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Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Seattle Mariners Analysis: 3 Things That Stand Out After a Victory

By meerna Jul11,2024
Seattle Mariners Analysis: 3 Things That Stand Out After a Victory

After losing the series for six straight, the Seattle Mariners got back on track by defeating the San Diego Padres in two games to win the Vedder Cup.

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Now the team is one step closer to taking the lead in the American League West heading into the All-Star break. The Mariners have just one series remaining before the Midsummer Classic, a four-game set that begins Thursday with the Los Angeles Angels.

Here are three things that stand out after the victory heading into the All-Star Game.

The pitching staff continues to be exceptional

It’s certainly not a revelation, but the Padres’ two-game win was a small reminder of how special the Mariners’ pitching staff is. In two games against a lineup that ranks ninth in MLB in scoring and has four All-Star selections, Seattle has allowed just three runs on 10 hits and four walks. Wednesday’s clean sheet was only the second time San Diego has failed to score a point since May 25.

First-time All-Star Logan Gilbert got things started with a stellar performance Tuesday, earning a shutout in the seventh inning and delivering 7 2/3 innings with three runs allowed on four hits and one walk. It was just another in what has been a season of strong performances for the right-handed pitcher, who is starting to build his Cy Young case.

Bryce Miller took over and had one of his best starts of the season the next day. Miller threw six scoreless innings and kept the Padres’ lineup quiet despite only one strikeout. It was the fourth time Miller had held an opponent scoreless this season and the first time against a winning team or in a road game since his second start of the season against Milwaukee.

Gregory Santos also made his debut for the team, and the powerful right-handed pitcher looked as electric as advertised. Santos flashed the 100-plus-mph sinker and 90-plus-mph slider that have been a staple of his repertoire. Plus, the fire he showed in the mix with San Diego’s Jurickson Profar — the first batter he’s faced this season — seems to be the kind of edge this team has lacked at times.

The problem of deletions will not go away

The Mariners’ goal this offseason has been to create a lineup with fewer swing-and-miss hits. It tried, but it didn’t work out, and Tuesday’s eight-hit performance may be an indicator that strikeouts will simply be a problem the Mariners will have to live with for the rest of the season.

The eight runs scored in that game were welcomed by Seattle’s sluggish offense, but even the Mariners were destined to find offensive production from struggling Padres rookie Adam Mazur. The right-handed pitcher entered the game with a 7.52 ERA, a high walk rate, a low chase rate and a strikeout rate that ranked in the bottom of the MLB in the first percentile, according to Statcast.

The Mariners did what they were supposed to do against Mazur, scoring five runs and chasing him after 4 2/3 innings. But they struck him out six times, a career-high for the 23-year-old, and 11 times overall. After striking out 13 more in Wednesday’s win, Seattle has struck out 10 or more times in 14 consecutive games and 23 of the last 31.

The Mariners may be able to solve their strikeout problem by the end of the trade season, but ultimately the team will need to win games where strikeouts are a part of their offense.

Time for health

If you’re a playoff contender and hope to win a division title, you need to win games against weaker teams, and the Mariners have plenty of them heading into the trade deadline.

The series opener against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday marks the start of a 13-game series sandwiched between the All-Star Break and gives the team a chance to regain the lead it once had in the AL West. Ten of those 13 games will come against the sub-.500 Angels and the White Sox, the latter of whom has the worst record in MLB. The other three games will be at home against an Astros team currently hot on the heels of the Mariners (2 1/2 games down at the time of publication but leading Miami 9-1 in the sixth inning). The Astros have used a soft schedule, while Seattle struggled before the series with San Diego, to catch up with the Mariners, so this is Seattle’s time to return the favor.

This is not only a chance to improve their division standing, but also a chance to get closer to the top two and get a home series in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Mariners have been a much better team at home this season (30-18 at home, 21-25 on the road), and they are currently seven games behind the second-place Baltimore Orioles in the AL and 7 1/2 games behind the AL-leading Cleveland Guardians.

It’s also worth noting that this is a prime opportunity for the offense to build some momentum. The Angels and White Sox rank 27th and 28th in team ERA, respectively, while the Astros have a shaky starting rotation and several key bullpen players who have had inconsistent seasons.

More about Seattle Mariners

• The future of the Mariners’ minor league affiliate is currently uncertain
• Mariners place OF on IL, recall talented prospect from Tacoma
• World Series winner who could be a role model for Mariners
• Rost: Six hitters who could fit into Mariners lineup
• Salk: Seattle Mariners have two types of players they could get in a trade

By meerna

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