The Mariners looked terrible in Houston this past week. There’s no two ways around that. They looked lifeless out on the field, and Wednesday’s 10-3 defeat where Joe Saunders resembled a pitching machine caused Eric Wedge to call a closed-door meeting after the loss.
Thursday night’s resulting 6-0 beatdown of the Angels showed why it’s too early to give up on this Mariner team.
Wedge called out his players, and the team responded. The most impressive performances of the evening came from young players who will form the core of the team for years to come. Kyle Seager continued his success with a 3-for-4 night in which he knocked in three runs and homered in the eighth inning. On the other side of the coin, Brandon Maurer put together his best outing as a professional, going 6.1 innings without surrendering a run and striking out six Angels. Both Maurer and Seager have improved as of late after rough starts. Seager even broke .300 tonight.
Carlos Peguero probably isn’t in the team’s future, but he absolutely crushed a pitch at his ankles for the third-longest (451 feet) homer in Safeco Field history in the third inning. He got it on a full count after showing some solid plate patience, something he typically lacks.
Two fringe veterans also pitched in significantly Thursday night. Endy Chavez had a three-hit night in the leadoff spot, raising his average to .310 and making a case for the Mariners to make absolutely certain Franklin Gutierrez is ready to come off of the DL when he eventually does. Even Jason Bay got in on the fun, delivering a huge bases-loaded two-run single to blow the game open in the seventh. Bay checked in with a two-hit night.
The win showed that it’s too early to count the Mariners out, regardless of how much they suck against Houston. Eric Wedge woke them up with whatever closed-door tongue lashing he delivered Wednesday, and they are back on the right track. The youth not only on the 25-man roster but in the minor league system will continue to blossom and one by one, they will arrive on the scene ready to make an impact. Hell, Nick Franklin went 5-for-5 in Tacoma Thursday, and last time I checked, the Mariners needed a shortstop.
Patience is a virtue. It’s only a matter of time.