Everybody wants to believe in the Seattle Mariners, even ESNY.
Unfortunately, the old pattern has re-emerged. Seattle succeeds one year and fails to build off of it. This was apparent when the light-hitting Mariners lost two of three to the Yankees at T-Mobile Park this week. Seattle’s only win? A 1-0 walkoff in extra innings on Wednesday.
What’s worse is the Mariners were mostly healthy and throwing their best men at the Yankees for three nights. Now fourth in the AL West, perhaps old habits do indeed die hard.
Brand new players, same old Mariners. Look throughout the Mariners’ entire history and it’s one of two stories: They’re either lovable losers or a playoff team that always falls short of the World Series. Jon Bois summarizes it all in his epic 2020 miniseries, and FiveThirtyEight even noted in 2016 how unlucky the Mariners have been.
Both were on full display in the last three games. Seattle played from behind the entire series as the Yankees dominated two of their best young pitchers, Bryce Miller and Logan Gilbert. New York outscored the Mariners 20-7 and Seattle’s bats simply had no answer. Julio Rodriguez hit .307 with a home run in the series and still managed to kill a potential rally with an untimely strikeout on Monday.
Ten years ago, this team wasted Felix Hernandez’s prime years because it couldn’t score enough runs consistently. It would be a shame if that happened again but with Gilbert, Miller, and Luis Castillo.
Keep Gleyber Torres in the leadoff spot. Torres hit .333 against Seattle and continues to play well. He is riding an 11-game hitting streak and batting .333 over that stretch as well. Best of all, Gleyber Torres is thriving as New York’s leadoff man and hitting an even .300.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone makes lots of questionable decisions, namely not calling Anthony Rizzo to pinch-hit with the bases loaded in a scoreless tie Wednesday. Putting Gleyber Torres in the leadoff spot and forcing him to focus on contact, on the other hand, is one of his best calls as the Yankees skipper.
Aaron Judge seems unstoppable. The Yankee captain and reigning American League MVP is having yet another great season. Judge hit three home runs against the Mariners and is batting .298 on the year with a league-leading 18 homers.
What’s incredible is that Judge spent ten days on the injured list, and he’s still ahead of last year’s 62-home run pace. The odds of that happening again are incredibly unlikely and nobody should get their hopes up about it. But with Judge’s effortless swing, how can we not get excited again?