Bring out the brooms! Last night the Seattle Mariners thumped the Houston Astros 13-2 and this afternoon they won 5-2, finishing the three-game road sweep and pushing their record to 47-38. That would be nine games over .500, which is fourth-best in the AL and seventh-best in all of MLB. Unfortunately it’s still only good for third place in the AL West, but the M’s are now only 4.5 games behind the division-leading Oakland Athletics. Things are getting crazy.
Offense stole the show during this series, as the M’s averaged nearly ten runs a game while obliterating Collin McHugh, Jarred Cosart, Brad Peacock and company. Kyle Seager, who homered last night, had two more hits today. James Jones had a string of six straight at-bats with a hit come to an end last night, but was right back at it with a hit and a run scored today. Logan Morrison had an RBI double. Dustin Ackley has two straight three-hit games. Everywhere you look, the M’s hitters are really in their stride.
But despite the fireworks show that has been the last three days, pitching and defense continue to rule the day. The M’s are tied with the Washington Nationals, who have yet to play their game today, for the least runs allowed in all of MLB (289). The defense, which was expected to be atrocious after last year’s disaster, has only really been below average at first base, the least important defensive position. Ackley learned how to be good wth the glove in left. Jones is arguably the fastest outfielder in the league, and Seager is turning in his best season yet with the glove. Brad Miller and Mike Zunino, of course, are superlative glove guys, and Michael Saunders has emerged as a true two-way player.
Hisashi Iwakuma worked the mound last night, walking nobody while striking out seven over six frames. Runs allowed: one. Chris Young started today, gave up two homers (out of approximately a million fly balls)… and that was it. He allowed no other base hits over seven innings, striking out an unfathomable eight batters to only one walk. Instead of regressing, Young is turning in outings like this that are just barely sub-ace. The bullpen locked things down, allowing only one hit, and Fernando Rodney cruised to his AL-leading 24th save.
Obviously a stretch of remarkable play makes everything seem rosy, but there’s nothing wrong with that so long as we remain guardedly rational. The Mariners, right now, look like something just short of a top-tier team in all of MLB. Most pegged them as roughly .500 going into the year, so obviously there’s some overperforming going on. But… where, exactly? Only three guys on the team (Seager, Saunders, Cano) have been above average hitters this year. Nobody’s really playing over their heads defensively, and the bullpen has the peripherals to back up their amazing work so far. You could look at Roenis Elias and Chris Young, but Elias has the peripherals and Young is a literal wizard, probably. This team, against all odds, seems solid from Felix Hernandez to Willie Bloomquist.
Nine games over .500. Two games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles for the last wild card spot. +70 run differential, easily the second-best in baseball. Felix Hernandez is AL Pitcher of the Month and Kyle Seager is AL Player of the Week. Something tells me Safeco Field is going to be packed and loud this summer, and that the good times are just getting going.