Don’t look now, but the 2013 Seattle Mariners can hit. I know, I know, you’re waiting for the punchline, right?
After all, we’re talking about the Mariners. This is a team that has redefined ineptitude at the plate over the last couple of seasons.
The team that would celebrate if it actually hit .240 for the year.
After beating the Baltimore Orioles on May 1st, Seattle finished an impressive 5-2 homestand where it scored 30 runs over seven games. These are obviously not massive numbers, but they are a good sign for Seattle fans.
After that game, the Mariners had a team average of .245, which ranked 18th in Major League Baseball. Eighteenth! Stop the presses!
But wait, there is more. The Mariners are 22nd in on-base percentage at .311 for the year. Not quite as impressive as 18th, but certainly better than past years.
I know what you are going to say. The power numbers aren’t any good, right? Wrong. Seattle has 30 home runs, which is 13th in Major League Baseball.
Who has led the way? Kyle Seager is leading this team offensively, with his .288 average to go along with three home runs and 13 RBI. Michael Saunders is back from injury and batting .286 in 2013. Mike Morse has a nice five-game hitting streak and leads the team with nine home runs. Kendrys Morales is heating up and is now hitting .267 for the year.
Even Justin Smoak (.240) and Dustin Ackley (.245) are starting to contribute consistently after starting very slow for the year. Suddenly, the Mariners are looking like a genuine, bona fide offensively-effective squad.
Obviously Jesus Montero (.212) still needs to get into a groove and shortstop has been a poor combination of Brendan Ryan (.149) and Robert Andino (.184). Is Nick Franklin ready to come up?
Now, granted, we need to temper excitement about the offense and remember that the Mariners are still trailing the Oakland A’s by 5.5 games. In addition, this offensive production has not been consistent throughout the season. The Mariners went through a stretch in April against the Tigers and Rangers where they scored three runs in four games.
The offense has played better at home, which is another good sign. However, we will see how this team does when it has to play 14 of its next 17 games on the road.
Still, this is what fans were hoping to see. As astutely tweeted by Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times:
Veterans like Mike Morse and Kendrys Morales blending with youngsters like Ackley, Seager and Jesus Montero to create a solid, if not spectacular offense.
At the moment, the Mariners are a decent, if not good, offensive team. Who would have thought?