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MLB Team Report - Seattle Mariners - INSIDE PITCH
The weekend trip to St. Louis may not have necessarily produced the desired results, especially after a 12-2 loss Sunday, but the young Mariners may have gained something invaluable from the experience.
Simply playing in the high-energy atmosphere of a pennant race is something most of these Mariners have not yet done, for all the obvious reasons.
Rookies like catcher Mike Zunino, second baseman Nick Franklin, shortstop Brad Miller and left-hander James Paxton had everything to gain and little to lose from playing in front of 40,000-plus rabid fans a day during the three-game series, and they'll probably look back on the experience as a positive one whenever it's time for them to actually be involved in a full-bore pennant chase.
Not even some of the so-called veterans -- guys like outfielder Franklin Gutierrez, first baseman Justin Smoak and third baseman Kyle Seager -- have played in many meaningful games this time of year.
As a whole, this year's Mariners have gotten used to playing in front of small, distracted fan bases at Safeco Field -- not that it's helped a team that has gotten swept in three of its past four series at home. Most of Seattle's recent games have had little to nothing on the line, so seeing a Cardinals team that's caught up in the heat of a pennant chase could be a growing experience.
No one seemed to thrive in the conditions more than Paxton, who threw six shutout innings in a 4-1 win Saturday and said afterward that he didn't even notice the size or volume of the Busch Stadium crowd. That's a testament not only to how quickly Paxton took the fans out of the game but also how he's able to handle a hostile environment -- a valuable skill for the 22-year-old southpaw should he be a part of a pennant chase in the future.
The Mariners would much rather be the team filling the stadium and rewarding the home fans with a memorable postseason run, but with that out of the question again this season, this year's team can at least gain some valuable experience from playing in places like St. Louis and Detroit, where Seattle will be beginning Monday.
MLB Team Report - Seattle Mariners - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Lost one
PAST 10 GAMES: 3-7
NEXT: Mariners (Joe Saunders, 11-14, 5.18) at Tigers (Rick Porcello, 12-8, 4.56)
--RHP Erasmo Ramirez fell victim to a big fourth inning, giving up four runs to turn a 1-1 tie into a blowout loss for Seattle on Sunday. Unable to get St. Louis hitters to expand their zone, Ramirez allowed eight hits and five runs over four innings. He also hit a pair of batters in the fourth, extending the inning. Ramirez's ERA swelled to 4.98.
--LHP Joe Saunders has had trouble with Detroit, against whom he pitches Monday night at Comerica Park. Saunders is 1-2 with a 5.26 earned run average in nine starts and 49 2/3 innings in his career against the Tigers. But Saunders hasn't been too bad in Detroit, pitching to a 3.04 ERA in four starts, although he wound up with a no-decision in all four. He was tagged for six runs in three innings against Houston on Tuesday night.
--SS Brad Miller (hamstring) wasn't in the lineup Sunday after leaving Saturday night's game in the fifth inning. Miller is tied for first among American League rookies in hits (58) since the All-Star break, and is second in runs (27). He also leads the team and all AL rookies with six triples. It's not known when he'll return to the lineup.
--CF Abraham Almonte extended his hitting streak to five games with a leadoff double in the fourth, and also added a sacrifice fly in the fifth for the Mariners' last run Sunday. Almonte, who's 7-for-18 during the streak, is hitting .295 in 44 at-bats. He has the speed and raw athleticism to figure into the team's plans for 2014 and beyond.
--RF Franklin Gutierrez recorded an RBI single in the fourth, marking the third time this year that he's notched RBIs in consecutive games. Gutierrez upped his average to .259 with a two-hit game.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "You look at those top five guys in their order and they all are something. They put it together today." -- Manager Eric Wedge after a 12-2 loss to St. Louis on Sunday.
MLB Team Report - Seattle Mariners - ROSTER REPORT
--SS Brad Miller (hamstring) wasn't in the lineup Sept. 15 after leaving Sept. 14 in the fifth inning. He is day-to-day.
--RHP Felix Hernandez (minor oblique strain) hasn't pitched since Sept. 2, and he missed his Sept. 11 start. After a throwing session Sept. 14, all indications are that he'll be available for a scheduled Sept. 18 start. Hernandez is scheduled to take a bullpen session Sept. 16, after which time his official status will be determined.
--RHP Stephen Pryor (torn right lat muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list April 15, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 17. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma on July 19, but he was shut down for the remainder of the season in August.
RHP Felix Hernandez
RHP Hisashi Iwakuma
LHP Joe Saunders
RHP Taijuan Walker
RHP Erasmo Ramirez
LHP James Paxton
RHP Danny Farquhar (closer)
RHP Tom Wilhelmsen
RHP Yoervis Medina
LHP Charlie Furbush
LHP Oliver Perez
LHP Lucas Luetge
RHP Brandon Maurer
RHP Chance Ruffin
RHP Hector Noesi
LHP Bobby LaFromboise
1B Justin Smoak
2B Nick Franklin
SS Brad Miller
3B Kyle Seager
DH Kendrys Morales
INF Carlos Triunfel
LF Franklin Gutierrez
CF Michael Saunders
RF Abraham Almonte
OF Raul Ibanez
OF Endy Chavez
OF/INF Dustin Ackley