Four runs: That's how many the Mariners managed to push across the plate in a three-game series that saw them swept by the rival Texas Rangers. The lack of offense wasted not only a spectacular Seattle debut by Cliff Lee, but also another gem by surprise of the year thus far Doug Fister.
Not that this is the first time this year that Seattle's offense has let down a spectacular pitching performance. In fact, it seems to be an everyday occurrence at this point in the season.
Ichiro and Franklin Gutierrez are the only two in the lineup making any kind of consistent contact, hitting .320 and .317, respectively. After that, the next highest average on the team is .243, by light-hitting shortstop Jack Wilson. As a team, they have just nine home runs all together, and have gone one week since their last long ball.
Newcomers Milton Bradley and Chone Figgins have gotten off to horribly slow starts, with Bradley hitting just .224 with two home runs and Figgins at a dismal .209 clip. Mike Sweeney and Ken Griffey Jr. just look old out there. It pains me to say this about my hero, but Griffey simply does not have it anymore. His bat is slow and his knees are gone. It's sad, but it's true.
Seattle has the pitching to make a run, and a deep run at that. However, they cannot do it without run support. So the question is, how do they fix this?
I don't want to sound like I'm panicking. I know it's early, but they must act fast. If they wait till the trade deadline to do something, I fear it'll be too late.
First, release Mike Sweeney and Eric Byrnes. I know everybody loves Sweeney, and Byrnes is a hard-nosed guy, but they simply are not getting it done. Go after Jermaine Dye or Carlos Delgado to fill the DH slot. Everybody knows they can still hit, and a shift to the DH role will keep them fresh.
Second, Figgins must get on track. If he can get on and they can put some offense in the middle of the lineup, they will score runs. I have faith that he will get his knocks, but it's got to come soon.
Third, they've got to relax. When you're in a slump, you tend to try and force it, try and make something happen rather than just letting it come. It's obvious to me that a lot of the Mariners hitters are doing this right now. They have to relax, remember what got them there, and above all else, have fun. It's a game. Go play it.
The Mariners have the ability to go a long way this year. They must address the offensive problems, however, if they expect to climb to the top of the tough AL West. Pitching alone will not be enough. It's time to move, no time to waste. Free agents, trades, minor leagues—it doesn't matter: Something must be done.