Mariners Insider

Step right up, take a swing, be a hero

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on Aug. 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm with 26 Comments »
August 22, 2012 5:13 pm

It’s Eric Wedge’s philosophy that dealing with failure well makes great players and, after striking out in each of his first three at-bats Wednesday, Seattle Mariners outfielder Eric Thames was more than willing to buy in.

“Up here at this level, it’s all about making the big pitch, getting the big hit,” Thames said. “This team? We’re playing our butts off, and if pitchers keep giving us the chance to win every game, why not win them?”

The Seattle Mariners won this one, beating the Cleveland Indians, 3-1, on the strength of Thames’ two-out, eighth-inning, two-run double and the 19th save of closer Tom Wilhelmsen.

That winning streak is now eight games long, and Mariners are taking turns being part of it.

“We’re like a highlight reel every night,” shortstop Brendan Ryan said. “One night Trayvon Robinson is catching 20 balls in left field, the next night Dustin Ackley is getting outs while lying on his face. We’re getting great starting pitching, timely hitting, defense every night.

“We’re playing Mariners baseball.”

Wedge used Thames as an example.

“It’s how you deal with failure in this game that makes good players,” Wedge said. “You strike out three times, but you next opportunity might be the game.

“You going to go up there thinking about the last three at-bats or the chance to win a game? One swing and you’re a hero. Eric was ready.”

“We’re playing with heart,” Thames said. “Me, I just didn’t want to miss the fastball that last at-bat. You get the fastball you want, you can’t miss it.”

Leave a comment Comments → 26
  1. VNHLNFAN says:

    if these guys can finsh 500 or better then this a success for jack.

  2. I’m on the fence regarding Thames. As with some players who have come and gone, I like his personality but I’m not sure he can start in a strong outfield. He’s putting in a claim to play right for the M’s, however. Meanwhile Guti had three hits, two of ‘em homers, yesterday. When he comes back, it’s Saunders to left, I’d imagine. Robinson, Wells and Thames will all be vying for starts.

    Who will go when Franklin comes up? Is it finally time for Chone to ride off into the sunset with his last $10 million in his saddlebags?

  3. VNHLNFAN says:

    How many times do we wait for Guti to come back? The last one was a fluke but geez this team is starting to build chemistry. Thames is hitting and Saunders as well. Not sure about Robinson but he’s got speed in the left. As for figgi whatever show him the door or have him shag balls.

  4. Palerydr says:

    With September call ups just over a week away I doubt they make any changes until then. I doubt they release Figgins but rather spend the winter trying to package him in a trade as a 1 year deal will be more attractive to somebody who thinks they can turn him around.

  5. Palerydr says:

    For this team to finish at .500 would be awesome.

  6. I don’t think it should be a foregone conclusion that when Guti returns he will bump Saunders from CF.

  7. bbnate420 says:

    U don’t? Guti is a better CF than Saunders when healthy. Saunders should still be playing everyday. Either LF or RF. I would think you’d want him in right.

  8. Palerydr says:

    Guti is a better defensive CF than almost anyone playing the game it’s his offense I question. Right now I would think Saunders would play LF. Wells, Thames and Robinson all have holes in their game this outfield has a ways to go before it’s settled.

  9. Looked up Saunders ml career. He has played both left and center–left more often early, center more often the last couple of years. Of course that could largely be due to Ichiro’s grip on right until recently; but his experience is in center and left. I wouldn’t expect him to play right much this year; if they want him in right, they’ll probably give him time there next spring.

    Is his arm good enough for right? Wells has a stronger arm, Robinson has a weaker arm, Thames I’m not sure about.

    My guess is, Guti (if/when he makes it back) will play center some, sit some and DH some. When he plays defense he will be in center. As for Saunders, he doesn’t have to play left; he has a little bit of experience at DH as well.

    Do we know what Caspar Wells is with the bat? If we do, that dream defensive outfield of Saunders in left, Guti in center and Wells in right, with Trayvon backing up in left, isn’t likely to occur very often. Maybe Wells can have a Saunders-like improvement in the off-season. But to hope for that for both Smoak and Wells is asking way too much of good fortune.

    My conclusion: between Guti’s health problems, Wells’ hitting problems, and the overall lack of power, the M’s outfield for next year is up in the air. Maybe a trade or a free-agency pickup…

  10. Also,noting that it took me about 25 lines to say what Paleryder wrote in four: maybe I should go for Baker’s job at the Times.

  11. Palerydr says:

    Give yourself credit for fleshing out what I said Timeout. For myself I rarely read lengthy posts word for word. I try and say as much as possible with as little as possible with limited success. Good luck with the job hunt :)

  12. Palerydr says:

    Also want to note I agree with your post and the development issues of the players you mentioned.

