Learning What Good Teams Do


It was the bottom of the fifth inning. The Mariners were trailing the Diamondbacks, 3-1, last night.

Jun 6, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager (15) jogs to first base after being walked by the Tampa Bay Rays during the third inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Miller led off the inning with a walk. Mike Zunino hit into a double play.

Dustin Ackley singled. Austin Jackson walked on four pitches. Two on and two out in a two-run game, for perhaps, the Mariners most consistent hitter.

Kyle Seager had a chance to do some real damage. He got ahead in the count. He got a fastball. He flew out to shallow CF.

Kyle Seager is a very good player, but that sequence signifies something about this year’s Mariners:

Sadly, they just aren’t that good.

Kyle Seager is a very good player, but that sequence signifies something about this year’s Mariners: Sadly, they just aren’t that good

There’s a simple formula for winning baseball games that I’ve used as a college player and a college coach:

1. Throw strikes. You can’t win if pitchers can’t throw the ball over the plate. Usually. In this case, Zack Godley got away with it.

2. Make routine plays. You don’t have to do the spectacular. The spectacular is nice, but the routine plays are what wins games.

3. Get timely hits. You don’t have to get 20 hits a game, you need a few key hits.

Good teams, that win, can follow that formula. The Mariners can’t. A lot of the time.

More from Mariners News

First Off: 

As of a 2010 fangraphs.com article, the leadoff walk scores 38 percent of the time. That didn’t happen in this inning. The walk was immediately erased. Good teams? They capitalize on a gift. The M’s can’t always make you pay for a mistake.


The Mariners were given a second gift, another walk, on four pitches nonetheless. The M’s had a pitcher making his second career start, who was waffling with his command. They had runners in scoring in position. And they couldn’t make a young kid pay for his mistakes. Good teams can. Good teams capitalize. When’s the last time you remember Mariners pitchers getting off the hook like that? ‘Kuma didn’t yesterday.


Timely hitting. The Mariners don’t do it well, at all. They are hitting .222 with RISP this season. That’s second to last in baseball, only ahead of the Giants (.219). With two outs and RISP, as in this case? The M’s are even worse: A putrid .193. Third to last.

Baseball is an incredibly difficult sport. It requires athleticism, mental toughness, a lot of thinking, and much more. That said, the formula to win games is simple. And the M’s can’t seem to figure that all out.

The Mariners take on the Diamondbacks today in a Wednesday matinee.

Happy Felix Day!

Go M’s.

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