Since ace starter Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma joined the Seattle Mariners, the team has had no problem with pitching, but the offense has certainly left a lot to be desired.
For part of the 2014 MLB season, that was still the case as the Mariners needed every bit of their league-leading 2.97 team ERA due to the inefficient offense. This is despite Robinson Cano having a great season, Kyle Seager becoming one of baseball’ s best third baseman, and Mike Zunino adding punch to the lineup.
The Mariners’ offense did not set the world on fire, but it did enough against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays in a 2-0 victory at Safeco Field on Wednesday. Kendrys Morales jacked a two-run homer off of R.A. Dickey in the first to supply the scoring. The pitching staff, led by Iwakuma’s strong 6.2 IP performance, did the rest.
Seattle still ranks 20th in all of baseball in runs scored, but the team has recently seen an offensive light show that had allowed the Mariners stay right in the thick of the AL Wild Card race. The Mariners have outscored opponents 76-38 in their last 19 games.
A lot of that has come from outfielder Dustin Ackley starting to drive in runs (eight RBIs in last seven games) and the continued power show by Seager (18 homers, 73 RBIs, 3.8 WAR), and Zunino looking like a player who could put up some solid offensive numbers. Zunino is not having a spectacular year getting hits (.212 batting average) but when he does make contact, he makes it count (18 HRs). This all goes along with Cano adjusting to the bigger Safeco Field. Instead of succumbing to its dimensions, Cano has embraced it with his .397 OBP, 40 extra-base hits, 66 RBIs and 5.2 WAR.
While pitching still makes or breaks a team come playoff time, the Mariners look like a team that could bash around a few teams, earn a Wild Card spot and combine their fantastic pitching with a solid offense.