The Mariners were well on their way to a ninth straight defeat with no end in sight. Against the Astros of all teams! If you look at the series we’ve played, going back to the 11th, we played Oakland (very good), then Texas (still good, but not as), then Miami (pretty bad), then Houston (the worst). In that run of games, we beat Oakland once and Texas once and that was it. Houston was officially two outs away from sweeping us and sending us into the weekend series against Texas officially reeling without any shred of a prayer.
And then, Kyle Seager busted out of his slump in a HUGE way! He had already homered in the 7th inning to bring the game to within one (3-2). With runners on first and second, Seager blasted one out to right field and ended our collective misery, if only for a couple days.
Friday saw another rousing comeback, where we plated four runs in the 8th inning to take a 6-3 lead. Friday was notable for another mini-meltdown out of Fernando Rodney. As soon as we took that lead in the bottom of the 8th, he proceeded to give away two more to make the score 6-5. With the bases loaded, Adrian Beltre hit a screaming liner towards the right field line that was somehow miraculously caught by Justin Smoak, who walked over to the bag for the double play.
I’m gonna be honest with you, I gave up on that Friday game pretty early on. Our hitters let some opportunities slip in the first few innings, and the Rangers didn’t. The last straw was the RBI double out of Beltre; the last thing I want to watch is Beltre succeeding like he’s doing. So, I shut off the game and went to bed and woke up to the most pleasant surprise I could imagine.
The Mariners actually managed to give Felix a 3-0 lead going into the fifth inning on Saturday, but wouldn’t you know it? This just wasn’t Felix’s day. It also wasn’t really the bullpen’s day either, as we ended up losing 6-3. There were chances late to come back, but three runs would be too much on this night. Still, nice to see another homer out of Seager in this game. And, Michael Saunders became only the second player on the team to leadoff the game, pushing Almonte to the 2-hole.
That brings us to Sunday. Going into that game, we were winless on Sundays, and yesterday looked to continue the trend. We were down 5-0 in the blink of an eye thanks to Brandon Maurer just not having it. Still, I liked how we looked at the plate pretty much all day. They shot us down in order through the first three innings, but after that, we put pressure on them pretty much every inning thereafter. Not an easy task when you’ve got Willie Bloomquist, John Buck, and Cole Gillespie starting for you.
We slowly clawed our way back with 1 in the fourth, sixth, and seventh, leaving us at 5-3 going into the bottom of the eighth, with our bullpen set on shut-down mode after Maurer left. Two quick strikeouts figured to put an end to our fight real quick, but then Smoak doubled to left (that a better fielder probably would have caught), Ackley reached on an infield single just out of reach of Beltre at third running to his left, and once again Kyle Seager came up to bat with runners on, late in the game, with the Mariners down.
And once again, Kyle Seager won the game with a 3-run home run, his second of the game and fifth of the week (the most shocking part of all, a 1-2-3 ninth inning out of Rodney to close it out).
Let me tell you about Kyle Seager’s week, by the way. He went into that final Astros game with a slash line of .156/.280/.219/.499. Five days later, his line looks like this: .228/.330/.468/.798. That’s nearly 300 points of OPS in four games! He had five homers (his first five of the season), 11 of his 12 RBI, and 9 of his season’s 17 hits over the last week. In these six games, Seager went 9 of 22 and scored 8 of his season’s 10 runs.
He has these streaks in him. That’s why everyone talks about how they don’t worry about Seager. He’s a pro. Like any pro, sometimes they dig themselves a huge hole. But, if he’s worth his weight, he’ll dig himself out and make you forget all about the first three weeks of the season. If Kyle Seager isn’t the A.L.’s player of the week, then I’ll be pissed. I mean, he almost single-handedly won two of the last four games!
In other news, it’s nice that Almonte has finally been given a day off. Not that I’m the biggest Michael Saunders fan in the world, but it would probably be a smart idea to go easy on the playing time of Almonte.
Stefen Romero is starting to really grow on me. Here’s to hoping he gets more chances to play (and here’s to hoping he is actually allowed to hit against right handed pitchers once in a while).
Also, how about we scale back on the Willie Bloomquist, huh? He’s giving me legitimate Chone Figgins flashbacks over here.
Hisashi Iwakuma can’t come back soon enough. Right now, there are two MASSIVE black holes in our rotation. Erasmo Ramirez probably shouldn’t be in the Major Leagues, and the same can be said for Brandon Maurer. After today’s off-day, we play 17 games in 16 days (thanks inept Oakland groundscrew), so we might be stuck with one or both of them for the time being. Given the way some of these starters are struggling to even go four innings, I bet we’re stuck with one of those guys as a long reliever until at least the middle of the month.
This bullpen has been plenty taxed of late. On the plus side, if Sunday’s win against Texas is any indication, it looks like Danny Farquhar has supplanted Tom Wilhelmsen as the team’s 8th inning guy. Baby steps for Lloyd McClendon.