  13. gonefishin69690 says:

    I’d love to see .500, but we won’t be playing .415 and .435 teams for the rest of the season. I guess we are at least, for now, beating the teams we should.

  14. Yesterday’s win goes to Seager. He turned what should have been a routine single to right field into a double.

  15. Beating up on the havenots is a time-honored way to get to the postseason. That’s exactly what all those champion Yankees teams under Casey Stengel did to cruise into the World Series every year. Hopefully the M’s are in the middle of a transformation from havenot to lookout (here we come!)

  16. footballscaa says:

    Interesting to see the amount of comments being made now that the M’s are hot. The hole may be too deep and the games may not be too exciting, but it is good to see them playing hard. Still.

  17. bbnate420 says:

    I’d like to see at least one different outfielder than we have now in 2013. I’d like to give Guti one more year. He seems to have gotten the GI issues under control and has gained weight and gotten his power back. The concussion was a fluke thing. There aren’t a ton of good options for the M’s in free agency. The best option would probably be to sign David Wright, if the Mets don’t pick up his 16 mil option. He will be 30 years old next year, and he is having a great season in a pitcher friendly ballpark. We then move Seager to 2nd and Ackley to the outfield. I think an outfield of Ackley, Saunders and Guti is pretty solid. That’s considering Guti stays healthy and Ackley bounces back next year, which I am counting on.

  18. Palerydr says:

    That’s an interesting idea BBNate if I remember right Ackley played CF in College as well as 1B. As it’s already been mentioned Wells offensive issues, Robinson same with a really weak throwing arm and Thames it appears to me has defensive liabilities.

  19. bbnate420 says:

    I think Ackley played the corner outfield spots in college, along with 1st. Actually it looks like he played some LF at least. He played mostly at 1st. A lot of people projected him as a CF in the pros. Not sure if he has the arm for RF, but he definitely has the speed for any outfield spot.

    I also looked at projected outfield free agents. There weren’t any good, power-hitting one that I think we can get. Unless they want to break the bank for Josh Hamilton. Maybe a trade for Justin Upton. He is having an off year. Maybe his trade value drops some.

  20. bbnate420 says:

    Even if they don’t sign someone it might be smart to move Ackley to the OF in the future. They have Liddi, Franklin, Catricalla and Miller in the minors. I would say those are the top prospects the M’s have that are anywhere close. Catricalla has played outfield, and with as many errors as Miller makes it might be smart to move him to the OF.

  21. I like the Wright idea. I found a Larry Stone article that says Ackley played center in college, which is what I thought, so I’ll go with that. However, I think he should play left for the M’s IF he’s moved to the outfield. His defensive numbers at second are much better than I thought, so I’d be surprised if they move him. But…then what do you do with Kyle Seager? To me Ackley to left and Seager to second makes sense, but there are those numbers…

    If they acquire Wright, this question acquires some urgency. Right now there is none.

  22. bbnate420 says:

    From what I could find, Ackley played CF in HS and was projected there by some in the majors. Couldn’t find it for his junior year, but he played 61 games at 1st and 8 games in LF as a sophomore. From what I read, he had to play 1st because they had no one else that could do it. There was a scout on the page saying that he thought Ackley could be a very good 2nd baseman in the majors.

  23. Here’s one of several references to Ackley as a CF/1B in college. Includes a video clip of his swing. He had that nice level stroke but a longer stride in college, apparently.

    http://www.baseball-intellect.com/scouting-dustin-ackley/

  24. bbnate420 says:

    I don’t think you read it closely. It says, “The junior from North Carolina wound up playing first base this past season because of an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. He’s almost assuredly going to move back to his natural position in centerfield once scouts are assured his throwing arm is back to full strength.” The projection is that he’s going to play CF, that doesn’t mean he did much in
    college.

    From Wikipedia, “He started all 73 games, including 65 at first base.” That was in 2007. “In 2008 Ackley started all 68 games, 60 at first base and eight in left field.”

  25. I found another AP reference to him as a centerfielder…not qualified..to me, “move back” means he’s played there before, but we know that the English language is honored in the breach these days.

    Here’s my point: going forward, as long as Guti and/or Saunders are with the M’s, doesn’t matter to me where Ackley played before; I’d prefer to see him in left if he’s moved to the outfield. And until he’s moved from second base, the point is moot.

  26. bbnate420 says:

    I agree. My point was that he didn’t play much, if any, CF in college. He did in HS. That doesn’t mean he couldn’t play CF in the majors. I would rather see him in LF and Guti or Saunders in CF if Ackley makes the move to the outfield.

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