Wedge: Team needs to 'get tougher' in at-bats
Mariners in midst of woeful stretch that has team average at .222
SEATTLE -- Before Sunday's afternoon finale against the Rangers, several Mariners inside the home clubhouse cheered on their country -- in Ichiro's case, Japan -- during the first half of the Women's World Cup Final between the United States and Japan. Neither country scored a goal in the first 45 minutes.
The lack of offense on the soccer pitch is eerily similar to Seattle's offensive production at the plate, where putting up zeroes is far less common.
But that's exactly what Seattle has been doing. The Mariners, who are in the midst of a season-high nine-game skid, scored just two runs in four losses to the Rangers and entered Sunday batting .222 as a team. Their offense ranks last in the Major Leagues and they have not scored more than two runs in an inning since a three-run third on July 1 against San Diego.
Seattle manager Eric Wedge insists that his club is not a bad baseball team, but rather a squad lacking an important attribute: offense.
"One thing I have to realize is that we're not playing bad baseball -- we're just not hitting at all," Wedge said. "It's one definite area right now that we have to attack, and that's what we're doing."
Eight players entered Sunday hitting below the .222 mark and Dustin Ackley has the team's highest average at .288, though he's played just 23 games. Wedge says his players need to "get tougher, especially position players, in regard to their at-bats."
Adam Kennedy, who is hitting .259 and is 3-for-12 in his past three games, said that it's a matter of recognizing what each player is good at doing and applying that at the plate.
"Hitting is very individualized, so everybody has their strengths and weaknesses," the 35-year-old said. "It's our job to find that out and use those strengths."
And while Wedge says he can understand why several of the young Mariners -- Seattle has eight players on the current roster that are 25 years old or younger -- may be facing some growing pains at the plate, there are fewer excuses for veterans.
"If you look at our troubles offensively, it has to start with our veterans," Wedge said. "It's the way it is."
Seattle to call up Carp, send down Peguero
SEATTLE -- Outfielder Mike Carp will be given another chance to make his mark in Seattle. The Mariners announced after Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Rangers that Carp will be called up and left fielder Carlos Peguero will be optioned down to Triple-A Tacoma.
The 25-year-old Carp struggled with Seattle after he was called up June 7, hitting just .200 (7-for-35) with six walks and 14 strikeouts. But before that with Tacoma, Carp was on fire, hitting .348 with 19 home runs and 58 RBIs with the Rainiers.
Carp played in eight games with Tacoma since being sent down July 3, going 7-for-25 with two home runs and six walks. With Peguero back in Tacoma and Interleague Play over with -- not having the designated hitter also limited Carp in Seattle -- he should be seeing playing time on a regular basis.
"We need to get Mike up here and give him an opportunity to have more consistent playing time," said Seattle manager Eric Wedge.
Peguero made his Major League debut on April 19 and played in 46 games, mostly starting in left field. He hit just .196 (28-for-143) and finished with six home runs. With 143 at-bats, Wedge was able to see both what he liked -- his improvement as an outfielder -- and areas that needed work. More consistent playing time in Tacoma should help Peguero improve on his weaknesses.
"I've been really pleased with his batting practice and the repetition, but the next step for him -- which is the biggest step -- is to take that same heartbeat, that same approach, into the game," Wedge said. "That's an impact bat and he can obviously do some damage -- he helped us win some ballgames up here. He just needs to play every day."
At times, Peguero was out of control at the plate and swung wildly at bad pitches. Wedge and his staff like Peguero's energy, but they want to see it turn into results on the field.
"I think he does a get a little bit too hyped up at certain times," Wedge said. "With him, to be able to contain that and point that energy in the right direction, that's what we're looking for him to do. We don't want to take away his aggressiveness or any of that, but we want him to be little more disciplined up there and see the ball and trust himself, trust his approach."
Losing streak a test of Mariners' character
SEATTLE -- These are the kinds of streaks not worth remembering.
Seattle's struggles reached a new low after Sunday's 3-1 loss to Texas, as the Mariners lost their season-high ninth consecutive game.
Manager Eric Wedge managed a Cleveland ballclub that went on an 11-game losing streak in 2009 and said his past experience helps in dealing with Seattle's current skid.
"I know it's going to get better," Wedge said. "I think anytime you've been through it before, it helps you the next time."
When the Mariners snapped a club record 30-inning scoreless stretch on Saturday, Wedge talked about how losing streaks are a time when you find out what the players are really all about.
"This is where you find out what kind of person you are and how you are going to make adjustments," said infielder Adam Kennedy. "We're just going through that with everybody right now."
Seattle has found it difficult to hit home runs of late. The Mariners have not gone yard in nine games, which is the second-longest homerless streak in team history. The record is 15 games, set in 1983.
If Texas has the lead late against Seattle, you've got to like its chances. That's thanks to Rangers closer Neftali Feliz, who has yet to give up a hit against the Mariners -- the club is 0-for-33 lifetime with 13 strikeouts.
The Mariners embarked on a three-city, nine-game road trip after Sunday's finale with the Rangers. They are 18-25 away from Safeco Field this season.
Taylor Soper is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.