The Seattle Mariners are staring a four game losing streak in the face, and the Fantasy Baseball impact is causing an offensive dilemma for your team. Ever since the Monday 12-5 blowout of the Tampa Bay Rays, the Mariners haven’t been able to score more than four runs in a ball game. Even more depressing, three of the four games during this losing streak have been one run losses.
We have seen our projections for a glorious fantasy baseball week, turn into horrible nightmares. The Tampa Bay Rays and Minnesota Twins were dead last place in their divisions. This was supposed to be a great week, right? Well, unfortunately this is the reason why 162 games are played every year. Even the worst teams in baseball get some wins here and there.
It’s been tough to find some Mariners players with Fantasy Baseball gems this past week. It would be much easier if all our games looked like Monday’s beating against the Rays, but that simply isn’t the case.
Hisashi Iwakuma pitched a fantastic game against the Rays on Wednesday. He ended the night pitching eight innings of shutout ball with five strikeouts, and didn’t even walk one batter. The disaster came in the ninth inning when Coach Lloyd McClendon inserted Fernando Rodney to close out the game.
Rodney has been a roller coaster all season, and he was bound for an implosion. He only pitched two thirds of the inning, giving up two runs on four hits before handing the ball to Danny Farquhar to get the final out. The Rays kept starter David Price in the game to close out the Mariners for a complete game win.
Many Fantasy owners would argue that coach McClendon should have kept Iwakuma out there for the ninth inning, but the fact is Iwakuma pulled himself from the game. Owners need to remember its only Iwakuma’s third start of the year, and we have a long way to go before the season’s end. Keeping his pitch count regulated and his arm healthy especially with no spring training under his belt, is crucial.
This week we will see Iwakuma face off against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, and then again on Saturday against the Houston Astros. If you like to spot start your pitchers in Fantasy baseball, you may want to skip the Rangers, and just have Iwakuma face off against the Astros on Saturday.
I personally would keep him in the lineup against both teams, especially with Prince Fielder out with a herniated disc. That Ranger lineup will struggle to find offense with his bat missing. Below are Hisashi Iwakuma’s fantasy projections for the week.
WEEKLY FANTASY PROJECTION: HISHASHI IWAKUMA
14 IP, 1 W, 11 K, 2.00 ERA and 1.50 WHIP
Fantasy owners are probably getting a little nervous about Robinson Cano’s offensive start to the season. Most likely he was a first round pick, and his numbers (though are good) are not the high end stats you would expect from such an early round selection. I am here to remind you that Cano is known for slow starts, and has/will end the season tops in the league at second base.
Remember, default settings for Fantasy Baseball is customary for Rotisserie scoring. This means, a full cumulative of the five offensive categories for the year is what gets you top points in your league. Cano is still on pace for a great year. Yes, his current numbers would put him barely batting over .300 BA, with probably 19 HRs, and around 75 RBI. The good news for Cano owners is that his bat typically heats up with the weather.
The moral of the story here is, ‘Don’t Panic Over Slow Starts.’ Cano always has, and will this year, improve as the summer warms up. He currently is currently owned in 99% of Fantasy Baseball leagues and still holds a team leading .303 BA, with 23 RBI and 17 runs.
He continues to drive in runners in scoring position, and his consistent hitting will end up being his saving grace for the year. As long as the Mariners hitting around him can get on base, Cano’s statistics will be just fine atop the second base category
WEEKLY FANTASY PROJECTION: ROBINSON CANO
.300 BA, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 RUNS, 1 SB
I hope you are noticing the ‘Signals’ I’m posting this year, because I don’t seen my man crush on Justin Smoak going away anytime soon. Smoak leads the team with 6 HR. He has driven in the most runs with 26 RBI. And he’s ahead of everyone in scoring with team leading 20 Runs. Yes, his .243 BA could use some work, but as long as those hits are timely and driving in runs; I could care less.
Adding Cano to the lineup has done wonders for Smoak’s fantasy numbers. Batting Smoak fifth in the lineup is allowing him endless opportunities to drive in Cano, Corey Hart, or any other James Jones hit that has him in scoring position. Expect the ‘Smoak Signals’ to stay atop the mariners in scoring categories and help your fantasy squad offensive needs.
WEEKLY FANTASY PROJECTION: JUSTIN SMOAK
.3250 BA, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 4 RUNS, 0 SB
Felix Hernandez is taking the bump today, so I’m expecting this losing streak to come to a dead stop. I also predict more offense from the Mariners this week as they travel to Texas to play in their hitter’s friendly ball park, and back home to Seattle to beat up on the last place Houston Astros. I can see the Mariners back above .500 before we discuss our fantasy numbers again next week.