SEATTLE – Nobody with the Seattle Mariners was immune from the strain of a 101-loss season that ended Sunday with a 4-3 defeat to the Oakland A’s.
But there were three young players in the clubhouse late Sunday afternoon – Justin Smoak, Adam Moore and Michael Saunders – determined to channel what they endured in 2010 into something more enjoyable in 2011.
The Mariners played their final games this season hoping to get a better idea if Smoak, a 23-year-old power-hitting switch hitter, is their first baseman of the future; if Moore, 26, can be the offensive-minded catcher they projected since they drafted him in 2006; and if Saunders, 23, can become a regular corner outfielder with offensive production to match.
Smoak finished with a .218 batting average, 13 home runs and a 10-game hitting streak during which he batted .441.
Moore hit safely in seven of the final eight games he played. He finished with a .195 average, four homers and 15 RBIs.
Saunders batted .211 with 10 homers and 33 RBIs in 100 games.
“Hopefully, it’s something that everyone learns from,” Saunders said. “On a personal standpoint, it’s not a year that I’m particularly proud off.”
Smoak, who went 1 for 3 Sunday and hit an RBI single in the eighth inning, said he put too much pressure on himself after the Mariners acquired him from the Texas Rangers on July 9 in the Cliff Lee trade. He suffered through a 2-for-36 stretch in late July before the Mariners sent him to Triple-A Tacoma. Recalled Sept. 18, he batted .340 with three home runs and eight RBI in his final 13 games.
“I had ups and downs and learned a lot this year,” Smoak said. “I feel a lot better where I am now and I’m looking forward to spring training.”
Athletics 4, Mariners 3
a-struck out for Donaldson in the 6th. 1-ran for Carter in the 8th. 2-ran for Smoak in the 8th. E—Rowland-Smith (2). LOB—Oakland 7, Seattle 7. 2B—R.Davis (28), M.Ellis (24), I.Suzuki (30). HR—K.Suzuki (13), off Rowland-Smith; Kouzmanoff (16), off Olson. RBIs—M.Ellis (49), K.Suzuki (71), Kouzmanoff (71), Carter (7), I.Suzuki 2 (43), Smoak (48). SB—I.Suzuki (42). CS—R.Davis (11). RLSP—Oakland 5 (Cust 2, Hermida 3); Seattle 5 (J.Bard, Figgins, Jo.Wilson, M.Saunders, I.Suzuki). RMU—M.Ellis, Jo.Lopez. GIDP—J.Bard.
DP—Oakland 1 (Pennington, Donaldson).
|Braden W, 11-14||5||5||2||2||1||2||76||3.50|
|Bonser H, 3||1||0||0||0||0||1||15||6.12|
|H.Rodriguez H, 3||12/3||2||1||1||0||4||37||4.55|
|Breslow S, 5-7||11/3||3||0||0||0||2||29||3.01|
|Varvaro L, 0-1||1/3||2||1||1||1||0||18||11.25|
IR-S—Breslow 1-1, J.Wright 3-1, Olson 1-0. WP—H.Rodriguez, Olson. Balk—Breslow. T—2:53. A—23,263 (47,878).