Why Mariners’ Carlos Santana will be an important player in playoffs

Oct 1, 2022, 12:03 PM

Mariners Carlos Santana...

Carlos Santana scores for the Mariners against the Cleveland Guardians on Sept. 3, 2022. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The Mariners are a young team, but that doesn’t mean they lack for veteran players. What do they do lack, however, is much postseason experience.

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That’s especially true for Seattle’s hitters, and it’s exactly why the presence of Carlos Santana should be invaluable in October.

“One player that I’m going to watch really carefully, who’s had to have more at-bats than expected just because of the injuries around them, is Santana,” MLB Network insider Jon Morosi said Thursday to Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob. “… If this team gets a little anxious in the postseason because there is so little playoff experience among the core guys, I think Santana, who’s played in the World Series, understands what that’s all about. I think he’s going to become a very important player for the Mariners.”

The 36-year-old Santana has already shown a lot in his three months with Seattle that fall in line with Morosi’s comment. While he has just a .173 batting average in 73 games with Seattle, his 15 home runs have certainly helped, as has his knack for coming up big in the clutch.

Then there’s his ability to work the count to earn a walk or at the very least drive up a pitcher’s pitch count.

“I think his at-bats, because of all of his experience, he has a way of slowing the game down when he’s at the plate,” Morosi said.

If ever there is a time and place where that is important, it’s the playoffs, something Santana knows well having appeared in three postseasons, including a run to the World Series with Cleveland in 2016.

“Santana has been there for a long time,” Morosi said. “… He’s going to force pitchers to throw a lot of pitches. That is something that is a really crucial skill when you’re talking about the way to manage not just a game but the series. Even if one game gets out of hand, keep working good at-bats. If there’s all of a sudden a five-run lead in the fourth inning, don’t think about the game being lost; think about at-bat to at-bat, force their closer to get into the game. And even if you lose that game, you have built some momentum and forced the other team to spend some bullets there. I just think that’s a really important mentality to the players that have had experience, and he’s one of them.”

You can listen to the full conversation with Morosi in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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