Mariners notebook: Scott Servais not surprised by early success
More than once lately, manager Scott Servais has answered the question about how and the why the Mariners are having the success they are having with a simple explanation.
“We have a good team,” he says matter-of-factly.
What did he need to see from his club to label them as good? It’s one thing to see the group of names on paper in the offseason, go through a spring training with them and learn more about them off the field but an entirely different thing to see what happens once the lights come on and the games count. What has he learned about this team in the first four weeks of the season?
“You never know how the confidence or the fight in your team is going to be,” he said. “On paper it looks good but I think based on how we have played and how they responded – some adversity in games – we have given up leads a couple of times and we have come right back. Those are the type of things that stick with you for a long time, so if you can have that happen early in a season it really helps.”
Servais has said all along that he believed the Mariners would play a lot of one-run games and we have seen that. He also believes they are getting more comfortable in those situations and it would appear we have seen that as well since the team is currently 7-5 in one-run contests, winning their last six. In addition to one-run games, the hitters have excelled in two-out situations, driving in an American League best 58 runs.
“There’s a reason,” Servais said. “You can really feel it in our dugout. The next guy, ‘I got it, I got it.’ Maybe you don’t get the guy in all the time, man on third, less than two out, but the next guy up somehow gets a big hit and gets it done. That’s probably the one thing you just don’t know how your team is going to respond.”
And respond they have.
Norichika Aoki, LF
Ketel Marte, SS
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nelson Cruz, DH
Franklin Gutierrez, RF
Kyle Seager, 3B
Chris Iannetta, C
Dae-Ho Lee, 1B
Leonys Martin, CF
Felix Hernandez RHP
King Felix is going for career win 146, which would give him the all-time wins record for the Mariners.
Big week for Cano
In what should not be a surprise, Robinson Cano has been named the AL Player of the Week after hitting .516 with three doubles, four home runs and nine RBI’s last week. He led the majors in batting average, hits and total bases and finished tied for first in slugging percentage at 1.000.”The big thing is I have been able to help the team win,” said Cano before Monday’s game against the Rays. “But this is not about one player, it’s about the whole team. You have got to give credit to a guy like Aoki – like every at bat he takes five to six pitches. Marte, everyone in this clubhouse, we all contribute somehow some way to win this game.”Notes:
• I don’t believe Taijuan Walker’s Wednesday start was ever in doubt, but he did throw his bullpen today and all went well.
• There is a new addition in the Mariners clubhouse: A new pool table. The pool table was sitting in the middle of the clubhouse this afternoon with many of the parts still in boxes. It is expected to be assembled on Thursday.
• Injury updates: Charlie Furbush threw his third bullpen since being shut down in spring training with shoulder tendinitis. He threw 26 pitches, mixing in his breaking ball for the first time … Joaquin Benoit threw a light 16-pitch bullpen session, his first time off the mound since going on the DL. I am told both pitchers threw very well and both should throw again on Wednesday. Benoit is hoping to be ready to go on the next road trip and Servais has said that a rehab assignment may not be necessary for the veteran righty. As for Furbush, he is progressing toward throwing to hitters in a simulated inning … I spoke with Tony Zych who is also on the DL with shoulder tendinitis. He was sent home from Oakland for evaluation and relieved with what he heard from the doctor.
“There wasn’t anything extremely bad, just a little inflammation in there,” he said. “That is way better than what I thought at first.”
Zych has been shut down since going on the DL and is receiving treatment for the inflammation. He is hoping to resume throwing later this week.