The Seattle Mariners ka-thumped into May by losing in 12-innings on the final day of April, although after 24 games in 2012 the team is 11-13 - one game ahead of 2011.
No, that’s not likely to thrill the fan base.
Today the Mariners open the new month with a new lineup:
Dustin Ackley DH
Alex Liddi 3B
Justin Smoak 1B
Jesus Montero C
Kyle Seager 2B
Casper Wells LF
Michael Saunders CF
Brendan Ryan SS
Hecto Noesi P
One thing is certain: Miguel Olivo won’t be playing any time soon. His groin injury is going to take weeks to heal, meaning rookie Jesus Montero and left-handed hitting Jason Jaso will share time behind the plate.
Before rolling into May, let’s look a bit more closely at April:
Seattle’s .238 batting average was a surprising second in the American Leaague West, ahead of Los Angeles (.238) and Oakland (.209). The team earned run average (4.10) was ninth in the AL.
Jason Vargas led the team in wins (3), Felix Hernandez in innings (44 1/3) and ERA (2.23) and Lucas Luetge (1-0, 0.00) had a perfect month of left-handed relief. Ichiro Suzuki’s .294 average was the best amongst Mariners hitters, and Montero led in ome runs (4) and RBI (13).
Among the disappointments: Chone Figgins batted .209, Brendan Ryan (.136), Justin Smoak (.200), Dustin Ackley .247. Pleasant surprises: Alex Liddi (.289), Michael Saunders (.254, 3, 11) .
Among the May question marks are Figgins and Ryan, starting pitchers Kevin Millwood (0-2, 5.64) and tonight’s starter, Hector Noesi (1-2, 8.83).
There’s also the question of what to do with Hisashi Iwakuma - who made two April relief appearances and had a 9.00 ERA.
No, 11 April wins didn’t win over anyone on the fence. There were bright spots – Montero,Saunders, Felix, Vargas, Blake Beavan among them. There were all-too-familiar failures like Figgins, Smoak and another long disabled list stint for Franklin Gutierrez.
You’ve seen April. Now, expectations for May? What do you want to see that will convince you Seattle is moving in the right direction?