Dustin Ackley is hot. Not necessarily in an aesthetically pleasing way — unless you are a chick who digs a profound, well groomed beard. He’s hot in a metaphorical sense, and the Seattle Mariners need for things to stay that way. They are in the midst of an intense AL Wild Card race, and it’s time their second overall pick from the 2009 amateur draft helps to set a precedence for winning in the Pacific Northwest.
Ackley had a so-so first half, posting a line of .225-32-4-29-3 while playing Gold Glove caliber defense in left field. Today, facing one of the NL’s better pitchers in Julio Teheran, Ackley continued to be productive against the Atlanta Braves, going 2-for-5 with a home run and two runs scored.
The 26-year-old has been seeing the ball so well in the second half that he has been a revelation for the Mariners in the two-hole hitting in front of All-Star Robinson Cano. So far Ackley has recorded nine multi-hit endeavors since the break, producing a line of .360-12-3-9-1 over his last 18 games.
After winning Wednesday at home (something the team struggles to do) against the Braves, the Mariners are edging closer to .500 in the second half and now sit at 7-10 in that span of time and 59-54 overall.
The Mariners’ pitching has been stout all season, and if their playoff ambitions are going to come to fruition, it’s time their offense starts to reciprocate on the pitching staff’s successes. Cano and Kyle Seager have been strong for Seattle in 2014. If the trade deadline acquisitions of Austin Jackson and Kendrys Morales can be productive into September, they will nicely complement the meat of the order.
Ackley in turn needs to live up to his pedigree and continue to play consistent ball for the Mariners, because his streaky ways have been a microcosm for some of the Mariners’ underlying issues this season.