Practice, practice, practice

There’s a team meeting of sorts going on as we speak at the Metrodome.

It’s called early batting practice and a big chunk the lineup is taking turns hitting against Antony Suzuki, one of the two Japanese translators that travel with the team.

The hitting group includes Ronny Cedeno (.138), Rob Johnson (.204), Ken Griffey Jr., (.205), Adrian Beltre (.208), Jose Lopez (.259), Franklin Gutierrez (.278) and Wladimir Balentien (.341).

Watching closely are manager Don Wakamatsu, bench coach Ty Van Burkleo and hitting coach Alan Cockrell.

The Mariners, you might have heard, are having a devil of a time scoring runs. They were shut out on Friday night and their season-high losing streak reached five in-a-row.

In the past four games, they have scored just four runs (three earned) in their past 36 innings and the meat of the batting order has been struggling, big-time.

Griffey just hit three consecutive pitches into the upper deck in right field, including one in right-center, just a few feet below the huge poster of the late Kirby Puckett and well above the baggy that separates home runs from doubles, or triples.

Beltre, who amazingly has no home runs this season, just cranked two-in-a-row in the left field seats. Sure, they con’t count, but it could be a start. He and Griffey are standing off to the side of the batting cage, chatting and working on their hitting knowlege, which is vast.

This stat alone tells you why the Mariners went from 15-10 to 15-15: during the first 25 games, they batted .324 (60-for-185) with runners in scoring position. During the five-game skid, they are batting .185 (5-for-39) MISP.

— Jim Street

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