McClendon: Pitching, defense keys to success

McClendon: Pitching, defense keys to success

SEATTLE -- Manager Lloyd McClendon has been steadfast in his belief that the Mariners are built to win. Despite a losing record almost a month into the season, the skipper hasn't wavered.

The changes needed to make McClendon's belief a reality? Better pitching and smoother defense.

"You can talk to any manager in baseball and they'll tell you that -- it's a broken record -- you pitch and you catch the ball, and you're going to win games," McClendon said. "We haven't done it."

The second-year skipper referenced last season's club that finished tied for the second-worst batting average in the American League as an example that a poor-hitting squad can be successful. Seattle missed the playoffs by one game in 2014, ending the season 12 games above .500.

Seattle's pitching staff had the lowest ERA in the AL last season. But the Mariners entered Sunday's game against the Twins with a better team ERA than just two other AL clubs.

"It's no secret, I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel," McClendon said. "We got to pitch and we got to catch the ball."

In addition to the pitching troubles, the Mariners made 14 errors through 17 games, ranking near the bottom of the league. Still, though, McClendon sees it as a short-term problem.

"If this happened in June, nobody would say a darn thing," he said. "The first 15, 16 games of the season is all magnified. The fact is every team is going to go through their lapses, both physically and mentally. Hopefully that's the last of ours."

Josh Liebeskind is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.