The Seattle Mariners have had excellent performances this season from the top of their batting order – J.P. Crawford, Mitch Haniger, and Ty France – but the back end has struggled mightily. If you take a look at my last article detailing what Seattle needs at the Trade Deadline, you’ll see a devastating statistic that shows the Mariners have one of the highest BARISP’s (batting average with runners in scoring position) in the A.L. but are last in the entire MLB with a team OBP of .294.
A large contributing factor to that statistic has been the end of the Mariners’ batting order, comprised most often of the likes of Jarred Kelenic, Dylan Moore, Shed Long Jr., and/or Jake Bauers; that group has a combined weighted OBP this season of .252.
Despite their struggles this year, the end of the Mariners’ batting order came through when it mattered against the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night.
In the biggest series of the Mariners’ season so far, Seattle was tied up 4-4 with the Athletics in the 9th inning, looking to take a 2-1 lead in the series. With pinch-runner Donovan Walton on first and no outs, the 7-8-9 hitters were due up next with a chance to prove themselves.
Kelenic worked a very patient at-bat into a walk, putting runners on first and second. Long stepped up next but failed to get a bunt down and eventually struck out. However, 9-hitter Jake Bauers saw four balls in a row and loaded the bases for the top of the order – exactly what the Mariners need to start doing if they want to put themselves in a position to win more consistently.
The subsequent events were a bit, say, unconventional – with the infield in, leadoff hitter J.P. Crawford grounded into a fielder’s choice with the A’s snagging the out at home. But then stepped in Mitch Haniger, who (after hitting two home runs and a double earlier in the night) wasn’t going to get anything good to hit from the A’s closer. The rest was history:
Kelenic came across on the wild pitch (then took a load of chalk to the face), and Mariners fans were sent home ecstatic after taking home a 2-1 series lead.
Hats off to the end of the order – when you get on base, good things happen.