BY Steve Rudman 07:48AM 04/13/2011

Nobody Asks But Us — Mariners & batting woes

As Jim Bouton used to say, “Tell your statistics to shut up!”

Milton Bradley (and most of the Mariners) are not getting it done when it comes to RISP / Getty Images

Despite consecutive wins over the Toronto Blue Jays, including Monday’s stunner in which they won 8-7 after trailing by seven runs (first time in 35 seasons they won after trailing by seven-or-more runs in the sixth inning or later), the Mariners still are off to one of the slowest starts in franchise history. The problem, as it was in 2010, is Seattle’s ability to produce at the plate, especially when it counts. How does Seattle’s April batting totals so far compare to other editions of the club in the first month of the season?

Not favorably.  With four starters — Chone Figgins (.158), Jack Cust (.171), Brendan Ryan (.185) and Ryan Langerhans (.200) — all hitting  .200 or below, the Mariners are batting .201 as a team — 19 points under the American League average of .239.

The Mariners rank 10th in batting average, ninth in on-base percentage, 13th in slugging and 10th in OPS. And their leading home run smasher, Langerhans (3), bats in the lower part of the order (hit ninth on Tuesday).

We looked at all the 90-loss teams in franchise history and found that only the 1986 Mariners had had a lower April batting average than the current Mariners (.221). only two (1986, 1983) had a lower on-base percentage, only one (1978) had a lower slugging percentage and just two (1986, 1978) had a lower on-base+slugging number:

Year Manager Games BA On-Base% SLG% OPS Finish
1986 Dick Williams 21 .201 .285 .337 .622 67-95
1978 Darrell Johnson 26 .230 .306 .318 .624 56-104
2011 Eric Wedge 10 .221 .302 .326 .628 4-7
2010 Don Wakamatsu 23 .240 .312 .342 .653 61-101
1983 Lachemann/Crandall 24 .238 .293 .370 .663 60-102
1977 Darrell Johnson 24 .251 .318 .361 .680 64-98
2005 Mike Hargrove 24 .254 .323 .367 .690 69-93
1980 Darrell Johnson 21 .251 .321 .373 .694 59-103
2004 Bob Melvin 23 .256 .326 .376 .702 63-99
1992 Bill Plummer 21 .260 .316 .388 .704 64-98
2008 John McLaren 28 .258 .321 .396 .717 61-101
1988 Jim Snyder 24 .257 .319 .431 .750 68-93
1978 Darrell Johnson 26 .274 .346 .409 .755 67-95

The Mariners are pretty bad at hitting with runners in scoring position. Even if their 8-7 comeback victory over Toronto on Monday, they went 3-for-15. After last night, when they went 1-for-5, the Mariners are batting .199 with runners in scoring position, in large part because the 2-3-4 hitters (Chone Figgins, 0-for-10; Milton Bradley, 1-for-10 and Jack Cust, 2-for-12, are a combined 3-for-32. If carried over a full season, the overall team average would rank as the worst mark in franchise history. Worst RISP numbers in franchise history:

Year Manager RISP Finish
2011 Eric Wedge .199 TBD
2010 Don Wakamatsu .226 61-101
1983 Darrell Johnson .229 60-102
2009 Don Wakamatsu .235 60-102
1978 Darrell Johnson .237 56-104
1993 Lou Piniella .246 82-80
1977 Darrell Johnson .248 64-98
1980 Darrell Johnson .250 59-103
1982 Rene Lachemann .255 76-86
1984 Del Crandall .257 74-88
2008 John McLaren .257 61-101
2005 Mike Hargrove .260 69-93
2004 Bob Melvin .263 63-99

YourThoughts

  • Tony S

    Who the heck was Jim Snyder? I don’t even remember him.

    • Steve Rudman

      He was the Mariners manager in 1988. He succeeded Dick Williams after Williams was hired near the end of the 1988 season. Synder was succeeded by Jim Lefebvre. He managed 90 games and the Mariners refer to him as an interim manager.

  • Tian Biao

    i get 38 points from: the Mariners are batting .201 as a team — 19 points under the American League average of .239.

    but that’s quibbling. the results on the field speak for themselves and the rest of the numbers are eloquent as well . . .