As good as things have been going for the Seattle Mariners -- nine wins in 10 games before Sunday -- there have been some problems that won't go away.
Foremost among them is the lack of production at the top of the batting order. In the last nine games through Sunday's 7-1 loss to the Yankees, right fielder Ichiro Suzuki was 5-for-39, third baseman Chone Figgins was 2-for-36 and first baseman Justin Smoak was 8-for-38.
Put together, that's a .133 batting average, and that's no way for an offense to generate runs. Seattle needs much more productivity from its top three if the Mariners are going to continue to challenge in the American League West.
Particularly troubling is Ichiro, a career .355 hitter in previous Mays, May being historically his best month. The leadoff hitter is limping along with a series of weak grounders this month good only for a .204 average (20-for-98 through Sunday).
"Ichi is a tough one for me, just for the fact that he has a very unique style and it's hard to dissect," manager Eric Wedge said. "Obviously, he knows himself better than anybody. But it's such a unique style that it's more about what he needs to do than anything else."
Wedge does not seem inclined to make wholesale changes at the top of the lineup at this point, if only because he doesn't have many options.
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