Seattle Mariners Showcase Depth, Power Despite Loss


The Seattle Mariners played another extra-innings game last night! Must have been a dramatic win, right? Unfortunately not, as the Los Angeles Dodgers walked off with a 6-5 victory. So much for that Orioles theory. Fortunately for the M’s, no W didn’t mean no positives. Despite the loss, there were some big takeaways from this game.

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The 2015 Seattle Mariners are expected to do several things. One of those things – win more games than they lose – has been a bit of a challenge thus far. Some key hitters aren’t hitting, some key pitchers aren’t pitching (particularly well). But good things are happening. The team is doing some things well that it was supposed to do well.

Hitting for power, for one. The Mariners were widely expected to see an uptick in the power department, and lo and behold, that’s really happening. Nelson Cruz was expected to hit some homers. He’s got four in his last three games, including two last night off of Brandon McCarthy.

The big worry with bringing Cruz to Seattle was that he’d have a hard time in a pitcher’s park. But Colliseum and Dodger Stadium are pitcher’s parks, though L.A.’s stadium is about league average for homers. He’s yet to smack a long ball in Safeco, but this should be viewed as encouraging, to say the least.

If Cruz’s homer streak is encouraging, then what Dustin Ackley‘s doing should be whatever’s more encouraging than encouraging. Ack hit his third long ball of the young season last night, and is showing real signs of life at the plate that simply weren’t there before.

Ackley, you’ll recall, was supposed to be a hitter. He was supposed to do all of this, homers and everything, and now he’s doing it. It’s been a week, and while the sample doesn’t mean much, it doesn’t mean nothing. Ackley’s hitting the ball with authority and looking good while doing it. Be excited.

Kyle Seager hit a bomb last night, too, and let’s just take a deep breath when it comes to his hitting. He’s struggled early this year, just as he did last season. Despite the less-than-stellar results, he’s looked the part of a solid hitter. His homers should just reinforce this. Seager’s fine. He’s more than fine.

So the M’s are powerful, but that’s not all. They’re also deep, and that depth was tested for the first time yesterday with Tom Wilhelmsen heading to the 15-day DL. Dominic Leone was called up and thrown right into the thick of things. The bullpen’s been taxed the last few days, and the first game they played after Leone’s arrival went to extras, again, as usual.

Usually a minor league callup isn’t expected to go 2.1 innings in a high-leverage situation right off the bat. But that’s what Leone did, and despite two walks versus no strikeouts, he was alright. He worked around the free passes admirably, and left only after yielding a base hit. That the guy who got the hit went on to score the winning run is almost a footnote.

Leone’s a good reliever, and represents the kind of depth that the Mariners have. There’s more where he came from, you know. The depth was tested, and though the game was lost, the test was passed.

The 2015 Seattle Mariners are supposed to be deep and powerful. Last night they showcased both of these traits. It would have been nice to get the win, but at least they got to see some of their best qualities in action.