Either go big or go home, right? Well, the Mariners haven’t been sent home yet. In fact, they now hit the road hoping to find something to cure an offense that we haven’t seen the likes of for quite some time.
How bad has this month been for the team?
Well, if they keep up this pace, they will finish with the fourth-worst monthly run output of all-time for a team playing at least 20 games.
Seattle has scored 26 runs in 14 games this month so far, averaging 1.86 per contest.
The Houston Colt .45’s (more like pea-shooters) own the major league record for the lowest scoring month ever with a 1.55 per game average in June 1963. Houston played 29 games in June of that season and scored 45 times. The Mariners will play 26 this month barring rainouts.
Left fielder Al Spangler was the only guy on the Houston roster in 1963 to get his on-base-plus-slugging percentage up over .700. Houston finished the season with 96 losses and scored 640 runs. The Colt .45’s went 9-20 that one June month.
Here is the list of the top-five worst-scoring months of all-time in a month of at least 20 games.
1. Houston — June 1963…29 G…45 R…1.55 per game
2. Washington Senators — July 1909…35 G…56 R…1.6 per game
3. New York Giants — July 1902…27 G…42 R…1.81 per game
(MARINERS? — July 2011…14 G…26 R…1.86 per game)
4. Montreal — April 2004…24 G…45 R…1.875 per game
5. Baltimore — June 1955…26 G…49 R…1.881
So, yeah, it’s been a pretty bad month for Seattle. And getting progressively worse. During the nine-game losing streak, the team has scored just 11 runs. Keep that up and the Colt .45’s record will be blasted full of holes.
The trend is certainly heading down for the Mariners rather than up. What can they do to fix it?
Not a whole lot.
They can pray for a few “outlier” games like that 13-run explosion they got back in April against Detroit at home — never since duplicated. Or, they can rely on something a little more hands-on than divine intervention or luck. Like a trade. But it won’t be easy. And may not be possible still.
Here’s the thing: if you go ahead and make the trades a team in Seattle’s position is supposed to make this time of year, that’s not going to help much.
When I say “supposed to make” I mean dealing guys like Adam Kennedy for future pieces. Kennedy is one of the best hitters on the team. What happens to the offense without him?
Or, does the team try to pull off a bigger deal now to get a bat rather than waiting until this winter?
That could be a risky move. We were all debating for weeks the merit of trading away some future pieces for bats to help now. Many people did not want to go that route and the Mariners certainly did not.
Should they risk making such a move to get a piece for now — and down the road — at a point when they might overpay compared to this winter? In the hopes of preventing some on-field embarrassment for the franchise on an all-time epic scale?
Or, just swallow it?
The Mariners at this season’s pace will only just top last year’s futility of 513 runs scored. But that’s based on the entire season’s pace. The reality is, the M’s have averaged just 2.31 per game over their past 36 contests. That’s nearly a full run below their season’s average and meant that — if it keeps up — the M’s will likely obliterate last year’s franchise record and score well under 500 on the year.
How does it stop? Both in red faces and ticket sales? This isn’t all about pride. It’s about money, too. We should never forget that.
Whether trades are or aren’t made, a few things need to happen.
Justin Smoak and Franklin Gutierrez have to hit the back of their baseball cards. Or, at least what everyone thinks those cards should say. Ichiro needs to go on a hot streak and hope it holds longer than a couple of weeks. The team needs to get Miguel Olivo proper rest — not push him towards a career high in games — and hope he can do better down the stretch than he has since he began wearing out in June (other than his home run totals that month, the rest of his offense went south).
Those four are the difference-makers.
So, they have to do something more. If the M’s can also add a piece that helps them now as well as down the road, they might salvage some offensive pride yet.
But it starts with the guys already here.