The Mariners’ scoring pace is up over a year ago, and home runs have improved, but they still can’t do anything when they get a man in position to score.
Tampa Bay outscored the Mariners 15-10 in the four-game series at Tropicana Field in large part because Seattle (which tried an all-lefty lineup card Thursday, the first time the Mariners have tried that since since 1983), went 4-for-23 (.174 BA) with runners in scoring position, left 29 batters stranded and whiffed 46 times.
That’s a whole lot of nothing, even by the Mariners’ abysmal historical standards — especially the RISP number. While the Mariners already have 25 home runs vs. the 29 they hit through the end of May in 2011, they have done next-to-zilch in terms of situational hitting.
Chief offenders include SS Brendan Ryan (0-for-26), who is batting .050 with runners poised to plate. Ichiro (4-for-24) and Justin Smoak (4-for-24) are at .167. Compared to those guys, Chone Figgins, 0-for-his-last-18 and now batting .189, is practically Lou Gehrig. Figgins is at .176 (3-for-17). Collectively, Ryan, Ichiro, Smoak and Figgins are at .141 (12-for-85).
The worst single-season major league performance by a Seattle hitter occurred in 1969, when Ray Oyler of the ill-fated Pilots hit .165 (BA) and .183 with runners in scoring position. Ten years after woodless wonder Oyler left the scene, Mario Mendoza came along and hit .198 for the 1979 Mariners, establishing the nationally infamous Mendoza Line.
Mendoza had a higher batting average in 1979 than Figgins, and also had a better RISP number — .196 — than Ryan, Ichiro, Smoak and Figgins together, .141. Figgins is in the process of splitting the difference between Oyler and Mendoza (he’s already exploring Oylerish BA territory).
The Mariners (11-16), who commence a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins at Safeco Field Friday, have 135 games remaining, ample time to create a history of positives when they get a man in position to slap five at home. But for now, this is how the Mariners’ current RISP stacks up to every Mariners team that lost 95 or more games in a season:
Worst RISP Numbers By 95+-Loss Mariners Teams