Mariners lineup may be more dangerous in playoffs than it looks
There’s no getting around the fact that the Mariners’ lineup doesn’t look as fearsome as the one the Houston Astros will deploy in their American League Division Series matchup.
Only three qualifying batters for Seattle had an OPS over .700 and just Julio Rodríguez posted one above .800 during the 2022 season, while the Astros had five over .700 including four who were over .800 for the season. Houston also has the benefit of most of its players being experienced in the playoffs, while several of Seattle’s key hitters were experiencing postseason baseball for the first time last weekend in Toronto.
If you dig a little deeper into Seattle’s lineup, like TBS MLB play-by-play announcer Brian Anderson has, you might find a glimmer of hope for the M’s in the best-of-five series against their AL West rival and the team with the second-most wins in all of MLB this year.
“My opinion with the Mariners is you have a few guys who have had bad seasons but have had great moments,” Anderson said Tuesday to Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk, “and have the ability to have huge moments in the postseason.”
Anderson, who is calling the M’s-Astros series for TBS, pointed to a couple of players who already came up big in the Wild Card sweep in Toronto as examples.
“We’ve already seen that with (Carlos) Santana, you’ve already seen that with (Adam) Frazier,” he said.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) October 8, 2022
Santana, a 36-year-old switch-hitter who is playing in his fifth career postseason, had a big hit from each side of the plate in Saturday’s 10-9 comeback win, including a three-run homer (right-handed after the Blue Jays put in lefty reliever Tim Mayza) that went a long way in getting the M’s moving in the right direction after falling behind by seven runs. Not bad for a player who hit under .200 in 73 games with Seattle following a midseason trade from Kansas City.
The 30-year-old Frazier, meanwhile, struggled in 2022 after coming to Seattle in an offseason trade from San Diego, failing to regain the form that earned him a starting spot at second base on the 2021 National League All-Star team as a Pittsburgh Pirate. He slashed just .238/.301/.311 with three homers, 22 doubles and four triples in 156 games, but that didn’t matter once the postseason started. He went 4 for 9 against the Blue Jays, with three hits coming in the clincher and the last being the go-ahead RBI double that gave Seattle its one and only lead of the game in the ninth inning.
“I’ve seen a lot of Frazier in the National League Central (because) I still do Brewers games,” Anderson said of the former longtime Pirate. “That guy was a killer. I mean, he was such a good hitter and Mariners fans really haven’t seen that from him, but they will and they saw it Saturday. He can really hit.”
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) October 9, 2022
The beauty of the postseason, according to Anderson, is that everybody starts fresh, and that can be a boost for players who scuffled during the regular season.
“I think when you can scrub the batting average off the board and start with a playoff series, that makes a big difference for a lot of these guys,” he said. “So I see a lot of that with the Mariners.”
You can listen to the full conversation with Anderson, which includes why the Mariners and their fanbase in the playoffs reminds him of a recent NBA championship team, in the podcast below.
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