SEATTLE -- Before Sunday's afternoon finale against the Rangers, several Mariners inside the home clubhouse cheered on their country -- in Ichiro's case, Japan -- during the first half of the Women's World Cup Final between the United States and Japan. Neither country scored a goal in the first 45 minutes.
The lack of offense on the soccer pitch is eerily similar to Seattle's offensive production at the plate, where putting up zeroes is far less common.
But that's exactly what Seattle has been doing. The Mariners, who are in the midst of a season-high nine-game skid, scored just two runs in four losses to the Rangers and entered Sunday batting .222 as a team. Their offense ranks last in the Major Leagues and they have not scored more than two runs in an inning since a three-run third on July 1 against San Diego.
Seattle manager Eric Wedge insists that his club is not a bad baseball team, but rather a squad lacking an important attribute: offense.
"One thing I have to realize is that we're not playing bad baseball -- we're just not hitting at all," Wedge said. "It's one definite area right now that we have to attack, and that's what we're doing."
Eight players entered Sunday hitting below the .222 mark and Dustin Ackley has the team's highest average at .288, though he's played just 23 games. Wedge says his players need to "get tougher, especially position players, in regard to their at-bats."
Adam Kennedy, who is hitting .259 and is 3-for-12 in his past three games, said that it's a matter of recognizing what each player is good at doing and applying that at the plate.
"Hitting is very individualized, so everybody has their strengths and weaknesses," the 35-year-old said. "It's our job to find that out and use those strengths."
And while Wedge says he can understand why several of the young Mariners -- Seattle has eight players on the current roster that are 25 years old or younger -- may be facing some growing pains at the plate, there are fewer excuses for veterans.
"If you look at our troubles offensively, it has to start with our veterans," Wedge said. "It's the way it is."