Remember last May, when batting coach Alan Cockrell was fired because the Seattle Mainers hitters were 'underachieving?' - general manager Jack Zduriencik's term.
Flash forward and look at today's Mariners, their new-look lineup - Jack Cust, Miguel Olivo, Brendan Ryan, Luis Rodriguez - and the offense hasn't improved. The team is batting .226, and it's designated hitter has yet to homer in 2011.
Manager Eric Wedge's determination to see this process turn around sounds a lot like that of Don Wakamatsu and, briefly, Daren Brown. They tried putting the game in motion, rearranging the lineup - remember Chone Figgins' reaction to batting ninth for two days? - had early batting practice, no batting practice, meetings and prayer groups.
Wakamatsu was fired. Brown was returned to Tacoma, along with hitting coach Alonzo Powell.
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And the Mariners Class of '11 was put together by Zuriencik, whose 2010 had so 'underachieved.' Now Cust is batting .216, Figgins .223, Olivo .207, Rodriguez .173, Ryan .200, Michael Saunders .171 ...
"I’m sure as hell not going to continue watching this," Wedge said today. "We have to be tougher. We have to be smarter. Work’s never been an issue with these guys, but we need something."
Wedge has a multi-year contract, and nothing that's happened in a 17-24 season can be laid on him, or batting coach Chris Chambliss. One has to wonder, though, if the man who put together another group of 'underachievers' may be held accountable.
For a season and a good part of two months, the Mariners have had pitching and known what they lacked - offense. So they broke camp this year with Milton Bradley batting third and Cust at DH. Now Olivo has batted cleanup and so has journeyman infielder Adam Kennedy. Figgins has been, as the Cleveland broadcast team said last week, "a bitter disappointment."
When that's the heart of your lineup, you have a lineup without the ability to worry the opposing team. That was the case in 2010. It's the case now.