Brad Miller Does It All As M’s Keep Closing The Gap


The Seattle Mariners are winning a lot of ballgames lately. This bodes well for their chances at making the postseason, of course, but it’s the actions of another team that may well lead them to home-field advantage for the wild card game. See, the M’s surge has coincided nicely with the collapse of the Oakland Athletics. This has been quite the happy coincidence.

Since the start of September the Mariners have lost two games, which is also the number of games the Athletics have won over the same duration. The Los Angeles Angels, of course, have been hot for weeks, and the A’s, who once seemed certain to win the division with ease, are now looking up at an Angels team who’s eight-game lead is the second-biggest of any division leader in baseball. It’s been a quick and stunning turn of events.

Of course, the Mariners can’t keep this up unless they keep on winning games. That’s where Felix Hernandez, Michael Saunders, and Brad Miller enter the equation. Last night’s game was won on the back of those three. Tonight there will be more heroes, or so we hope. More heroes tonight could very well mean a day that ends with the Mariners holding the first wild card spot.

It all starts with Felix, of course. Felix is the backbone of this team and the probably Cy Young award winner, and so far it would appear that his September struggles from years of old are indeed a thing of the past. Felix struck out eight over six scoreless innings, working around a season-high four walks and a hardly-functional changeup. This was Felix on a night when his best pitch was going straight to the dirt seemingly every time. Didn’t matter – that’s why he throws a curve. The curve was working, and so Felix, despite the walks, was fine.

Saunders is back from the DL for the first time since July 10th, and he was inserted right into the eighth spot of the lineup. If you need a refresher on how Saunders’ season was going before he got hurt/sick, here ya go: he was awesome, hitting for power and average while playing his typically athletic defense. In his return he singled and walked twice, while also snatching a would-be homer from over the wall. He was awesome, as was the guy hitting in the nine spot.

Miller’s season never felt right. It didn’t seem like there was much behind his sub-Mendoza average except for really, really bad luck, and now we have his September to suggest there’s something to that theory. Following a couple homers and a four-hit game, Miller was the offensive catalyst against Houston, driving in the team’s first three runs and scoring on an Austin Jackson single. He hit a two-run triple, his fourth three-bagger of the year. All of a sudden Miller’s a power-hitting 24-year-old shortstop with plus defense. That’s more like what we were expecting going into the year. That’s the profile of a long-term building block.

Roenis Elias vs. Collin McHugh tonight at 7:05. Go!