Seattle Mariners: 3 Things We Learned Last Night In Seattle
The Mariners had their own Home Run Derby last night in Seattle. In total, the Mariners hit four long balls that scored all of the team’s five runs. However, they didn’t need all four, as Taijuan Walker would be nearly un-hittable for the second time this month. The M’s would go on to win the crucial third to last game of the regular season, 5-1.
The Mariners are making the Wild Card race interesting, that’s for sure. After all the ups and downs this season, the M’s are on the brink of breaking their prolonged playoff drought.
They are now just one game back of the Blue Jays for the final Wild Card spot. But, we must not forget, the M’s were this close just two years ago before they ended the season one game out of the post season.
Instead of counting our chickens before they hatch and discussing what could be, there is a lot of good to focus on in the here and now.
Whether it was Taijuan Walker’s six innings of two-hit ball, the two home runs from Robinson Cano or the next home run from the Mariners secret power weapon, Nori Aoki, there was a lot to be proud of. So, here are three things we learned last night in the 5-1 bashing of the Athletics.
Cano’s Week To Remember (And It’s Not Even Over)
Robinson Cano is having one of the best weeks of his career when it comes to hitting the long ball. Last night, he added two more home runs to his total since Monday. He now has five home runs in that span.
Even for the future Hall of Fame, power-hitting second baseman, these home run numbers are rare. Only twice in his illustrious career has he hit five home runs in a week’s time.
The first was back in late April/early May of 2010. The later was in mid to late June of 2012. It just so happens that in that particular June four years ago, Cano would hit the most home runs he’s ever smashed in one months time. He crushed eleven balls out of the park.
It could be said though, that compared to those other two times, this has been the most clutch streak he’s ever had. In the middle of a tight Wild Card race, Cano hasn’t let the pressure get to him.
With two more games in the week, Cano could not only set a new personal weekly best for home runs, but also help propel the Mariners to their first post season since 2001.
Aoki’s September Is No Surprise
Three home runs by Nori Aoki in any month is incredible. But, three home runs in the middle of the playoff race is even more special. Over five years in the league, Aoki has hit a trifecta of homers in a month just three other times. Once in June 2012, then in April 2013, and then lastly in August 2014. That was until this September.
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Aoki’s hot hitting in the early fall is not unusual for him. Since entering the league, his now eight home runs is almost double his career total for any month. Aoki’s forty-four RBI is also a career high for any month.
Finally, his batting average in September, is, you guessed it, also a career monthly best. Towards the end of summer he hits a ridiculous .330. In September 2016, he took that average up even more. He hit .360 this past month.
Aoki has had more than three home runs in a month- he hit four back in September of 2012- but each of his late season home runs this year hold more weight than any other clutter in his career.
With his post season experience, maybe Aoki can continue his September slugging and give the Mariners an October surprise to remember.
Walker Is Still Struttin’
Every Mariners fan was hoping that Taijuan Walker’s near perfect game/no-hitter was not an anomaly. Last night he proved that it wasn’t.
Sure, you could look at his lone score, see five walks, and say that he lost his control. After all, he has only thrown five or more walks two other times in his career. The last two came in back-to-back starts in July 2014. In the later of those two starts, he threw a career-worst six bases on balls.
Yet, yesterday’s walks were harmless. He didn’t allow his first run until the sixth inning. It was a home run. The only other hit he allowed before that was a double in the second inning.
His two inning-ending double plays helped him escape from more damage. Throughout the game he was able to leave several Athletics in scoring position.
It was the first time this season that Walker has allowed two hits or less while pitching at least six innings. He did that three times last year, and those are the only other times he’s ever accomplished that feat.
Next: Mariners: What We Learned
There couldn’t be a better time for one of the Mariners best pitchers to become this dominate. His last five starts make a good case why he should potentially start their playoff series opener, if they make it.