We’re now just one series into a season filled with them, so it’s a bit early to be making any definitive pronouncements on the Mariners. That said, if M’s manager Eric Wedge can find things that give him information going forward, then it’s a good enough sample size for us to collect some nuggets as well.
Here are some impressions from the season’s first weekend:
1. The Mariners won two of three. On the road as well. Given how last year went, you’ll take any series win you can get.
2. Justin Smoak went 3-for-9 and took some walks. Considering that Smoak drew about one walk for every 25 strikeouts last season, his .538 OBP is an encouraging sign. As is the fact all three hits came off LHP.
3.The starting pitching has done its job. You like your starters to go at least six innings this time of year and the Mariners came within one out of having all three do exactly that, while holding opponents to three earned runs or fewer.
4. Brandon League had a 1-2-3 inning. That was a rarity this spring, but he’s looked good his last couple of outings in Arizona and now when it counts.
5. The Mariners are working counts. Sure, not all of those starting pitchers were driven to the limit by Mariners hitters. It helps when an opponent gives you extra outs and when you strike out nine times in five innings (that’ll drive a count up). But only Gio Gonzalez went seven innings against Seattle and needed 116 pitches to do it.
6. Seattle is taking its share of walks.
1. The bullpen looks as shaky as advertised. They’ve already blown one save opportunity and let Sunday’s game get totally out of hand after a fielding miscue.
2. For all the runs scored by Seattle the first two games, the offense is still scuffling. The Mariners were helped by five errors in the opener and at least one other play that should have been an error. They’d scored only two runs before the ninth inning of Game 2 and had only one in the finale.
3. Miguel Olivo is the best RH pinch-hitting option the bench has. And when used, the team has no other catcher if something happens to him.
That’s about all I could come up with in the “bad” department. Hey, the Mariners just won their opening series on the road against a team favored by many to contend for a division title. We’ll have plenty of opportunities to critique losses when they happen.
For now, it’s been a positive start. Not a perfect one. But positive.