Clutch hitting continues to be Mariners’ albatross
It’s not hard to figure out why the Mariners are struggling through this tough road trip right now, with a 1-6 record as they head now to Denver to open Interleague play against the Rockies.
Yesterday’s bullpen meltdown aside, the main problem for Seattle is coming up with timely hits. The team is batting ..230, which ranks 13th out of the AL’s 14 teams. But the real issue is an abysmal .083 average (8-for-96) with runners in scoring position over their past 13 road games.
Not surprisingly, they’ve gone 1-12 in those games.
It’s a team-wide problem, with youth partially to blame. But even Ichiro Suzuki, a career .329 hitter with runners in scoring position, is hitting just .189 in that situation this season and has just 14 RBIs in 39 games while batting in the No. 3 position.
“He has to do a better job with runners in scoring position,” manager Eric Wedge said after Thursday’s loss when Ichiro went 0-for-6 and stranded five runners. “He’s hitting in the middle of the order because he’s a hitter. He’s the one true veteran we have in there and he has to do a better job with runners in scoring position.”
But Wedge knows this isn’t just an Ichiro problem and only mentioned him when asked specificially. In regard to the overall problem, this was his initial response:
“We’ve got to do better in the middle of our lineup. Saunders had a big hit for us and we’ve got four or five guys heading in the right direction, but we need to get four or five more headed that direction. You’ve got to learn how to hit first, before you can hit with runners in scoring position.
“Ultimately you want it to go hand-in-hand, but with the youth of this team, they’re going to have to understand the first thing you need to do is put up quality at-bats, then you need to control your heartbeat with runners in scoring positon. You have to understand situations, not try to do too much, but be aggressive. It’s a fine line and these guys are going to have to contnue to learn how to walk that line.”
They’ll take another shot at it tonight in Coors Fied.