Morosi: Mariners’ lineup missing veteran leadership, path forward tough because of Angels

May 21, 2022, 10:03 AM | Updated: 10:32 am
Mariners Mitch Haniger Kyle Seager...
Kyle Seager of the Seattle Mariners celebrates with Mitch Haniger after hitting a two-run home run. (Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
(Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Entering Saturday’s game in Boston, the Mariners are a season-worst six games under .500 after dropping four of their last five contests.

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Even with their early-season struggles a year ago, the Mariners were never six games under .500 at any point in the season. This year, a lineup that entered the season with a lot of promise has failed to deliver the necessary results of late.

After averaging 4.8 runs per game in a 9-7 April, the Mariners are averaging just 3.25 runs per game in May. As a result, Seattle is just 8-16 this month entering Saturday.

So was the Mariners’ lineup – and roster as a whole – overestimated entering the 2022 season? Or is this just a poor stretch?

MLB Network insider Jon Morosi shared what he’s seeing from the Mariners compared to the rest of the AL West during a Friday conversation with Wyman and Bob on Seattle Sports 710 AM.

“If you just look 1-9 (in the starting lineup) right now, without (right fielder) Mitch Haniger – and I think that’s the key one,” Morosi said. “Not having Mitch is a huge loss for them because when you compare 1-9, objectively, what Seattle has right now and compare it to the Angels with (Mike) Trout and (Shohei) Ohtani and (Anthony) Rendon and Taylor Ward has played great and Brandon Marsh has played great and they’ve got a really good defense up the middle, and now you compare them to the Astros and Jerry Peña has basically out-hit Carlos Correa so far this year and (José) Altuve is still Altuve and Yordan Álvarez is one of the best five or six power hitters in the game.”

Objectively, Morosi said, it’s very clear the Mariners are “just not right now as good” as the Angels or Astros when it comes to their lineup.

“They’re just not. And I think that, to me, especially is the case without Haniger there,” Morosi said. “And you start to wonder, what is their path? What is their path from here to the postseason?”

That path, Morosi said, will require Seattle’s pitching to be elite throughout the rest of the 2022 season.

“I think the pitching is going to have to be excellent. And by the way, I think it is quite good on many nights. I think they’ve really had some good performances there,” he said. “But the pitching is going to have to be extraordinary. When you consider, especially again, how well the Angels have pitched and you’ve got (Justin) Verlander looking like a Cy Young candidate again (with Houston), where are you better than your competition? And I think the Mariners, part of their story has been the rapid rise of the Angels and how good they’ve been.”

Morosi reiterated that Haniger, who has played just nine games this season, being out of the middle of the lineup is a massive loss. Morosi also brought up one of the Mariners’ big bats from 2021 who is no longer on the roster.

“I do think they might be missing that veteran leadership that (Kyle) Seager gave them,” Morosi said.

Seager retired this past offseason after a brief stint in free agency after the Mariners declined his club option for the 2022 season. Seager hit 35 home runs and drove in 101 runs for Seattle last year. He spent his entire 11-year career with the Mariners.

You look at how they reacted last year when the season ended, I think that was that was a big day for them, and it showed the emotion of how much they’ve missed that veteran presence that Seager brought,” Morosi said.

The Mariners are “missing a couple components” right now, Morosi said, and aren’t getting any breaks because of the Angels’ hot start and the Astros continuing to be a top contender.

“It’s really hard to find a way to chart that path (to the postseason),” Morosi said. “It’s just more challenging than I would have thought at the outset to be able to find a way to compete against the Astros and the Angels.”

Listen to the full conversation at this link or in the player below.

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Morosi: Mariners’ lineup missing veteran leadership, path forward tough because of Angels