Friday night the Mariners started off the second half right; with a big 4-2 win over the Chicago White Sox. Many things went right for the M’ds, and James Paxton looked in early-season form on the mound.
Seattle Mariners second baseman (just so there’s no confusing him with ex-Yankee Robinson Cano) Robinson Cano continued a solid week with a 2-for-4 night at the plate, including a 3-run homer that would be the difference in the game. Jean Segura scored twice and his 2-for-5 night kept him tops in the AL with a batting average of .350.
All this aside, we’ve got to talk about the men on the mound. Paxton made it six innings of 2-run ball, giving up five hits, but struck out nine. He did not walk a batter, and neither did the bullpen, but we’ll get to them in a second.
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If the Mariners want to have any shot at contention down the stretch, they will need Paxton to be a dominant member of the rotation. He was great Friday, and that’s a good sign for the M’s.
Friday night they got called on for three innings, and Friday they stepped up in a BIG way. Each of the three pitchers were perfect, each struck out two batters, and each showed glimmers of hope for anchoring more wins down the stretch.
The Mariners’ four pitchers struck out 15 without surrendering a walk, Nick Vincent now boasts an ERA of under 2.00 at 1.96, and Edwin Diaz seemed to have put his most recent meltdown behind him as he controlled the bottom of the ninth. It should also be mentioned Tony Zych’s perfect, two-strikeout inning lowered his season ERA to 2.25.
The Mariners tallied 10 hits Friday night and the only hitter to not reach base was Jarrod Dyson, though Mitch Haniger did not have a hit. The M’s enter the second half with five hitters holding OPS numbers above .800, and that will be extremely helpful down the stretch.
On paper, this Mariners team should be healthy and able to string together quite a few wins and really make things interesting come the last month or two of the season. That said, that’s on paper, and we have to just hope this team will come to play when it matters most.