wilhelmsen starts a major league game this month. Anyways, Saunders pitched and limited damage while walking three and striking out two. He lowered his ERA to 4.92 and if Aaron Harang is gone then why is Saunders still here? His salary is a sunk cost. Time for more Brandon Maurer starts, or anything. Give Raul Ibanez a start for all I care.

            The Mariners won this game, and not entirely because of the Astros. In fact they won in spite of the Astros, as the offense was entirely shut down for innings two through nine. Everything came in the first against Dallas Keuchel, who’s day began with a single by Brad Miller. Guti flew out, then Kyle Seager singled before a Kendrys Morales single brought Miller home. Raul Ibanez walked, then Nick Franklin walked with the bags juiced. Dustin Ackley scored Seager on a groundout, because Newly Productive Dustin Ackley sparks the offense even when grounding out. Keuchel went on shutdown mode for the next six innings before ceding to Erik Bedard, who is now a reliever on the Houston Astros. Bedard walked two and struck out none while allowing no runs and is a reliever on the Houston Astros. He’s also the highest-paid player on their roster, making just a hair over a million dollars.

Sunday, September 1 – Astros 2, Mariners 0

            This game was started by Hisashi Iwakuma, who will probably get some down ballot Cy Young votes, and Brett Oberholtzer, who you are just now hearing about for the first time ever. Oberholtzer is some young guy who only pitches for the Astros because the Astros don’t have any major league baseball players on their roster.  In addition to starting the game, Oberholtzer finished the game. This is because the Mariners got four hits against him, and turned those four hits (and a walk) into zero runs. Oberholtzer threw a 113-pitch complete game shutout, and who is Brett Oberholtzer? Again, he is nobody, and he shut down the Mariners to help his “team” avoid a sweep.

            Not to say that Iwakuma wasn’t brilliant, because he was. Over seven innings Kuma struck out seven Astros and walked only one. Like I said, don’t be surprised if and when his name shows up towards the bottom of some Cy Young ballots, because that’s the kind of season he’s had. His ERA is back under three. Brett Oberholtzer’s ERA is under Hisashi Iwakuma’s ERA. Seriously who is this guy? Charlie Furbush allowed some doubles or something, who cares, the Mariners got shut out by an imaginary baseball player. Tom Wilhelmsen made his triumphant return by facing one batter. He got him out! Good for you, Tom!

UP NEXT: Mariners @ Royals 

            The Royals have been some kind of enigmatic this season, which is a marked improvement over just about every other Royals season I can ever remember happening. Dayton Moore famously traded Wil Myers to Tampa Bay over the offseason in an attempt to turn the Royals into contenders. While James Shields has been excellent, Myers has been excellent too, as a rookie outfielder raking at the league minimum with another half-decade of club control. Worse yet, the Royals offense has been bad. Worst yet, the big trade has simply turned the Royals into the worst AL team over .500, nowhere near playoff contention. Which is what most analysts expected at the time.

            The last few months have seen the Royals turn from a disappointment to the hottest team in the AL, then back into a pumpkin and now they’re playing good again. They’re three games over .500 and traded their top prospects in order to get here. The Royals are exactly the team the Mariners should want to avoid becoming. The Royals are a fun team to beat because they’re perennially mismanaged and do lots of important things wrong. Remember, this is the best Royals season in a long, long time. PITCHERS: Felix vs. Danny Duffy, Erasmo vs. Bruce Chen, Taijuan vs. Ervin Santana, joe saunders vs. Jeremie Guthrie. The Mariners are one DFA away from having four compelling starters in this series. Imagine that!

Mike Morse Traded to Orioles

xavier avery

xavier avery

The Mariners placed Mike Morse on the waiver wire and was claimed by the Baltimore Orioles. The sides had a 48-hour window to come to terms on a trade and they have.

Seattle has received Orioles minor-league outfielder Xavier Avery (23). Avery spent the majority of the season playing at AAA though he does have some experience playing at the major-league level. In his 107 plate appearances with the Orioles, Avery hit one home run and six doubles to go with a .223 BA and .305 OBP. Avery was ranked as the seventh best prospect in the Orioles system.

Mike Morse came to the Mariners in a trade before the season and his second stint with the Mariners ends as a major disappointment, especially after his white-hot start. After only nine games with the Mariners Morse had hit six home runs. But after being hit by a pitch, breaking his pinky finger, Morse wasn’t the same. After coming off the DL, Morse suffered a quad strain. With the Mariners injury issues at the time, he tried playing through it, which was a mistake.

Here are a few reactions from Twitter about the trade.

 

 

Mariners Play Bad, Add Good Player

taijuanomg

So the Mariners got swept again, this time by the division-leading Texas Rangers. A sweep at the hands of the Rangers is a lot easier to deal with that a sweep at the hands of the Angels, because the Rangers are a good team and the Angels are a bad team. But a sweep is still a sweep, and losing three games in a row sucks no matter what. Losing three games in a row and then immediately losing three more games in a row is a massive downer, and the Mariners have responded to all the bad with an attempt to infuse some good.

Aaron Harang is gone, finally, which is the cause for much celebration around these parts. Taking his place in the Mariners rotation will be none other than Taijuan Walker, the top prospect in the Mariners system and one of the more promising young arms in the sport. He has the ceiling of a true number one pitcher, a real ace, and he’s going to start in Houston on Friday. Nobody’s saying for sure that Walker is “ready,” but he’s pretty clearly one of the five best starting pitchers in the organization and now he’s here.

