3 takeaways from the Mariners late-game collapse against the Tampa Bay Rays

The Mariners had a golden opportunity to steal a game from the Rays, but fell apart late en route to a 4-3 loss to open the series
Seattle Mariners v Tampa Bay Rays
Seattle Mariners v Tampa Bay Rays / Douglas P. DeFelice/GettyImages
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Takeaway #3: It's not power, but batting average that the Mariners' lineup needs

This is the biggest flaw with the Mariners and it's apparent to anyone who watches a game. The Mariners struggle to put the ball in play. They're a true outcome team, seeming only to strike out, walk, or hit homers. They have the most strikeouts in baseball, are 6th in walks, and T-9th in homers... while ranking 29th in Batting Average.

The team has a phenomenal pitching staff, and one of the worst offenses in baseball. If they really want to contend and be taken serious, then they have to make moves to improve that batting average. Sure, it'll help that Ty France is back, and the emergence of Ryan Bliss paired with a hopefully healthy and rejuvenated Jorge Polanco should help.

The thing is, the Mariners probably need two additions to the offense if they want to make a run at the playoffs. It doesn't matter that they just had the biggest divisional lead in all of baseball at 10 games... because it's already down to 5.5. Those divisional swings can happen fast in baseball. I hate saying it because he's one of my favorites, but Mitch Haniger shouldn't be on the field with how he is playing. Replace him with someone who can actually hit and play defense, and it's a 3-4 WAR difference.

Drop Garver into less playing time (even though he tried getting the Mariners the win Monday) and have him be the backup catcher and part-time DH. That leaves another opening to either DH France or get a new DH who can actually hit. All of a sudden, you're taking out 2 guys (Mitch and Mitch) who are hitting a combined .195/.288/.341 and hopefully replacing them with additions who are hitting over .250. That would be massive to this team. Now it's time to make it happen before it's too late.