Friday June 12th, 2009

1) The Seattle Mariners broke loose with six runs on 12 hits on Thursday against the Orioles, which only means the odds of them putting up such an output on Friday night are not very good. (Editor's note: The Mariners lost to the Rockies 6-4 on Friday.) Only once this year have the Mariners scored six runs in back-to-back games. Indeed, the Mariners are a fascinatingly bad offensive team, especially for a team that is playing .500 ball. It's hard to construct a team in this era, in a league with the DH, that has this much trouble scoring runs. They are last in the majors in runs; yes, worse than the Giants and Padres. How bad is it?

Ichiro Suzuki could win the batting title and see his streak of eight consecutive seasons with at least 100 runs come to an end. He is on pace to get on base 254 times and score only 68 runs.

• The Mariners are on pace to score 610 runs, the second worst in franchise history over a full season (only the 102-loss 1983 Mariners scored less) and the third worst in the league in the wild-card era (only the 2002 and 2003 Tigers were more inept).

• Half of Seattle's 30 wins have come by the slightest possible margin. The Mariners are on pace to play 73 one-run games, challenging the AL record of 74 set by the White Sox in 1968, the Year of the Pitcher.

Seattle has pitched very well this season, which has kept it respectable in the AL West. But other than Suzuki and first base reclamation project Russell Branyan, the Mariners are below average at every position in the lineup, including third base, where Adrian Beltre looks like Andruw Jones lite.

Dustin Ackley, please pick up a white courtesy phone.

2) Think the New York Yankees are disregarding "sample size" when it comes to how balls are flying out to the shorter porch of the new Yankee Stadium? When the draft began on Tuesday, the Yankees had hit 57 homers in 29 games at their little blue Tiffany box of a ballpark. Forty-three of those 57 homers were hit to right field or right center. So with their first nine picks of the draft the Yankees picked six players who either hit or pitch left-handed.

Memo to Red Sox, Rays, Blue Jays and Orioles: Better start developing left-handed pitching if you want to compete with the Yankees in that ballpark.

3) Shhh. Keep it quiet, Arizona has played awful baseball, but Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton, 21, is developing into the huge star that scouts have expected. Since Upton moved into the third hole in the batting order on May 6 he is hitting .344 with eight homers and 25 RBIs in 32 games. He is slugging .595 for the season, which carries heavy historical significance for someone so young. There is no such thing as a fluke season if a 21-year-old slugs .600, as the list of the only six players ever to have done so illustrates: Jimmie Foxx, Mel Ott, Ted Williams, Eddie Mathews, Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols.

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