Well, the changes to the roster were evident in the Mariners clubhouse. Josh Wilson and Ryan Langerhans were making the rounds with handshakes and hellos, while Matt Tuiasosopo is in Portland with the Rainiers and Eric Byrnes and his bike are mostly likely on their way back to California.
"Obviously these weren’t as much offensive moves as they were defensive moves," Wakamatsu said.
If you watched past games, you could tell that Wakamatsu was hamstrung by having one of two players on the bench that didn't play a position, and catcher and either an infielder with little experience at the middle infield positions and an outfielder, who really could only play left and was weak right-handed bat.
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Now he has still has one of the two non-position playing guys, but at least he has infielder that can play second, short or third, and is skilled at all three. He now has an outfieder, who's a left-handed bat, and can give Franklin Gutierrez a day off in center field if need be.
"Offensively it doesn't give us a whole lot," Wakamatsu said. "We've talked about the need of more production from the lineup, but these are two guys, who career-wise on paper probably won't make a big impact. It does give us the freedom to give guys a day off here and there, or to make defensive replacements if we have to."
Wakamatsu had been doing some platooning in left field with Byrnes and Milton Bradley, but it doesn't appear that they will continue that platoon.
"It will be more of a defensive (opportunity)," Wakamatsu said.
"Obviously, the way the season has gone so far, we're looking into a different ways to get us some wins,"
Speaking of offense, the Mariners probably haven't found any in the day off. They are not simply going to start hitting homers and putting up six or seven runs a game. But Wakamatsu was adamant in the hitters meeting today that they do a better job of executing in their situational hitting.
"You talk about the lack of offense, we had opportunities to win those games and we didn’t," Wakamatsu said. "It does come down to fundamental things and we didn’t do that. That was the gist of our meeting.
We're didn't say we want everybody to get two hits and hit the ball out of the ballpark. Not that I don't think we have more in us offensively, but that's not the key for us. The key is can we get a squeeze down? Can we move a guy from second? Can we get a guy in from third base? Those are things we need to focus on more than anything."
Yesterday, GM Jack Zduriencik said that the Mariners have little margin for error. Today, Wakamatsu admitted that it feels like his team has to play a perfect game to win.
"You win a lot of games if you are fundamentally sound," he said. "But we haven't been fundamentally sound."
"We've proven at certain times that we can function offensively," Wakamatsu said. "Especially when you talk about our pitching staff, we're not asking them to go out and score seven or eight runs a game. We're asking them to function in situations and help us go out and win."
If you notice there have been changes to the lineup. Milton Bradley is back hitting cleanup, while the struggling Jose Lopez has been moved down to sixth.
"I told those guys, I'll continue from a manager standpoint to juggle this as much as I can to switch it up, but that's not the answer," Wakamatsu said. "The answer is give me quality at-bats, give this team quality at-bats."
Wakamatsu said in terms of power and average that Bradley is "without a doubt" the closet thing the M's have to a cleanup hitter.
"He's not the sole answer," Wakamatsu said. "There's a lot of guys around him that have to have a lot better at-bats."
- Sean Rodriguez 2B
- Carl Crawford LF
- Ben Zobrist CF
- Evan Longoria 3B
- Carlos Pena 1B
- Gabe Kapler RF
- Pat Burrell DH
- Dioner Navarro C
- Reid Brignac SS
RHP James Shields
- Ichiro RF
- Chone Figgins 2B
- Franklin Gutierrez CF
- Milton Bradley LF
- Ken Griffey Jr. DH
- Jose Lopez 2B
- Casey Kotchman 1B
- Jack Wilson SS
- Adam Moore C
LHP Jason Vargas