(Photo by Getty Images)
(Note: Felix Hernandez will be making an appearance and signing autographs Thursday at the Ballard Fred Meyer, 915 NW 45th Street in Seattle, from 1:45 p.m. to 3 p.m. It’s part of the Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams promotion.)
All season long, it has been virtually a given that the Mariners are the worst offensive team in baseball. Bar none. After all, last year they scored the fewest runs (513) since the designated hitter was introduced in 1973, and this year hadn’t been much better. In fact, by some measurements, it was even worse. All season long, they have sat last among all 30 teams in most offensive categories, including the big one: Runs scored.
But then, the Mariners began slowly, almost imperceptibly at first, improving their offensive numbers. After hitting .235 in April, .228 in May, .219 in June, and .218 in July, they are hitting a robust .284 in August. And here are their runs per month: 109 in April, 84 in May, 84 in June, 72 in July…and 103 in August, with six games still to play.
As Eric Wedge acknowledged, the boost has come from the five rookies getting extensive playing time, all sporting very respectable OPS numbers: Dustin Ackley (.826), Mike Carp (.845), Trayvon Robinson (.850), Kyle Seager (.825) and Casper Wells (.830).
The upshot is, I’m here to report that the Mariners are no longer the lowest scoring team in baseball. The transition actually occurred after the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader when the Mariners scored 12 runs in Cleveland, but it went unnoticed by most. No champagne, not even a fist bump.They made an even more emphatic move ahead today by scoring nine, giving them 21 in back-to-back games, while the team they surpassed managed a total of seven runs in their past two games.
So, without further ado, let’s introduce the new lowest scoring team in the major leagues, none other than….drum roll….
The defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
The GIants have scored 446 runs in 130 games. That’s 3.43 per game.
The Mariners have now scored 452 runs in 129 games. That’s 3.50 per game.
By the margin of .07 runs per game, the Mariners now have someone they can lord their offense over.
Yes, the Giants have to bat their pitcher each night (except for a handful of interleague games), but that didn’t prevent them — or every other National League team — from outscoring Seattle until yesterday.
And, yes, the Giants are now 69-61 after a 2-1 victory tonight over San Diego, just two games behind first-place Arizona in the NL West, while the Mariners are 56-73, 17 games out of first in the AL West.
But the Mariners are, finally, just a tick better than someone at doing the most fundamental function of an offense: Crossing home plate.
It’s a start.