(Kyle Seager congratulates Wily Mo Pena after his fourth-inning homer today. Photo by Associated Press)
Naturally, most of the talk after Wednesday’s 9-2 win was about the Mariners’ resurgent offense. Here’s a stat for you: the Mariners haven’t score 21 runs in back-to-back games since Aug. 8-9, 2007.
And more stats: 15-for-25 (.600) with seven runs, five doubles and two homers. That’s what Kyle Seager hit on this road trip, raising his average from .182 to .313. In the four games in Cleveland, he was 12-for-17 (.706) after going 4-for-4 today, with three doubles. As Brendan Ryan said, “I don’t know how you can have a better series than Seager did.”
Dustin Ackley, who played on teams with Seager since youth ball in North Carolina, and was his teammate for three years at North Carolina, said he’s seen it before.
“Oh, absolutely. Every year I was there, he’d get on these streaks. This streak, the past few days, is probably the best one I’ve ever seen from him. I’ve seen some close, but that’s probably the best I’ve seen. What makes it better is that it’s up here, and against great pitching, in a park he’s never played in before. It all adds up to a pretty good week.”
Manager Eric Wedge said, “He’s a young player, gone from Double-A to Triple-A to the big leagues here in a short period of time. So there’s always going to be a certain amount of time to adapt and adjust and get a feel for what’s going on. He’s hitting up there with some confidence, he’s using the entire field. He’s always hit wherever he’s been, and he’s really swinging the bat well right now.”
Seager, who had six hits in the Tuesday doubleheader, called it, “Definitely the best 24 hours I’ve had in awhile. It’s been a good couple games here. Hopefully it’ll continue for a little bit and I can ride the wave. I’m starting to get a little more comfortable in there, and when you get comfortable, you start seeing the ball a little better. When you get in those times where you’re seeing the ball well, you can recognize the good pitches to hit and everything like that. I was fortunate today to get some good pitches to hit. And when I hit ’em, they fell. Sometimes it goes the other way and thankfully I was on the positive end today.”
But really, it’s more than just Seager, as impressive as he was. The Mariners are hitting .284 in August — and August is almost over. That’s more than three weeks of sustained hitting. By contrast, they hit .218 in July.
As Wedge said Tuesday, the improvement has been keyed by the rookies. Ackley looks like the real deal at second base. Mike Carp had a 20-game hit streak ended Monday (he has since hit in two straight, but struck out four times today). Seager is over .300. Trayvon Robinson had six hits Tuesday to bring his average to .326, but fell to .304 after an 0-for-3. Casper Wells has struggled since getting hit by Brandon Morrow, going 4-for-20 on the road trip, but he showed a power burst with homers in four straight games. Wily Mo Pena is not a rookie, but he hit two homers on the trip, including one in today’s game in which he went 4-for-4 with his first walk of the season.
Franklin Gutierrez has picked up his average. Even Ichiro, as his injured teammate, David Aardsma, tweeted today, “last 8 games, Ichiro is hitting .393.”
It all not sustainable, but some of it may be, and some intriguing pieces are emerging for next year. And it’s sure a lot more interesting watching a team that’s creating some offensive excitement than the mess we saw for the first four months.