5 Mariners that Need to Step Up in the 2nd Half

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Jun 2, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon (23) argues a checked-swing call by first base umpire Will Little (93) during the third inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Lloyd McClendon – Manager

The Seattle Mariners had a shocking rise to relevancy last summer, and the presence of Lloyd McClendon was a huge reason why. Lloyd arrived in Seattle with the reputation as a fiery skipper famous for his short fuse. Instead, the Mariners’ got a players manager who is intensely loyal to his guys. That worked last season, but the ‘Lloyd McClendon Loyalty’ plan has let the team and the fans down in 2015.

Lloyd was the hitting coach for Jim Leyland in Detroit before coming to Seattle, and one would have thought he would have learned something from the Jose Valverde debacle. Instead, McClendon has replicated the same blind faith Leyland showed Valverde this season with Fernando Rodney. Carson Smith went 5 for 5 in save opportunities after Rodney was finally removed from the 9th inning role. The fact that Rodney was reinstated as the M’s closer in June was a fireable offence in my opinion.

The constant shuffling of the lineup is another infuriating trend this season. No team in the league has had as many different batting orders this season. Logan Morrison hitting leadoff had to be the strangest lineup related decision made this season in baseball. Brad Miller is another player poorly utilized by McClendon in the M’s batting order. He excelled hitting at the top of the lineup earning AL Player of the Week honors in May. However, Lloyd has only given Miller 16 starts hitting 1st or second in the Mariners’ lineup this season.

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Lastly, the mental mistakes committed by the M’s in 2015 are inexcusable. Personally, I have never witnessed a team with so much talent make so many poor decisions. Seattle has had big trouble running the bases. So much so that McClendon actually had to gather the team around each base prior to a game and discuss the basics of base running midway through the season. This kind of stuff never happens in the big leagues. The Mariners have not looked prepared to play since day 1 in 2015, and that falls squarely on the shoulders of the man in charge.

I still like Lloyd, and I think he can be a good manager. However, this team has underperformed badly, and they need a skipper who does not play favorites. I appreciate his loyalty, and further more I respect it, but he needs to demonstrate more loyalty to the fans. Honestly, I am not sure Lloyd is the right guy to lead this group anymore. But if he can get these guys to start having fun again, anything could happen.

Next: Mariners First Half Report Card

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