17 hits, 13 runs, and a big early lead led to a cruise control effort out of Iwakuma in yesterday’s 13-3 win.
You can’t talk about yesterday’s game without talking about a certain maligned first baseman. I can’t stand these exercises, but I’m going to show you two slash lines and you tell me who they belong to:
- Player A – .216/.246/.319/.565
- Player B – .242/.270/.400/.670
Give up? (don’t follow me on Twitter?) Player A is Adam Lind, at the end of Tuesday’s game; Player B is Adam Lind, at the end of last night’s game. That’s what going 4 for 4, with 2 homers, a double, 6 RBI, and 3 runs scored looks like. He went from being more or less a joke, to being a decent contributor in the matter of four at bats.
Would you like to see him walk more? Of course. Would you like that slugging to be a bit higher? Who WOULDN’T want that? But, if you look at those numbers now, compared to the rest of the lineup – which we should all agree by now, is a very good hitting lineup – he’s not that far off. He’s lumped right in there with Aoki and Lee and Seager, which isn’t bad company.
Next up, I don’t want to spend a ton of time praising him, because I still think he’s been pretty disappointing this season, but Hisashi Iwakuma did a good job doing his job. The Mariners were up 7-1 after three innings, and from there it was just a matter of running through the rest of the game without mucking things up too badly. Iwakuma went 7 innings, and sure, he gave up 3 runs, but he didn’t walk anybody, he was economical with his pitches, and he picked up a bullpen that had been a little over-worked over the last week. Just going that extra inning, getting through seven, can really make all the difference.
From there, the Benoit Recovery Train muscled through another shutout inning, and Steve Johnson got some work in a low-leverage situation. I’m particularly interested in how Benoit comes back from his DL stint, especially after that rocky first outing back on the team. He’s a VERY important part of this bullpen, so it’ll be nice to have him back to his usual dominating self.
The lone bit of bad news was Leonys Martin – superstar from the last week, including Tuesday’s game-winning homer – pulled a hammy in an attempt to steal second base. Martin is hopeful – with today’s off day – that he’ll only miss a couple/few days. Obviously, it’s a problem if it continues to nag at him and requires a DL stint. So soon after Ketel Marte’s injury, when he too was showing a lot of promise at the plate, it’s a little frustrating. But, you’re never going to make it through the season 100% healthy. Nevertheless, the guys you hate to lose the most are the guys playing up the middle – catcher, short stop, second base, centerfield. Our defense takes a hit, and weirdly enough, so does our offense. Without Marte and Martin, our baserunning is affected, and we haven’t had a defensive centerfielder this good since Guti’s prime. So, get well soon you kids!
Props to Cruz & Cano for each hitting a homer. Props to Aoki for two more hits. Props to Sardinas for two hits in his return to the Bigs (in place of the overmatched Chris Taylor). Props to Seager as well for two more hits, in his continuing climb out of the cellar.
Well-deserved day off today before a mean stretch of ballgames heading into June. The Mariners are clinging to that 1.5 game lead over the Rangers – who simply WILL NOT slag off, even though our run differential is crushing theirs!
You want to hear something cool, almost two months into the season? The Mariners are currently 1 game behind the Boston Red Sox for the best record in the American League. How about THAT? I know it’s too early to scoreboard watch, or to focus in on the standings, but you know what? That’s all I would do as a kid when I followed sports, and I remember having a MUCH better time of it. RIDE THOSE HIGHS, BABY! We’re 28-18, 10 games over .500!
In the immediate future, we’ve got three games at home against the worst team in all of baseball – the Minnesota Twins (which should finally get our home record above .500 for the first time all year) – followed by four more games against the Padres, who are 10 games under .500 as we speak. You’d REALLY like to see the Mariners pad their record over those next seven games (5-2 or better would be ideal), because then we get to a fun patch.
Once we dispose of those losers, we hit a run where we play those very pesky Texas Rangers six times in ten days. We’re talking about a REAL opportunity to put some distance between ourselves and our most prominent divisional rival at the moment. You see, we have these six games, and then we don’t play the Rangers again until the last three days of August (who knows? By then, the Rangers might not even be in it anymore!). So, it’s going to be really important to continue padding our lead while we’re playing so well.
Winter is coming The dog days are coming. And Hell’s coming with them.