Frustrated Wedge vows change coming in second half

There aren’t many easy answers right now for the Mariners offense, which turned in another frustrating effort in a 4-1, 11-inning loss to the A’s tonight that had manager Eric Wedge at the end of his rope by game’s end.

Wedge has tried to be patient with his young club, but the continuing struggles of a team that has fallen to 35-50 are starting to show. Wedge is talking about change coming at the All-Star break, sounding as if it might be time to send some of the struggling youngsters down to the Minors to find themselves.

I’d presume he’s talking about Justin Smoak, now down to .202 after an 0-for-4 night with three strikeouts, and possibly Dustin Ackley, who is a better hitter than the .235 he’s at after his own 0-for-4.

Even Ichiro is down to .259 after he went 0-for-5, extending his hitless streak to 20 at-bats. The Mariners just don’t have anybody to carry them, whether veteran or youngster. But they don’t have a ton of guys sitting in Tacoma who figure to change much either, so therein lies the dilemma.

They might be able to send Smoak, Ackley or Jesus Montero down to get themselves squared away in a less-pressured situation, but they’re not going to bring up saviors who’re waiting in the wings. Veteran Luis Rodriguez can play second base and he’s been hitting well in Tacoma, but he’s a veteran utility guy who hit .197 in Seattle last year.

Luis Jimenez is a big DH-type guy putting up good numbers in Triple-A, but he could only play DH in Seattle and isn’t regarded as a top prospect. Carlos Peguero already got the call and went 1-for-4 with a triple tonight, so maybe he gets more time.

Ultimately, Mike Carp could come play first base and let Smoak work on things in Tacoma, but Carp is just starting a rehab stint in Triple-A and will need some more time, one would assume.

Anyway, those things can be debated. What isn’t up for debate was Wedge’s post-game discussion. He made his frustration pretty clear, so I’ll just let his words speak for themselves:

“It’s just been Groundhog Day too many times for me. We’re in the process of evaluating everybody and everything. We’re a couple days away from the All-Star break. We’re not just going to keep watching what we’re watching. We’re not going to watch people keep doing the same  thing over and over again and live with it. These guys need to do it.

“To a man, they know what they need to do to be successful. I’m talking about the offense. And I’m tired of seeing the same thing night in and night out. Whether it be mental or fundamental, sometimes some of these guys it’s emotional, it’s their heart beat. This is the big leagues. We can’t just keep going out here and putting that kind of pressure on the ballclub to be perfect because we’re not scoring runs. Tonight was a great example of that, a 1-0 ballgame where you have opportunities.

“To me, every time you go up to home plate it’s an opportunity, not just when there are runners in scoring position or two outs with runners in scoring position or whatever it may be. We’re going to do what we need to do to get better in the second half offensively. I know how Jack [Zduriencik] feels about it, I know how I feel about it, I know how the staff feels about it. We’re not going to keep watching this over and over again. We’ve been patient, we’ve addressed things in different ways, but ultimately they’re grown men and they’re either going to get it done or they won’t be here.”

“I know where these guys are in their development. But ultimately it’s always about production up here. You have to be patient with young players because it doesn’t happen right away, but ultimately we need to make sure if certain guys aren’t getting it, maybe we need to make some changes. We’ve been contemplating this for a while.

“You’d like to see them get it done and make the adjustments up here because you send them out and bring them back, they’re still going to have to go through certain things when they get back up here. But if they push our hand, it is what it is. And that’s pretty much where we are right now.”

“We’re doing everything that we feel we need to be doing, but ultimately we’re two games away from the break and that’s a big part of the season in regard to evaluating your players and team. It’s no secret what our biggest issue is. What’s most frustrating is these guys had it there for a little while and showed what they’re capable of doing and more importantly, proved to themselves what they have to do to be successful. Unless they’re not paying attention or are just dumb, they should be able to find a way to get back to it and be more consistent.

“You have to be much better than this offensively. We’ve been in a rut here offensively for 3-4 years or whatever its been, but what we showed signs of earlier this year on the road, that’s what we’re looking for. And not even that much, because that was pretty extreme there for a while. But ultimately they proved to themselves what they’re capable of doing against big league pitching and that’s what we’ve got to get back to.”

4 Comments

The only way the offense is going to get productive is paying attention to what the opposite side of the bat are doing when THEY are the defense. If they can see how the other side are doing, they should do the same thing when they are at the plate. Know your pitches, know your situation, and know how to advance the runners. The more the Mariners do that, the better chances they can avoid scoring the 1-run games that they have been putting on for ‘3-4 years’ as Eric Wedge has mentioned. its getting old. As for the changes, I wouldn’t wait for the All-Star, Skip, make the changes now. Hell, send Ichiro to Tacoma for all I care. We have to bring the youth up to start fresh right now!

One thing I’d love to see addressed in an article or a blog or…., is the mental side of this issue of the lack of offense. It just seems that the Mariners are laboring under a long term (4 or 5 years) struggle that seems to be more about attitude than talent. Just a thought. Has anyone ever taken a close look at this deficiency in this organization?? I’m curious.

35 and 50–totally unacceptable. something must change

I was sure of this situation when Wedge decided to send Liddi in the Major League, after the first bad period. It is not possible to renounce to player that can make a grand slam in pressure situation. So, keep us Smoak and Figgins and Ryan. At least we can reach the worst result of the league. Some people can remind us in the future for this.

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