BY John Hickey 10:40PM 07/15/2011

Hickey: Mariners’ time to panic drawing near

With a second straight shutout loss, the Mariners are quickly moving out of contention in the AL West.

David Aardsma - Seattle Mariners - 2010 - 1

David Aardsma is out for the season with the news that he needs ligament replacement surgery in his elbow. / Ben Van Houten

In the first two days after the All-Star break, the Mariners have lost two games, have fallen a couple of games further behind in the American League West standings and gotten the news that their closer of the previous two seasons needs season-ending surgery.

David Aardsma, who at this time a month ago seemed ready for a return to the big leagues after January hip surgery, now needs Tommy John surgery that will end his season and put his 2012 season in doubt.

As for the team he’s leaving behind, they haven’t scored a run yet in the second half and only gotten one runner as far as third base. In 12 July games, the Mariners have been shut out four times in the wake of Friday’s 4-0 loss to Texas.

Suffice it to say that the Mariners of 2011 are looking more and more like the 101-loss Mariners of 2010.

On Saturday the organization is holding pregame ceremonies celebrating the 10th anniversary of the American League-record 116 wins collected by the 2001 team.

The current Mariners are 43-50 with 69 games left in the season. If they won all 69, they’d still not get to 116 wins. As it is, they have to win 20 of the 69 to avoid a second consecutive 100-loss season. Avoiding triple digit losses means having a winning percentage of .290 the rest of the way.

And before you consider that percentage to be well within the range of even the Major League’s worst offense, consider that since June 21, when they were two games over .500 and one-half game out of first place, the Mariners have a winning percentage of .286 (6-15). In that stretch they’ve been shut out five times, have scored just one run three times and just two runs four times.

“You can’t win if you’re not scoring runs,’’ manager Eric Wedge said in perhaps the most somber Seattle clubhouse of the season. “Not even if you score one or two.’’

The comparisons between this season and the one a decade ago tell you two things. One, how amazing the 2001 was. Two, how depressing the 2011 season is becoming.

Ichiro Suzuki has started the second half hitless in his first eight at-bats. Brendan Ryan, who bats second, is 1-for-8. Dustin Ackley, who hits third, is 1-for-7 with a walk. That’s three appearances on base in 18 innings for the top third of the Seattle lineup.

And the rest of the lineup isn’t much better.

Is it time for the Mariners to panic?

“You have to trust in the length of the season,’’ Wedge said in looking at still more than 40 percent of his team’s games yet to be played. “But there also has be a sense of urgency in regards to what we’re doing and trying to get better.

“Panic is not an option.’’

Asked about that, DH Jack Cust, who is in an out of the lineup (mostly out) these days because of performances like Friday – 0-for-4 with two strikeouts – also warned against panic.

The team has lost one full game in the standings in each of the last seven games it has played. Six of the seven have been against the teams in front of Seattle in the American League West standings – Anaheim (0-4) and Texas (0-2).

“Obviously when you are playing teams inside your division, those are games you can’t get back,’’ Cust said. “At the same time, we sort of started the first half like this.’’

Cust was referring to a seven-game losing streak that came after Seattle got off to a 2-0 start to the season. It took a while, but the club did rebound. The question now is whether or not the Mariners can rebound again.

“We would have liked to have ended the first half better than we did,’’ Cust said. “And now to start the second half like this. It’s frustrating, but we’ve got to keep battling.’’

There doesn’t seem to be much battle in the Seattle bats these days.

And unless that changes, panic may become an option.


YourThoughts

  • Michael Kaiser

    “You have to trust in the length of the season,’’ Wedge said in looking at still more than 40 percent of his team’s games yet to be played. 
    That sounds more like a threat than a statement of hope.

  • Michael Kaiser

    “You have to trust in the length of the season,’’ Wedge said in looking at still more than 40 percent of his team’s games yet to be played. 
    That sounds more like a threat than a statement of hope.

  • Shony

    Z needs to start by firing Chambliss. See if that brings some urgency to the club.

    • Jerryj

      Firing the batting coach is a time honored  tradition  in baseball,  and in this case, I think they should try it again.  I mean,  it couldn’t hurt –  these guys are pathetic! 
      The only problem is, is that Ichiro will not be affected by this move – about the only advice that Chanbliss ever offered him was the correct way to pronounce some cuss words.  
      As we speak, Ichiro is heading steadily toward the Mendoza line – is there a God?

  • Shony

    Z needs to start by firing Chambliss. See if that brings some urgency to the club.

    • Jerryj

      Firing the batting coach is a time honored  tradition  in baseball,  and in this case, I think they should try it again.  I mean,  it couldn’t hurt –  these guys are pathetic! 
      The only problem is, is that Ichiro will not be affected by this move – about the only advice that Chanbliss ever offered him was the correct way to pronounce some cuss words.  
      As we speak, Ichiro is heading steadily toward the Mendoza line – is there a God?