Wahhhh, the Mariners are broken, this team sucks, the year is over. That was the majority of the vocal minority of Mariners Twitter. Yet here we are, 50 games into the season and sitting at 26-24, with a run differential of +34 and one of the best pitching staffs in baseball.
I understand it's Oakland, but the Mariners did their job, and ended up with a four-game sweep to get to two games above 500, which is oddly the first time this season they have been 2 games above 500, something that blew me away when I saw it before yesterdays finale.
Let's check out what happened in the series and look at four reasons the Mariners were able to sweep the Athletics.
Ty France has massive hands
I think a wave of despair and nightmarish recall went through all Mariners fans when Ty France got hit. "Not again" was a common phrase uttered by fans, and most of us thought that he was going to be out for a while. France was in good spirits the next day, and revealed that the ball actually missed his wrist, instead hitting that fatty part of your palm below your pinky. An inch either way, and it's likely a break. Instead, we got this...
And when it's so nice, you might as well do it twice...
Yeah, Ty France is just fine. He ended up going 5-10 with three homers, two walks, and five runs scored in the series, and was a massive part of their offense throughout.
Walter felt like giving A's false hope
Logan Gilbert gave up a double and a homer over the first four batters of the game, and the Mariners were down 2-0 before they had even had an AB. 10 pitches in, and things weren't looking great.
Instead, Walter was like a cat playing with their food.
He would retire 15 straight after that, giving up a single in the 6th to Ryan Noda. He would sit down the next 7 batters, and leave the game after 8 innings of work. What was most impressive was the pitch count. This looked more like a mid-90s game from an Ace than anything we've seen in a while, as Gilbert threw just 77 pitches, with a frighteningly high strike rate of 76.6%. That also means that he went 7.1 innings on just 67 pitches, which is incredible. 23 hitters (22 outs and one hit) on 67 pitches. Amazing.
The offense came to play when it mattered
The Mariners showed up early, scoring often in the first game. The would pile up 11 runs on 18 baserunners, giving Oakland no shot. Back-to-back jacks in the second game gave them a 3-2 lead, and a similar feat shown above by Ty France going deep twice got them another 3-2 win in the finale. When it was said and done, the Mariners scored 23 runs overall, with a .266 batting average and 15 walks. Add in 5 HBP and 1 IBB, and the Mariners had 55 baserunners in the series.
They shut down Oakland in four straight games
Then, there is Oakland. The A's hit just .160 in the series, seeing just 26 baserunners in total. Their offense has flashed at times this year, but wasn't able to do anything against the Mariners. It went even better than you would expect, as holding anyone to just 7 runs in a four-game series is a great feat.
The Mariners got it done this series, finding clutch offense when they needed it, and putting up a ton of baserunners in the process, seeing 19-9-16-11 throughout the series. Things are going to be tougher with Pittsburgh and then the Evil Empire coming to town, but the Mariners did exactly what everyone hoped they would do in sweeping the Athletics.