Seattle Mariners: 3 Things We Learned Today In Houston

Sep 18, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager (15) hits a two run double against the Houston Astros during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 18, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager (15) hits a two run double against the Houston Astros during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Mariners transformed back to the playoff hopefuls they looked like before yesterday’s collapse. The big difference in today’s 12-4 win was that, when the they faced adversity, this time, they rose above it. It was a collective effort that saw most of the Mariners contribute positively throughout the game. That’s just what the team needs as the season continues to wind down.

The Mariners are a peculiar team. Even on days like today where they look dominate in most facets of the game, they find a way to make you nervous.

So, when the M’s looked like they would potentially blow their second game in a row, they made sure they wouldn’t buckle under the pressure this time. After being up 7-0 in the top of the third, the Mariners started experiencing an uneasy déjà vu.

Over the next four innings the M’s would watch their lead dwindle to a mere three runs. To make matters worse, the Astros had two runners on in the sixth, with the tying run at the plate and no one out.

Thankfully, the bullpen would regroup and not allow any more runs the rest of the game. In the meantime, the Mariners continued to score runs. One of the main highlights of their offensive production was Kyle Seager’s thirtieth home run.

He is the now the third Mariner this season with thirty or more home runs. That hasn’t been done by Mariners since 1997. It is such a historic franchise moment we will be covering the event in length in our next piece. Stay tuned.

But, there was so much more than this special moment that you should be aware of. So, here are three things that we learned today in Houston during the 12-4 victory.

Cano Loves Minute Made

Even though Cano has been a core focus of what we’ve learned lately, it’s hard not to learn more. Especially, when he keeps adding to his home run, batting average and RBI totals like he has against the Astros.

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Today, Cano hit one more home run. Not only improving his career best to thirty-six, but also extending his season best versus one team. Cano’s third home run of this series extends his best against any team this year to nine. The next closes team Cano has taken yard most is the Texas Rangers, with six.

What’s even more amazing about these nine home runs versus the Astros is where they happened. The teams have faced off equally in Seattle and Houston, yet, seven of those nine homers have come at Minute Made Park, not Safeco Field.

The same goes for his batting average this year. In Seattle versus the Astros, Cano has only hit a very low .200. But, in Houston, his average balloons to .476.

Cano has had the Astros number all year long, and no better than at Minute Maid Park. His continuation of that hot streak was vital to the Mariners winning today, strengthening the M’s pursuit of a Wild Card spot.

Paxton Had Soccer Fever

James Paxton is known for his pitching, but today he gave us a taste that he may have a future career in other sports too.

In the fourth, Paxton had to deal with a come-backer that bounced off his perfect placed foot. It then appeared that he tried to flick it in the direction he could more easily field the ball. Paxton would eventually make the toss to first to get the out and end the inning.

What was not lost on the play, was Paxton’s fancy footwork. In a split second, as the ball is coming at a pitcher, they must be reactionary. Yet, for Paxton it seemed more skillful than instinctive.

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For Paxton, the soccer-like volley attempt was so timely. With the top soccer teams in the world playing across the globe for the Champions League today, the Mariners pitcher channeled his inner soccer stud.

Oddly enough, the Mariners offense would give Paxton so much run support that by games end, the M’s had outscored six of the most potent offensives in soccer combined, 12-11.

The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum Of The Parts

On some days, one player can lift a team to victory. Today was one of the days where the entire team came together offensively to carry them to a win.

Yes, Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager put up half the team’s runs, but had they been they only run producers, who knows how the game would have turned out.

In total, nine of eleven players who participated for the Mariners got at least one hit. Five of those had multiple hits. Eight different players scored a run. Seven players had at least one RBI. And, six men drew at least one walk. Those are great team numbers for a series, let alone one game.

Next: Mariners: What We Learned

As the Mariners slowly claw their way closer and closer to the Wild Card, the entire Mariners squad will need to stay strong as a whole to outpace the competition. If the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers both lose tonight, the Mariners will be within one game of the playoffs with four games to go.