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Servais: With younger roster, Mariners will add more structure and discipline

Scott Servais said the Mariners' ship will be tightened up "by design" this spring. (AP)

Missing in action for the 2018 Seattle Mariners was their C the Z – “Control the Zone” – philosophy. One of the tentpoles of the organization’s ideology was put to the test at the big league level and the results were not particularly good.

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In an interview Tuesday morning on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk, Mariners manager Scott Servais acknowledged that Seattle’s failure at the plate particularly in executing C the Z was one reason why the team stumbled badly in the second half of last season.

“When things start going bad and you are losing ballgames, what is your core? What is your foundation?” Servais said. “For us, you hear us talk C the Z. When stuff started going bad and the foundation wasn’t strong enough, and the fact that controlling the zone is our identity? We didn’t have guys in the lineup that really did that. And it cost us.”

It is tough to win on a consistent basis with four regulars in the lineup posting sub-.300 on-base percentages, but that is where the Mariners were in 2018. A new year brings not only new players but new opportunities, and Servais looks to take advantage with a younger mix reporting to spring training.

“I am excited about getting to camp,” Servais said. “The one thing when you have this many new players join an organization, there is a certain way we go about our business and the ship, it will be tightened up a little bit this spring and it is by design. I think that is a good thing.

“I know with younger players, obviously a little more structure, a little bit more discipline sometimes is a good thing. I know that’s where we are headed this year. Being totally honest and and up front and open about that, I think it is going to be important for us going forward.”

That goes for the returning veteran players, as well. Regardless of whether or not that veteran was a C the Z player coming into the organization, more will be asked of everyone, including an understanding that the philosophy is the team’s identity and to move forward everyone must be on the same page.

“You have got to get on base,” said Servais. “From day 1 you will hear myself, (new hitting coach) Tim Laker, (new pitching coach) Paul Davis, our coaching staff, preaching about that is our identity. In football you have got to control the line of scrimmage. The Seahawks went back to running the ball and what did they do? They won 10 games. They controlled the line of scrimmage. We need to control the zone. That will be key for us.”

You can listen to the full interview with Servais on Brock and Salk in the embedded player in this post or download a podcast of it at this link.

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