Mariners are heating up, even if they may not know each others’ names
The Seattle Mariners are hot right now, and are playing like nothing can hold them down. This is a good thing, considering that everything that can is trying to hold them down.
When Smyly hit the DL coming out of spring training, the Mariners rotation of Hernandez, Paxton, Iwakuma, Gallardo, and Miranda still seemed like a reasonable conglomerate.
And then Hernandez got hurt.
Next it was Iwakuma finding his way to the DL.
And just like that, Yovani Gallardo and his 4.46 ERA were left to to duke it out with Ariel Miranda for the #1 starter role.
If that 1-2 punch doesn’t just invoke fear into the hearts of opponents, I don’t know what will.
I haven’t even talked about the bullpen yet, and the time they lost two relievers in the same at-bat.
The pitching has taken a beating this year, but the injury plague doesn’t end there.
Mitch Haniger, Jean Segura, Kyle Seager, Nelson Cruz, and Robinson Cano have all had their share of ABs missed due to injuries.
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Oh how I wish “rub some dirt on it,” worked here.
Yet somehow the Mariners have made it work.
When Segura went down, the Mariners found Taylor Motter. A true utility player who made a name for himself, proving he can fill any role the team needs him to. He’s proved stellar in cases when he’s needed to fill in for Segura, Cruz, or Cano.
But the real story here is Ben Gamel. Taking over for the MLB leader in WAR, Mitch Haniger, Gamel started semi-slowly, but turned red hot, real fast. In 2017, Gamel is hitting .362 with two homers, 11 RBI and an OPS of 1.050. This is over 12 games.
To put that in perspective, in 21 games, Haniger posted a .342 average with four homers and 16 RBIs.
Gamel’s defense has been stellar too. I’m not trying to be too drastic here, but between his play in right field to double up Daniel Nava at the plate and his 4-for-5 Tuesday performance where he scored or knocked in 7/10 runs, he won the game for the Mariners.
Now I am NOT trying to tell you that Ben Gamel needs to be the everyday right fielder when Haniger returns. Mitch Haniger is a star in the making and he is going to be loved by Mariners’ fans for a long while.
That said, Gamel has been a wonderful fill-in and the team has benefitted incredibly from his play.
The Mariners are now a .500 ball club. They are entering a four-game set against one of the MLB’s worst teams (Toronto Blue Jays). If the team can continue to thrive with their studs out, imagine what things could be like when everyone returns.
Next: Mariners Podcast: Seattle keeps fighting
Dipoto says Felix and Paxton could be back during or shortly after the upcoming homestand. Cishek is nearing his return to the big league club. Iwakuma hopefully will not miss too much time, and Haniger is strengthening back up for his return.
This team could make some noise down the stretch, let’s just hope they have enough firepower to do that.