Mariners don’t expect to keep mashing homers despite impressive early show of power

Apr 8, 2016, 4:30 PM | Updated: 4:47 pm
Leonys Martin and Kyle Seager each had a hand in the Mariners’ nine home runs hit in Texas. (...
Leonys Martin and Kyle Seager each had a hand in the Mariners' nine home runs hit in Texas. (AP)

There was a concerted effort in the offseason by Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto to bring in players who could get on base and steal bases, but in the first week of the season it doesn’t appear he had to sacrifice power to do so.

Seattle hit nine home runs in its opening three-game series in Texas, an impactful show made all the more impressive by the fact that four came off the bat of Robinson Cano alone.

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Obviously the pace being set by Cano and the Mariners won’t be sustainable for the entirety of the season, but could Seattle be one of the more powerful teams in baseball this year?

It’s possible, but don’t necessarily count on it. Both manager Scott Servais and third baseman Kyle Seager tempered expectations when it comes to how often the team will hit the ball out of the ballpark.

“I think being realistic we’re probably not going to see that kind of power up and down our whole lineup all year,” Servais said.

That statement falls in line with what he and Dipoto said all offseason about shaping the team in a way that complements Safeco Field, which has always been one of the least hitter-friendly parks in the majors.

To that point, Servais mentioned that players like Luis Sardinas and Leonys Martin, who both homered in Texas, probably aren’t going to be the home-run leaderboards as the season wears on. But there are other players like Seager, Cano and Nelson Cruz who very well could be on those lists.

“Our core of guys in the middle of our lineup can hit the ball out of any ballpark. We do have that kind of power,” Servais said.

Seager, who has hit at least 20 homers in each of the past four seasons, was understandably excited with what Cano has done so far but knows there’s more to Seattle’s plan than the long ball.

“I think everybody would like to catch what Cano has,” he joked before Friday’s home opener against Oakland. “You get guys on base to be able to knock guys in. They go hand in hand. You can’t just have a lineup full of guys to knock people in if nobody’s on base. Solo homers don’t win a whole lot of games.”

The Mariners were made aware of that fact Monday when solo shots by Cano and Seager provided all their runs in a 3-2 loss. Things looked a lot better in their 10-2 and 9-5 wins in the final two games of the set, both victories featuring not just power but also timely hitting by the less powerful players in the lineup.

“We got a lot faster but we didn’t lose too, too much in the power department, either,” Seager said about the Mariners’ roster. “I think it’s pretty balanced.

“But yeah, nine homers (in three games) is a lot …”

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