Dipoto: Mariners’ trademark this year is finding ways to win games they ‘historically’ haven’t
The Mariners are 18-9 in one-run games this year, which means they lead the majors both in the number of one-run games played and the most wins in those contests.
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said that has become a calling card of sorts for the team, which is particularly notable considering Seattle hasn’t been particularly successful in close games in recent years.
For Dipoto, it all started in the first game of the season, a 2-1 victory over defending AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians, as he told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny, Dave and Moore (hear the full segment here).
“It was probably as evident as it was ever going to be on opening night when Félix (Hernández) threw very well and we had to kinda grind through against a team that won more than anybody else last year in the American League,” Dipoto said. “We found a way to win a game that frankly over the course of recent Mariners history we would more likely find a way to lose.
“That has become the trademark of this team, finding the way to win the game that historically we’ve not done a great job of.”
Winning those kinds of games has become more and more of a regularity for the Mariners, who won a whopping 11 one-run games during a recent 17-4 run.
While opening night was the first clear sign that the Mariners had this type of grit to them, Dipoto said there were indications leading up to that day.
“In spring training, you got a very different vibe from this group about how they were wired, and the internal build on this club is so different than even in the past few years. More enthusiasm, these guys enjoy being with one another, and you could see it starting to come together in the spring.”
And when a serious blow was dealt to the team with Robinson Canó’s suspension last month, Dipoto said the players were able to roll with the punches and find a way to feed off the adversity.
“This group rallied together three weeks ago or so when we found out Robinson Canó would be suspended, and they pulled together emotionally,” he said. “So in addition to the fortitude and toughness they showed on the field, they showed some emotional resiliency, and I think that’s kinda what this team has been about. It’s been really fun to watch.”