SEAside Thoughts: Short-Handed Mariners Fight Back

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 15: Jesse Winker #27 and J.P. Crawford #3 of the Seattle Mariners celebrate after defeating the New York Mets 8-7 at Citi Field on May 15, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 15: Jesse Winker #27 and J.P. Crawford #3 of the Seattle Mariners celebrate after defeating the New York Mets 8-7 at Citi Field on May 15, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Mariners SEAside Thoughts Week 6

“It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.”

– Jim Rohn

  • Last week, I talked about how close the Seattle Mariners were to one of their worst weeks in the history of the franchise. This week, the Mariners went 3-3 against the two best teams in the NL East, including the New York Mets, home of the best record in the National League. That’s the beauty of baseball!
  • The biggest story in Marinerland this week is the decision by the team to demote Jarred Kelenic back down to Triple-A Tacoma. This is not good by any means, but I hope this will be good for Kelenic.  He’s very young and there’s still plenty of time, but his struggles are of huge concern when looking at the future success of the franchise, and the Mariners appear to feel the same way.
  • I feel bad for Kelenic, and it can’t be easy watching Julio begin to take off when he hasn’t really had that moment where things clicked. I hope he stays down in AAA for a good minute. I believe this will be (and needs to be) the last time the Mariners send Kelenic to Tacoma.
Jarred Kelenic
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – MAY 07: Jarred Kelenic #10 of the Seattle Mariners fails to make a diving play during the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at T-Mobile Park on May 07, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /
  • Robbie Ray is still a work in progress, and that is a good sign for Mariners fans. Twice this week Ray took the ball the day after a Mariners loss, and helped the ball club achieve victory. There were moments of brilliance, and single innings that made you want to pull your hair out. The biggest sign that things are going to get better was the fact that we saw Ray consistently hit 96mph and even touch 97. That is huge, and Ray will be huge for the M’s this season.
  • Gilbert pitched very well on Wednesday, just having the one inning of trouble that cost him another dominant outing. There’s so much potential there, but still a great deal of youth. I’d love to see Pete Woodworth be a little more aggressive in those 4th-5th innings to slow the game down for these guys, especially after those non-competitive walks.
  • Mad Max Scherzer is a freak and I mean that as a complete compliment. Some may find him to be too aggressive or intense, but I hope one day the Mariners find a dude as locked in as Scherzer. Facing a legend on the road like Mad Max, there’s really only one way Seattle could win that game, and that was Marco Gonzales matching Max step for step and making it a bullpen game. I still can’t believe he did it, but he did!
  • Marco has been Jekyll or Hyde this season. His best has looked like that of one of the better #3 starters in baseball. As this club gets healthy and the schedule opens up, Marco pitching closer to his ceiling is going to lead to a ton of wins.
  • Jesse Winker’s relationship with the Mets fans was weird and hilarious. His season has also been very weird. After a brutal start and the impact of a potentially dead baseball, Winker has caught fire in May. Since the start of the month, Winker is slashing .296/.333/.481 and a 141 wRC+.
  • As Scott Servais said in the Sunday post game interview on Root, Winker is a star player and they need him to play like it. He has this month, and the power should improve as well. It’s pretty wild that a dude who supposedly can’t hit against lefties has both of his home runs against left-handers.
Jesse Winker
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 14: Jesse Winker #27 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates after hitting a three-run home run to right field in the seventh inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 14, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
  • Steckenrider should be done as the closer. His stuff just looks completely flat and his confidence looks shot. I’d like to see Romo get a shot for a couple weeks closing some games, as Sewald should stay in the “weapon” role. Romo has closed in the biggest situations in his career, has the mentality for it, and has been dominant in a short sample size.
  • Props to Scott Servais for pulling the plug on Steckenrider, and giving Diego Castillo a shot. It’s tough to have to pull your closer in that situation, but the Mariners were going to lose. Castillo, who had been terrible and was flirting with the possibility of no longer being on the club due to his play, comes in and gets two epic strikeouts against two All-Stars. Hopefully that faith leads to a turnaround.
  • I’m so happy for Cal Raleigh and his massive home run in the win on Sunday. It had to have been hard for him to fail in the first month when he was sent back to Tacoma. He’s only up because of Tom Murphy’s freak injury, and it was great to see him get some wins. He caught a really good game, had an assist, and got the one big thump. Any offense from him is going to be a huge boost.
  • Julio Rodriguez showed what fans of the Seattle Mariners get to look forward to for the foreseeable future…stardom and a true championship level player. A 4-for-4 day, as well as a walk and a rocket home run, Julio was the best player on the field today. With a slash line now of .264/.328/.368, Julio is well on his way to the Rookie of the Year Award.
  • The Seattle Mariners now sit at 16-19, and head to Toronto for a pivotal series. The Blue Jays are ice cold currently, and the Mariners trail Toronto by 2 games in the final Wild Card spot. People will say it’s early, but tiebreakers are now a thing in baseball, so this is an important series against a team Seattle will be chasing. It’s really frustrating that Seattle won’t be at full strength for the series, with “a couple of guys” staying behind due to vaccination status.
  • This week’s “Mariner’s Music Mojo” is My Heart Will Go On by Canadian légende Céline Dion.