Mariners took down World Series champs on their way to a third straight series win

The Mariners, written off by so many after just 16 games, find themselves wrapping up their third straight series win, heading home with the AL West lead
Seattle Mariners v Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners v Texas Rangers / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

Less than two weeks ago, the Mariners were set to finish off their little homestand with a series against the Reds. They were welcoming one of the most dangerous offenses in baseball to town, were 6-10, and there was already a worry going around Mariners fandom that the season was going in the wrong direction and might not be salvageable.

Oh, how fast things can change.

Since that point, the Mariners are 7-2, and now hold sole possession of the AL West. They swept the Reds, won 2 of 3 against the Rockies, and are coming off an impressive series win against the Rangers as well. In that time frame, the Mariners outscored their opponents 44-17, with two shutouts, two one run games, and allowing more than three runs just once, in their sole loss to the Rangers.

The Mariners have won three straight series after taking down the Rangers

The long ball saved the Mariners in this series, as the offense otherwise took a step back after the strong showing in Colorado. They hit just .194 with a .248 OBP this series, but multiple two-run homers by the Mariners (Julio Rodriguez, Cal Raleigh, Ty France, and Luis Urias) did enough to get the Mariners in front in games one and three. Outside of those four homers, the Mariners actually only had 15 other hits throughout the entire series.

They did work a lot of counts and force the Rangers pitchers out early. Dane Dunning made it 4.1 innings and Jon Gray made it 4.2 innings, although Heaney did make it 6 innings. Having that 5 inning average for the opposing starters was a big win, as that's a lot of innings to force on their bullpen.

On the flipside, the Mariners pitchers held Texas down, a much more impressive feat based on how much mroe skilled and talent-laden their lineup is. They also hit .194 in the series, although they did walk four more times for an OBP of .279. Castillo made it through 6 innings in the series finale, and Gilbert got things off on the right foot with 6.2 innings, nearly making it 7 before being pulled at 100 pitches.

This is the kind of series that the Mariners need to remember as they go through the season. That they can stick with some of the best teams in baseball, that their pitching is good enough to stifle nearly any team in the game. They were able to hold the Reds and Rangers, two of the most dangerous teams in baseball, to a combined 13 runs over 6 games. It's laughable how good that is.

It's not always going to happen, but as the players (and temperature) starts to heat up, the Mariners have to feel like they are in a good position. They have a lot of guys that can put runs on the board really quick, and their staff is nasty. With the first AL West series in the books, the Mariners are looking good as they return home to face the Diamondbacks as the leaders of the AL West.