The Mariners travel to San Diego tonight to take on their bitter interleague rivals the Padres, and they take with them one of the worst-hitting teams in baseball. Skipper Eric Wedge said it best earlier this week after his club tallied just two runs or fewer in seven of 14 games: "We need something . . . I sure as hell am not going to continue watching this." Perhaps having a pitcher hit instead of designated hitter Jack Cust (.226 avg, 0 homers), as the M's will do this evening in a National League park, will do the trick. Or even better, Jack Zduriencik could acquire this assortment of NL hurlers and beef up the entire batting order.
2. J.A. Happ: The Houston southpaw has six hits in 15 at-bats, good for a .400 average, the best among NL pitchers with at least 10 plate appearances. Happ also has three RBI and two walks. That's better than rookie Mariners outfielder Carlos Peguero, who also has three RBI, but just one walk and a .156 average.
3. Jason Marquis: Seven hits, including a double, in 21 plate appearances gives Marquis a .333 average. Not only is his that better than everyone's least-favorite slap-hitting third baseman Chone Figgins (.224 average, .308 slugging), Marquis is 5-1 on the mound with a 3.54 ERA. Hey, maybe if Figgins learned how to throw a curveball he could hit one too.
4. Daniel Hudson: Hudson is hitting .294 in 17 ABs this season for Arizona. He also has four RBI, which combined with the six runs he knocked in all of last season, matches the 10 RBI Adam Kennedy has produced so far this year for the Mariners. Kennedy is also hitting .258 . . . the third-best average on the team behind Ichiro and Justin Smoak, neither of whom will be mocked in this blog post because they are actually Major League caliber hitters.
5. Chad Billingsley: The Dodgers pitcher is hitting a mere .250, but that would be a dramatic improvement over Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo and his .203 average. Olivo signed a two-year $7 million deal this off-season to come back to Seattle, but so far in 123 at-bats he's hit just as many doubles, two, as Billingsley has in 16 plate appearances.
6. Yovani Gallardo: The Brewers pitcher is actually kind of hitting like a pitcher. He has just a .208 average with 10 hits and 11 strikeouts in 24 at-bats. But that's still better than Luis Rodriguez, who is hitting .186 with 21 hits and 11 strikeouts in 59 ABs. Gallardo matches Rodriguez in another statistical category too--they both have scored a whopping five runs.
7. Bronson Arroyo: With two doubles and a .235 average in 17 at-bats, Arroyo is on pace to match Milton Bradley's truncated stat-line (six doubles, .218 average, 101 ABs) before the All-Star break. When he's not playing baseball, Arroyo is also the frontman of a band, which is relevant because Milton Bradley wore ear plugs when he played for the Mariners, and anyone who hears Arroyo's singing wishes they had ear plugs. (I'd say you could borrow Milton's cause he's not going to need them anytime soon, but using someone else's ear plugs is just plain gross.)
8. Jonathan Sanchez: Sanchez's .235 batting average his just a tad below Jack Wilson's .241 clip, but both players have hit three doubles so far this year, and it only took Sanchez 17 at-bats to do it, while Wilson needed 87. Ouch.
9. Barry Enright: Enright is hitting a mere .182 with just two hits in 11 plate appearances, but one of those hits is a homer. If Michael Saunders were to go deep almost every other at-bat like Enright is obviously capable of doing, his .178 average wouldn't look so bad.
Of course, if the Mariners get truly desperate in trying to add pop to the lineup, they could come up with worse ideas than letting Felix Hernandez hit every day. As Lookout Landing's Jeff Sullivan observed on Monday, the King has the highest OPS+ in franchise history.