Even as a Seattle Mariner fan, I think it’s been a stunning week for the Mariners. Putting an eight game losing streak in the rearview mirror, the Mariners took two of three from their division rival Texas at home then caught fire on the road winning five of their last six games on their current road trip sweeping the Yankees before taking two of three in Houston and taking the series opener in Oakland. The pick-up in play has put the Mariners back at .500 at 15-15, the first time they’ve been .500 since April 16th. Here are three reasons to be happy the Mariners are back to .500.
Reason #1: The Early Schedule Has Been Brutal. Out of their first thirty games, the Seattle Mariners have played eleven games at home and nineteen on the road. When look deeper at those thirty games, nineteen have been against the three teams ahead of them in the A.L. West: the Rangers, the A’s, and the Angels. Once the Mariners finish this four game set with Oakland, they will return home for seven games against two teams they are currently above record wise: Kansas City and Tampa Bay. Throwing in the Yankee series and Miami’s stunning start, Seattle has only played one under .500 opponent, the Houston Astros.
Reason #2: The Young Bats Have Woke Up. During the losing streak, the Mariners couldn’t score, and the young bats in the line-up were disappointing. At the Mariners have heated up, the youngsters are producing. Last night’s hero Stefen Romero is batting .306 over the last nine games. Kyle Seager hit five home runs at the beginning of this hot streak, including game winners against the Astros and Rangers. Michael Saunders was batting .179 going into this road trip; the Mariner OF is now hitting .274 with four multi-hit games. Mike Zunino, the starting C coming back from injuries that derailed his 2013, is batting .253 with 4 HR and 14 RBI. This is the help the Mariner offense desperately need to string some wins together.
Reason #3: The Rotation Has Held Together. The starting rotation lost Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker in the Spring. They lost James Paxton and replacement starter Blake Beavan in early April. So far, only Iwakuma has come back as he made his season debut on Saturday. Yet, the starting rotation has held their ground. Chris Young, who was cut by the Nationals in Spring Training, has gone 2-0 for Seattle and won his last two starts on the road in New York and Oakland. Roenis Elias, who never even pitched in Triple A, has gone 2-2 in six starts including handcuffing the Yankees striking out ten in a 4-2 win in his last start. Even though its not the name that we thought we would see, the Mariners patchwork rotation has delivered helping to contribute to this turnaround.