TOP OF THE TOWN – So the feared regression of the Seattle Mariners may (or may not) have started. Losers of eight of their last nine games with a sudden lack of hitting have caused anxiety among Mariner fans. My response is the Mariners went on a nine-game road trip to Tampa Bay, Miami and Houston and came home to lose to Tampa Bay again in the first of four games at T-Mobil Park against the Rays and none of these teams are deadbeats. I was stunned by the quality of pitchers they faced. I don’t know if this is a league-wide trend, but each of these teams had multi pitchers throwing 100 mph with breaking pitches that turned Mariner hitters into twisted pretzels. So I’m not going to bail on the Mariners just yet. Sure, it doesn’t look good, but give it time. Okay, time’s up. Ty France and J. P. Crawford are the only two who are hitting. Do  you realize France hit .337 over  three seasons at San Diego State and in 2019 batted .399 with 27 home runs and 89 RBI at AAA El Pasco of the Pacific Coast League? The guy can hit and I would add he’s been a pleasant surprise at first base. Here are my observations on some of the players. Abraham Toro is a bundle of nerves who always seems to be scared he’s about to be caught stealing a pound of bacon from a grocery store. I think he’s aiming to hit a home run every time he steps to the plate. His power is about 20 feet short of the fence and it shows as he hits hard drive and fly balls that are usually caught. If he could just pick his spots and quit trying to be Babe Ruth he could hit a bunch. Left-hand hitting Jesse Winker has the quickest bat on the team. But he’s a dead pull hitter who can’t quite seem to get it that the entire defensive infield is stationed on the first base side just daring him to hit it the other way. I’m daring him too. But he won’t. He keeps hitting hard-hit balls to the second baseman in short right field. And he loves the inside pitch. He’s a sucker for it. Knock it off. Go the other way. Then there is Julio Rodriguez, who was hyped to make the Baseball Hall of Fame in this his rookie season. Yeah, he’s had some bad luck with umpires calling balls strikes on him, but, please, shorten up your swing. He’s got this long swing, the longest on the team, and swings the bat like he’s trying to kill a rattlesnake. I believe he needs to be playing in Tacoma. He’s adequate as a centerfielder, which is really not his best position, but he’s lost at the plate. And the only reason he’s still with the Mariners is because of all the hype of how he would be a super star. He might be someday. Just not today. Let him get some experience in Tacoma. His presence on the club brings up a good point. What will Jerry Dipoto do when Kyle Lewis and Mitch Haniger are ready to rejoin the Mariners? Lewis is a genuine centerfielder with power and Haniger plays right field. Maybe right fielder Jarred Kelenic, who also seems lost at the plate, should go to Tacoma to make room for Haniger, and Lewis should take Rodriguez’s spot in center field. And now that Matt Brash has been sent to Tacoma I would expect George Kirby, who is killing it in AA Arkansas, to be with the Mariners on Monday and be on the mound when they host Philadelphia.  He’s whiffed 32 in 24.2 innings and has an ERA of 1.82, so it should be interesting. What is shocking is the Mariners sent Brash to Tacoma to pitch out of the bullpen. What is going on with that? Are they trying to turn him into a closer? He does have an upper 90-mph fastball. So there is that. Bottom line is it’s still too early to panic over the Mariners. The trend is going in the wrong direction and the Mariner schedule is brutal. After three games of hosting Philadelphia, they go on a 10-game road trip that takes them to New York to play three against the amazing Mets, who are hotter  than a streak on a grill, and then to Toronto for three and last to Boston for four games at Fenway. If the club doesn’t break out of its hitting funk, they might go into a deep tailspin that could be hard to recover from. Hold your breath and hold on to your cap. That’s it for today. Stay safe.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved.