Anemic M's

Is it possible their offense will suck worse this year than last?

Last season the Mariners were so offensively anemic they scored fewer runs than any other team in baseball. That they finished over .500 was due in large part to having an ace anchoring a good pitching staff and the greatest defensive outfield in recent memory.This year the pattern is repeating itself. Good pitching and good defense still abound—and will even more now that Cy Young–winning Cliff Lee is back in the rotation.But so far, despite an off-season spent picking up spare bats in a concerted effort to improve the lineup, the M's are looking even more iron-deficient. Things have gotten so bad that they're currently on pace to do something few thought possible: score even fewer runs than they did last year.To wit: After 25 games, including Sunday's demoralizing 3-1 loss in extras to the division-leading Texas Rangers, Seattle has scored only 86 runs. Compare that to the 111 scored through the same stretch last year, and it doesn't take a back-of-the-lineup-card calculation to understand the M's one-through-nine is roughly as intimidating to major-league pitching as a West Seattle T-ball team.To their credit, the Mariners seem to understand they've got a problem no amount of solid pitching can help, as this week they played musical chairs with their roster and finally released Eric Byrnes, about whom the only good thing that can be said is that he's decent on an ESPN set.Clearly Jack Z and the people who run the team are still alert and making solid contact. Now it's just a matter of making sure that's also true about the guys who wield the bats.

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