Kyle Seager reached base in each of his five plate appearances out of the No. 2 spot on Tuesday. (AP)
By Brent Stecker
Outfielder Michael Morse’s two towering home runs may have taken over the highlights from the Mariners’ 7-1 win over the Athletics on Tuesday, but Seattle’s eight walks had just as much to do with the victory.
The Mariners have drawn 12 walks in their two games this season, something it took them seven games to accomplish last season. That patience is a continuation of the team’s strong spring training, Mariners broadcaster Rick Rizzs told “Afternoons with the Go 2 Guy” Wednesday.
“We saw that approach at spring training. The one thing about spring training is you can’t take the wins and the home runs with you … (but) the one thing you can take into the regular season is your approach,” Rizzs said.
For the Mariners, that approach doesn’t involve chasing pitches out of the strike zone very often.
“Eight walks last night – that showed me that these guys were taking what the A’s pitchers were gonna give them,” Rizzs said. “(Oakland pitcher) Jarrod Parker had a rough time trying to locate his fastball early in the ball game. He was falling behind in the count, the Mariners took advantage of a couple of walks there in the top of the third inning, and then, boom, there comes the home run from Michael Morse and it’s no longer a one-run deficit.”
The promising thing about the improved patience is how much of it came from the Mariners’ younger players. Leadoff man Michael Saunders reached three times. Third baseman Kyle Seager was on base each of his five trips to the plate from the No. 2 spot. Even first baseman Justin Smoak, who was hitless, drew two walks, including one with the bases loaded.
“The top of the order got on eight times, Michael Saunders got on three times, Kyle Seager got on all five times last night,” Rizzs said. “When you do that, and when the guys in the middle part of the order do what they’re capable of doing, you’ve got a chance to score some runs, and the Mariners won last night 7-1 by doing that.”