Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
With a stretch of great baseball, the Seattle Mariners sit 18-17 and just 2.5 games out of first place. After suffering through an agonizing 8-game losing streak they have won four series in a row and hope to continue that trend with the Royals in town currently with a split of the 4 game series at 1-1.
What was the key to their success over the past two weeks? This is the same team that was nearly swept by the Astros but saved in the ninth of the last game by Kyle Seager, then went on to win series after series against very good teams such as the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, and Oakland A’s.
Looking at the team stats there is really only one number that sticks out. Over the past two weeks the Mariners rank 4th in runs in the MLB. The pitching would have to be trying to lose if all those runs weren’t resulting in wins. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case.
While we saw some good pitching performances, such as Roenis Elias 10 K night against the Yankees, the pitching wasn’t on a dominant tear. They have been solid with a 3.51 ERA during that time. So the pitching did its job keeping the team in the game and the offense delivered.
Is there any rhyme or reason to this offensive outburst though? It really was just a matter of them taking advantage of their opportunities. They weren’t hitting a ton of home runs or extra base hits. Their team average was still low at .232 with an OBP of .309, both ranking in the lower half of the majors. If they want this success to continue both of those numbers need to rise and it’s not ridiculous to think that they can.
Even with their success in scoring runs during this hot streak they have been somewhat unlucky. Just ask Michael Saunders, who had at least 3 screaming line drives find gloves during the Oakland series. Despite a sporting above average line drives rate, the team still had one of the lower BABIP.
If they can keep hitting this way eventually they will find gaps, which will help sustain their offensive output. It has been great to see this many runs scored but you cannot always count on being clutch, finding consistency will maintain production.