This 11-4 blowout by the Mariners wasn’t just a positive night because of the final score. No, what will please the team’s upper brass the most was some of the guys doing the biggest damage.
You had Justin Smoak collecting three hits, including a pair of doubles with runners in scoring position. Then, you had Michael Saunders with a pair of doubles as well in his first multi-extra-base-hit game since way back on May 15. Saunders, don’t forget, also had that home run over the weekend against the Reds, so he might be slowly emerging from that long, devastating slump that had derailed his 2013 season.
Both of those players are a lot further along in their development than guys like Nick Franklin and Brad Miller. That’s significant in that we’ve yet to see Miller and Franklin struggle yet as they inevitaly will.
With Saunders and Smoak, they’ve both gone through years of turmoil. If they can emerge from it looking solid, it would help this team enormously in the years ahead.
Smoak right now has a higher OPS than Kendrys Morales — .788 to .778. And Smoak’s slugging percentage is now up to .419 to go with a stellar .369 OBP.
For Saunders, he’s not as far along in that this really represents a few better-hitting games for him. But he used his power and speed tonight and the Mariners will take both those things anyplace they can find it.
Raul Ibanez kept on going and now has 22 home runs before the All-Star Break. It was Ibanez’s eighth homer off a lefthanded pitcher this season and also his third on an 0-2 pitch.
Felix Hernandez allowed two runs over seven innings and emerges with one of the easier wins he’ll ever notch.