Brendan Ryan, Two-Hole Hitter

By Editorial Staff

Franklin Gutierrez‘s luck hasn’t been great this season. I’m not talking about BABIP or anything like that, but rather his health. Here’s a guy who started the season with an undiagnosed illness, leaving him to play a lot of catch up to get back on the field. He starts to see some success at the plate return, and down he goes with an oblique injury.

This opened the door for Brendan Ryan‘s return to the two-hole in the lineup. So last night, Mike Blowers did what hometown color guys do. They make flowery comments about players. He glorified the job that Ryan did while in the second spot of the lineup before the injury.

The problem, of course, is that Ryan was bad in his first tour of duty in that spot. He did nothing to deserve a return to it and likely won’t be very good there this time around either.

A chart!

Data via FanGraphs

Ryan was first inserted in the two-hole on May 30th because Chone Figgins was (is/will be) awful and slipped below the Mendoza line after the first couple months of the season. The move, at the time, wasn’t a totally awful idea. Ryan was probably the best hitter on the team during his hot month of May, with Ichiro and Justin Smoak both seeing the beginnings of their season struggles.

However, while Eric Wedge wasn’t wrong to ride the hot hand with his team still in contention, he probably could have taken the saddle off before August.

As soon as Wedge pulled the trigger, Ryan followed up his best month of the season with his worst, going from one of the hottest hitters on the team to the most inept (each statement makes you cringe about this team as a whole). This really shouldn’t have been a surprise, seeing as how Ryan has never been a particularly good hitter.

July saw improvement over June, but was still far below the numbers that earned him that lineup spot and were still way below what you’d probably want out of your two-hole if you’re in the business of winning baseball games. Especially with your lead off hitter marred in an epic slump.

Just like Gutierrez snatched the lineup spot when Ryan went on the DL in August, Ryan has now reclaimed it with Death to Flying Things being shelved for the remainder of the 2011 campaign.

Did Ryan hit well after coming off the DL, prompting another shot at the top? No, not really. He’s 6-for-43 (.140) with a 6/12 BB/K, and three extra-base hits since returning.

I know these Mariners lack options, and lineup construction doesn’t matter a ton, but my preference would be moving Dustin Ackley to the two-hole, a spot that he appears tailor made for. Eric Wedge loves Ackley hitting third, though. Even still, I’d probably rather see Kyle Seager hitting second instead of Ryan right now.

I don’t want this to sound like a total hatefest. It’s not.

In fact, if I had a sticky pad laying around and I were to write Ryan a note to be posted on his locker, it’d look something like this:

I ran out of room before I could tell him I  wish he’d wear the high socks everyday, not just sometimes.  Oh, and that he’d hit at the bottom of the order, not just sometimes.

Follow me! Pretty please? Twitter: @AlexCarson