Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 5/18/13
The good, the bad, the ugly The Seattle Mariners seem to have woken up from their first month slumber. They currently sit in 2nd place in the AL West and are 1 game below .500 on the season after winning 5 of their last 6 series and splitting the 7th series with Pittsburgh. This is about the point we’re used to seeing the Mariners fall behind, only to never catch back up with the pack. April was a bad month for the Mariners as many fans had already lost hope for the season. With the team surging, it seems that fans are finally getting receptive and paying attention again. This is only possible due to the few who have really stepped up to the occasion. The best part is that this production is coming from players we expected least. Guys like Kyle Seager, Michael Saunders, Raul Ibanez and Hisashi Iwakuma.  Then you have the guys whose numbers look mediocre, when in reality, those numbers came in the clutch and helped the team win games. Guys like Jason Bay, Kelly Shoppach and Endy Chavez. With all that being said, I want to highlight a couple good guys and a couple not so good guys. Just to make it fair. Cy Young Candidates Hisashi Iwakuma is dealing this year, putting up identical numbers to Felix. (Photo: REUTERS Anthony Bolante) Yes, I’m already talking Cy Young. I realize it’s only 1/4 through the season, but the odds right now are double that a Seattle Mariners wins this year’s top pitching award. This is not only because Felix Hernandez is always in the mix, but Hisashi Iwakuma has entered the picture as well. We all know what Felix is capable of. He’s won a Cy Young and pitches each season like he deserves it. Iwakuma, though, may be a bit of a surprise to most. Anybody who stuck around to watch the rest of last season and have stayed until now have seen how consistently good Kuma has been. Now that he has a full season to go to work, he is already surprising people. Felix is sporting a 5-2 record with a 1.53 ERA (#1 in AL), 64.2 innings pitched (#1 in AL), 64 strike outs (#4 in AL), .215 opponent batting average (#9 in AL), and 0.93 WHIP (#3 in AL). Iwakuma is sporting a 5-1 record with a 1.84 ERA (#3 in AL), 58.2 innings pitched (#6 in AL), 55 strike outs (#9 in AL), .183 opponent batting average (#3 in AL), and 0.78 WHIP (#1 in AL). With both Felix and Kuma at the top of the pitching numbers, things are looking good if the Mariners can continue to get these guys a little bit of run support. Not only is there a chance Felix could bring home #2, but Iwakuma can just as easily get his name carved into the trophy as well. Now if only Boston’s Clay Buchholz would cool off… The 6 spot One of the most glaring spots on the team is the play at SS. With Brendan Ryan hitting a Chone Figgins-like .149 and Robert Andino not far behind at .167, it leaves much to be desired as a professional baseball player. Then you can make the defensive argument saying the Mariners are a good fielding team. Ryan is leading the team with 3 errors this season while Andino is second with 2. This is inexcusable. Let’s take a look at some options, shall we? Nick Franklin, Carlos Triunfel and Stefen Romero are all waiting in the wings in Tacoma right now. While Franklin has been there longest, any of the 3 could easily make the jump and improve the position as it stands. Franklin is hitting .330 with 37 hits, 26 runs, 4 home runs, 16 RBI and 5 stolen bases. The drawback? He has 5 errors. Triunfel is hitting .308 with 45 hits, 23 runs, 3 home runs, 17 RBI and 4 stolen bases. The drawback? He has 8 errors. Romero is hitting .271 with 23 hits, 12 runs, 3 home runs, 14 RBI and 1 stolen base. The drawback? He’s only got 21 games experience in Tacoma while Franklin and Triunfel have had 31 and 37 games this season, respectively. Now I don’t know about you, but I would take .330, .308 and .271 with a chance of errors over .149 and .167. And yes, I made a Chone Figgins reference. I apologize.  CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE MARINERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
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