Behind Seattle's defensive woes

Ichiro Suzuki's defensive numbers are in decline this season. AP Photo/Bill Boyce

On April 16, the Seattle Mariners and Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez lost 7-0 to Sean O'Sullivan and the Kansas City Royals, dropping the team to a miserable 4-11 record to start the year and falling to 6.5 games out of first. Furthermore, the Mariners' defense, supposedly the team's greatest strength, rated worst in the American League at -17 Runs Saved according to Baseball Info Solutions.

How can a team of defensive stalwarts struggle so mightily in the field?

Injuries never help. With 2009 Fielding Bible Award winner Franklin Gutierrez facing an intestinal issue, the Mariners slated Ryan Langerhans and Michael Saunders to share center field in his absence. While neither has done much at the plate, Langerhans has proved to be a particular liability in the field, costing the Mariners an estimated seven runs.