The Seattle Mariners started off the 2014 season hot, the team won seven of the team’s first 12 games and many people were on the band wagon ready for a playoff run. But that hot start masked the fact that the M’s were without two of their five projected starting pitchers at the beginning of the season, and then the squad promptly lost No. 4 starter — James Paxton — during the home opener. With the rotation’s injury troubles, it came down to the team’s offense to provide enough juice for the squad to continue its recent winning ways…but unfortunately the offense began to struggle at around the same time Paxton was injured.
As a result, the reaction on the internetz has been; “BECAUSE MARINERS”
When in reality the reaction should be; “BASEBALL IS WEIRD”
Baseball is weird is the appropriate reaction because of the fact that the decline in production from the team’s offense is the result of some really bad luck. In fact, the biggest areas where the team has struggled is getting on base and “..hitting it, where they ain’t“; and the offense’s ability to score runs has all but vanished as a result. And the reason for these struggles is that several of the team’s key bats are struggling to produce during this six game stretch.
The Mariners’ team BABIP is sitting at a .253, good for 23rd best in the MLB, during the last seven days. This means that a lot of the balls the team puts in play are getting turned into outs, and that’s preventing the M’s from getting on base. The Mariners are also struggling at the plate because the batters are only walking during 3.9% of their plate appearances. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that the team’s on base percentage is sitting at terrifyingly low .256 during the losing streak.
So which of the 25 players on the Major League roster is the biggest culprit ? You might thing that it is starting SS Brad Miller (who’s looked so lost offensively), or even C Mike Zunino — who’s developed a reputation as a bit of a hacker at the MLB level — but you’d be wrong.
The biggest culprit has been $240 million man Robinson Cano. Cano has posted a negative WAR (-0.2) during the losing streak thanks to the fact that he hasn’t drawn a walk in a week, and that he has struck out during 6.7% of his plate appearances during the losing streak. The big off-season signing has also been struggling to get on base as his on base percentage is sitting at .200, and his batting average is just above the “Mendoza Line” at .207.
But you don’t hear people freaking out about Cano during this streak, why? Because he’ll be fine…and so will the rest of the team. Baseball’s 162 game schedule is a long haul that leads to erratic periods of play, and no player/team is immune. And as long as the players, and the coaching staff, keep that in mind…then everything will be okay in the end.
As I said earlier, baseball is weird.
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Proud alum of Washington State University, crazy sports nut, and drinker of beer.