It’s been a rough go for the Mariners since they returned to Seattle last Friday, losing their first four games of their homestand while the offense tries to figure out how to score runs in Safeco Field.
Offense at home has long been a problem for the Mariners. Is there reason to believe it’s eventually going to turn around considering their slow start to 2016?
ESPN senior baseball writer Jayson Stark told 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” that it seems unrealistic the Mariners’ lineup will continue to struggle at the level it has been.
“They’re last in the American League in batting average on balls in play at .234. That’s 100 points lower than the Orioles right now, and that’s the kind of stat that tends to even out over time,” Stark said.
Batting average on balls in play, or BABIP, is the same stat manager Scott Servais has been pointing at in recent days. And the fact that the Mariners’ number is so low speaks to the potential that they’ve been especially unlucky so far.
That lack of luck is stretching over into other parts of the game, though, such as with runners in scoring position – the Mariners entered Tuesday just 3 for 23 in those situations since they arrived in town after winning their opening series against the Rangers.
“The facts tell us that the Mariners are putting runners on base. They just do a lousy job of getting them around to score. … That just isn’t going to fly,” Stark said of the 3-for-23 stat. “They’re going to have to execute better in situations where they have a chance to score a run. They’ve had a lot of base runners, just haven’t cashed in on anywhere near enough of them since they left Texas.”
At least a glance over the batting order leads Stark to think the Mariners will see better results sooner rather than later.
“I think if you look up and down the lineup card, there are clearly fewer holes on it than we saw a year ago,” he said. “Nori Aoki has not walked yet. That’s not going to continue. Adam Lind hasn’t gotten on base at all, and given that he’s mostly gonna face right-handed pitching, that’s not gonna to continue. Even (Ketel) Marte had a .350 on-base (percentage) last year, so I would think there’s a lot more on-base percentage out there than what has actually happened.”