Entering Monday, Mike Sweeney was 16-for-44 (.364), with six home runs, 13 RBI, and six runs scored over his past 12 games. I learned this while sitting through the M’s pregame show at Safeco Field on Monday evening.
Now you could look at this one of two ways.
You could say, hey, Mike Sweeney’s been pretty damn productive in his last 12 games. And you’d be right. Because clearly, Sweeney has been a one-man offensive juggernaut.
But you could also look at this the way I looked at it.
Re-read those stats real quick. Sweeney has six home runs and six runs scored. He also has 16 hits. Which means that on the 10 occasions when Sweeney got a hit that wasn’t a home run, he failed to score. He also reached base four other times via bases on balls, meaning there were 14 incidences where Sweeney was on base and could not score.
Did you know that “Mike Sweeney” sounds a lot like “Mike’s Weenie?” Well now you do. Enjoy that.
Anyways, in case you missed Friday night’s M’s game, the Mariners went off like Oliver Miller at Old Country Buffet. They erupted for 15 runs, and at the forefront of that eruption was Mike’s Weenie, himself.
Sweeney, Official Giver of Hugs, raised his batting average 50 points — from .226 to .276 — with a 4-for-5 performance that included two home runs, six RBI, and two runs scored. The six RBI nearly doubled his season production up to this point (he had seven RBI entering Friday).
Of course, by now, we have to wonder what the hell has gotten into this guy.
Step One: Put Ryan Rowland-Smith on a raft and send him out to sea.
Rowland-Smith originally hails from Australia. If Mother Nature is just, the Mariners’ 27-year-old lefthander will at some point arrive back in his homeland. But if not, who cares.
RRS is an absolute abomination right now. His initials stand for “Really, Really Sucky.” He can’t pitch to save his life.
Monday night Rowland-Smith got shelled by the Oakland A’s (2.2 IP, 7 ER, 10 H), which is akin to having one’s butt kicked by a fourth grade cub scout. The Aussie had been teetering on the edge of crappiness all year long, however, and his latest implosion was probably enough to force the organization’s hand.
Rowland-Smith certainly doesn’t deserve to start games any longer. Were he left with any minor league options, he’d almost certainly be on his way to Tacoma this morning. But because he can’t simply be optioned down to the farm, the Mariners would have to designate the southpaw for assignment if they wanted him off the 25-man roster. In designating Rowland-Smith, the M’s would risk losing him to another ballclub. Which honestly doesn’t scare me at all right now (but understandably scares an organization who has invested two commercials in the guy in the past two years).
In all likelihood, Rowland-Smith will be sent to the bullpen to work through his struggles while attempting to help the big club. That probably means a guy like Ian Snell finds his way to the rotation, or a middle reliever gets sent down while a guy like Luke French or Steven Shell gets called up.
He has also made it very clear that what’s said in the clubhouse, stays in the clubhouse.
Of course, Sweeney was also the one who publicly aired that last bit about the stuff said in the clubhouse staying in the clubhouse, even though he was the one who said it in the clubhouse, then took it out of the clubhouse, essentially breaking his own rule in the process.
Perhaps Sweeney is losing it. Or maybe he’s just caught up in the firestorm that is quickly becoming the Seattle Mariners’ 2010 season. Who knows for sure. All we really know is that this — this talk about taking bullets, getting in fights, and refusing to talk to the press — is getting out of hand.
As the saying goes, it’s only a problem if you have a solution. And frankly, when it comes to the Mariners’ designated hitter tandem of Mike Sweeney and Ken Griffey Jr., solutions are nowhere to be found.
Much has been made in recent days of the hitting woes shared by two veterans with 76 years of life between them (Sweeney is 36; Griffey, 40). Their combined batting average is .211 (16-for-76). They have managed just one extra-base hit (a double, by Griffey). They have produced a grand total of six RBI. They have eight bases on balls to their credit, but mitigate the on-base percentage with their 14 strikeouts. To say that the Mariners’ DH position is a veritable black hole would be entirely accurate.
But let’s be real for a minute. What other options does the team have?
In a move that would have seemed unthinkable a few weeks ago, the Mariners waived first baseman Ryan Garko and added designated hitter extraordinaire Mike Sweeney to the 40-man roster on Tuesday afternoon.
Sweeney is expected to break camp on the team’s 25-man Opening Day roster and, for the second consecutive year, will fill a role for the major league club. In addition to a decent 2009 season (.289 AVG/8 HR/34 RBI), a proven track record (he’s a five time all-star), and the intangibles of a clubhouse leader, Sweeney has had a remarkable spring for a player who was signed as a favor just days before Spring Training began.
To put his spring into perspective, Sweeney leads the ballclub in five major offensive categories: batting average (.517), on-base percentage (.533), slugging percentage (.931), on-base plus slugging percentage (1.464), and total bases (27). He is among the top three hitters in four other categories: doubles (4), triples (1), home runs (2), and RBI (7).