Mariners Progress Report: Knocking On the Door

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 4: Edwin Diaz /

The Mariners tip-toed through a minefield that was this week’s road trip. They first won a big series in Texas against the Rangers and then split a four game series against the surging Kansas City Royals. They finished 4-3 this week.

The Mariners remain just 1 1/2 games out of a Wild Card spot at 57-56.

They have a favorable schedule this week against the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels to try and make up some ground in the race.

SEATTLE, WA – JULY 29: Nelson Cruz /

Hitting: B

There were a few games where the bats disappeared (a 5-1 loss to Texas and yesterday’s 9-1 loss to Kansas City). Aside from that, the Mariners hit the ball well. They averaged 4.7 runs per game which is right at their team average for the season.

The heart of the Mariners lineup in Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz provided most of the thump this week. Cano hit .321 with three doubles (including his 500th) and seven RBI. Cruz swatted three home runs including two in the first game of the double header on Sunday.

Danny Valencia also had a solid week, hitting .391 with two homers, while scoring six runs. In Sunday’s 8-7 win, he had three hits and fell a double shy of the cycle.

Jarrod Dyson continues to surprise as he hit .350 with four stolen bases.

On the flip side, Ben Gamel has begun to struggle. He hit a miserable .043 this week with just one hit. His average dropped from .322 to .303. Mike Zunino also has disappeared. He amounted just one hit and eight strikeouts.

The Mariners are 12th in baseball with a .258 team average.

KANSAS CITY, MO – AUGUST 4: James Paxton /

Pitching: C

The team had a 5.14 ERA collectively this week, which is worse than their season total of 4.45. However, there were plenty of bright spots.

James Paxton continues to establish himself as the team’s new ace. He extended his winning streak to seven straight starts, his 12 total wins is the second-highest in the American League. He struck out seven in six innings in his lone start this week.

Another Mariner hurler who had a solid week was Edwin Diaz. He was a perfect four-for-four in save chances this week, with six strikeouts and just one walk to boot.

James Pazos, David Phelps and Marc Rzepczynski all had scoreless weeks in the bullpen.

Phelps left the first game on Sunday with elbow tightness and his status is uncertain. Losing him would be a big blow.

Felix Hernandez was placed on the 10-day DL (again) after a less-than-stellar start where he went 5 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on two home runs and three walks. His timeline for return is also unclear. He is eligible August 12th.

Sunday’s second game was a disaster. Returning Mariner Erasmo Ramirez made his second start and allowed five runs in five innings. Cody Martin let things get away after coming in during the 7th. He allowed four runs to score.

KANSAS CITY, MO – AUGUST 4: Jarrod Dyson
KANSAS CITY, MO – AUGUST 4: Jarrod Dyson /

Defense/Baserunning: B

The only reasons why this grade isn’t lower is because the M’s ran at will against teams this week. They stole nine bases while being caught just twice. Dyson as mentioned stole four while Jean Segura added three.

Defensively, this was a bad week. Seattle committed five errors, which allowed four unearned runs to score.

Next: The Top Five Mariners of All Time

A redemption of the defense was the amount of outfield assists, particularly by Jarrod Dyson. He now leads all of baseball with 10 outfield assists.

Player of the Week: Edwin Diaz (4 saves, 0.00 ERA, 6 K)