It’s funny, really. There wasn’t really much of a rush to get Walker on the 40-man, nor was he in dire need of extra innings. He’s still rapidly approaching his limit for 2013, and it appears he’ll be able to make maybe three starts in the big leagues before being shut down. The move appears to have been reactionary, a result of the utter flop that has been the last week of Mariners Baseball.

One can’t help but wonder how this would have played out had the Mariners won two or three of their last six games, instead of zero. That may have meant a few extra wins, but it also could have meant a very Harang-y September. I can not express in words the gap in interesting between Aaron Harang and Taijuan Walker. Would you rather eat dry ramen or spaghetti carbonara?

Taijuan Walker is a major leaguer now, and hopefully forever. Hopefully he goes into the Hall of Fame as a Mariner and helps lead the team to ten consecutive World Series wins or something. All we can do now is wait until Friday and let ourselves dream. Or! Or, we could take a moment to revisit the series that just was, as in the series where the Rangers swept the Mariners and prompted the call-up of Taijuan Walker. Right, right. I guess we can talk about that, if you insist.

Monday, August 26 – Rangers 8, Mariners 3

Jumpin’ Joe Saunders is a guy who’s career is “winding down,” as they say, although he’s also a guy who more than justified a $6 million commitment over the winter. After being perfectly acceptable for the last few years, he’s been terrible in 2013. The good of his Monday outing: seven innings, wow good job Joe way to spare the bullpen! The bad: seven runs, three walks, no strikeouts. Joe Saunders is getting 4.86 Ks per nine innings and walking 3.03. He’s got a career-best ground ball rate, shockingly, and a career-worst HR/FB rate, unshockingly. Did I mention that Joe Saunders is not a very good starting pitcher, I think I may have mentioned that.

Against nameless Astros castoff Travis Blackley, the M’s did very little. Brad Miller had two hits and Kyle Seager hit a home run, and meanwhile Nick Franklin’s batting average is approaching Michael Morse territory. Also, the Mariners marketing department still insists on touting Raul Ibanez as the face of the franchise despite the fact that all the uber-casual fans who were high on him months ago have checked out ever since the NFL preseason started. Raul Ibanez is not leading the Mariners into battle against Evan Longoria and the Rays, despite what the Mariners official website says. This game was bad and the Mariners lost. Better luck tomorrow?

More: 15 Seahawks Fantasy Football Team Names

Tuesday, August 27 – Rangers 4, Mariners 3 (10 innings)

This was arguably the best game the Mariners have played out of the last six and they lost it on a balk. A balk. Seriously, CB Bucknor called balk on Danny Farquhar in the tenth inning with a runner on third. The call, of course, was highly questionable, and ended up costing the Mariners a win. But let’s not kid ourselves and act like victory was assured, or even likely, had the game proceeded without that goofy call. The Rangers are good. The Mariners are bad. The Rangers have an elite bullpen, and the Mariners have a broken, awful bullpen. The balk mattered, but it arguably didn’t have a huge effect on the results.

Hisashi Iwakuma struck out seven over seven innings with only one walk and no home runs. The Rangers scored their first three runs off him in the second inning, as guys like Mitch Moreland and David Murphy strung together timely base hits to take back a lead they’d given up early. That early lead was given up by Derek Holland, to the Mariners, which is weird. After Brad Miller and Kyle Seager walked, Kendrys Morales drove Miller in with a double. Justin Smoak hit a long sac fly to bring Seager home, and just like that the Mariners had two runs off an ace pitcher early in the game. Weird. Franklin Gutierrez added a solo shot in the third, and Franklin Gutierrez is back from the disabled list again in case people were wondering where the hell that came from.

Wednesday, August 28 – Rangers 12, Mariners 4

Felix isn’t going to win the Cy Young this year. He might not even finish second, which is a shame because he definitely deserves to at least finish second. He isn’t going to win because Max Scherzer is going to win, and also because he’s been pretty bad for a stretch this August. This performance was one of his worst ever: three innings, nine runs, eight earned. A home run, two strikeouts, and a walk. Eleven hits. Three innings. We’ve seen worse, obviously, but not from Felix. From Felix, this is way out of the ordinary. After the Rangers finished teeing off against the M’s ace, they teed off against Brandon Maurer. Maurer has looked awful all year and one has to think his future is as a mop-up reliever. His stock has fallen just about as far as it could, given the excitement he generated this spring.

Dustin Ackley hit a home run. Dustin Ackley hit a double. Dustin Ackley’s wRC+ is all the way up to 81, still bad but better than it was last season. His .256 average is now fifth-highest on the entire freaking team, and what the hell is happening this is so cool. Kyle Seager hit a home run too, and he’s really good. What if Ackley is good? What if what if what if? All I know is he should play every day from this point forward. Raul and Morse and Endy should all be gone tomorrow, or at least benched forever.

UP NEXT: Mariners @ Astros

Four games in Houston should be all this team needs to turn things around, though they’ve been crappy against Houston before and there’s no reason to expect much from the M’s right now. This series will consist of four games, none of which will be started by Felix Hernandez. One of them will be started by Taijuan Walker, however, which is really exciting. Tai Walker you guys!! This is happening!!

Pitching matchups! Erasmo Ramirez v. Jordan Lyles, Taijuan Walker v. Brad Peacock, Joe Saunders v. Dallas Keuchel, Hisashi Iwakuma v. Brett Oberholtzer. What, never heard of Brett Oberholtzer before? Tai Walker starts Friday! Tai Walker!

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