The 2023 Mariners Fatal Flaw

Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics
Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The Mariners have a fundamental belief they drill into their players from day one, "Control the Zone." While the verbiage has changed to Dominate the Zone, the thought process is still the same. Pitchers control all four quadrants surrounding the plate (see George Kirby), and hitters focus on minimizing chase rates and strikeouts. As the calendar turns to May, there is a clear correlation between the team's subpar start (13-16) and their ability put this philosophy into play, especially on the offensive side.

Strikeouts and Chase Rates Are Up

We knew coming into the season; this roster would offer power. A lineup with Julio Rodriguez, Teoscar Hernandez, Cal Raleigh, and Eugenio Suarez screams exit velocity, extra-base hits, and power. Unfortunately, it also screams some swing-and-miss. Suarez led the team last year with 198 strikeouts, and while he has adjusted his offensive approach, the same can't be said for the others.


Strikeout Rate

Chase Rate

Cal Raleigh



Eugenio Suarez



Julio Rodriguez



Teoscar Hernandez



In thirty games, the Mariners are tied for third in the MLB in strikeouts at 298. They are on pace to go down swinging or, in some cases, looking 1725 times. For context, at this time last year, Mariners' hitters struck out 201 times. It might not seem like much, but that is over 90 outs our essential offensive clogs are giving away. Instead of walking or even putting the ball in play, which forces teams to make plays. Scott Servais had a telling quote a few years back when they were nowhere near the division-leading Houston Astros.

""When we follow our identify it puts pressure on the other team. We want to be difficult for the opponent. That is where Houston is and at our best we are by controlling the zone.""

Scott Servais

It may be time to focus on cutting down what Mariners' play-by-play announcer Aaron Goldsmith calls silly hacks and going back to basics. The hometown nine's playoff hopes might depend on it.