Dipoto: Ty France’s 2nd half, biggest moments from Mariners’ season
Oct 21, 2022, 10:40 AM
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
The Mariners are in reflection mode as their season is over after 90 wins and a playoff appearance for the first time since 2001.
Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto did a bit of looking back on the season during The Jerry Dipoto Show on Seattle Sports 710 AM on Thursday, including Ty France’s up-and-down year, the biggest moments from the season as well as what making the playoffs and winning a series meant to the team.
Ty France’s year
Ty France was superb for the Mariners in 2021 and he got off to an even better start in 2022, slashing .308/.376/.470 in the first half of the year with 11 home runs and 49 RBIs as he was named to the All-Star Game for the first time.
But he dealt with a few injuries to his elbow and wrist and saw his production dip on his way to a .233/.291/.394 slash line in the second half.
Is there any concern with France going forward given his second half struggles?
“I don’t think very concerned. Ty’s always been a terrific hitter, and for whatever reason he didn’t have a great second half,” Dipoto said. ” … I do think that there was a period of time in there, when he got so conscious of the ball running in on him that he just started to drift open and swing at bad pitches. Any type of slump is almost always going to be predicated by the pitches that you swing at. The same (with) your successes … And Ty swung at much worse pitches for the bulk of the second half of the season.”
Dipoto said he’s not concerned by that cold stretch because France is a “feel-to-hit guy” who sees the ball well and hits it and finds open space.
He also thinks France’s lingering injuries were a major factor.
“He was as banged up as anybody,” Dipoto said.
France and many others, Dipoto said, dealt with “small under-the-hood injuries” near the end of the year, which showed a lot about the character and fight of France and the Mariners.
“These guys just kept fighting through it and the result was we got to the postseason. And Ty helped us get there,” Dipoto said. “And I’m sure that starting in spring training, we’ll see the same Ty France that we’ve always seen, which is just a good hitter.”
Season’s biggest moments
You don’t get to 90 wins and a playoff appearance without some key moments along the way, especially considering the Mariners were 10 games under .500 in June.
Dipoto was asked what moment or moments solidified the personality of the 2022 Mariners and stood out the most to him.
“This is going to predate when all of the real magic started for our team, but the first of those moments happened when we were planning a midseason game with the Oakland A’s and it was during the very brief Justin Upton era,” Dipoto said. “… He had a huge pinch-hit home run off of A.J. Puk, and it just changed (the game). We wound up coming back and winning that game where we had nothing going offensively … And then we started playing like we played the rest of the year.”
That kicked off a 14-game winning streak that totally changed the season for the Mariners. That included a four-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays, who the M’s swept in the playoffs as well. That Blue Jays series in July had key moments from one midseason addition.
“In the series against Toronto, the home runs that Carlos Santana hit in that series to create the momentum. The 14-game streak was awesome,” Dipoto said. “I don’t remember a higher time in our regular season than when we went through that four-game set at home with Toronto, because they were all winnable games for the Blue Jays and we found a way, and we found a way while we were banged up and we had guys on the sideline. And those home runs that Carlos delivered really stood out to me in so many ways. You can pick big moments throughout the season that you won’t forget, but those were real drivers for me from a momentum perspective.”
Making the playoffs
The Mariners ended the longest active drought in North American sports, and that should be a big building block heading forward.
“Our players, the experience that we gained through the playoffs, the two rounds, seeing what we did, making the big comeback in Toronto, but most especially seeing what the bar looks like or what we need to hop over in order to achieve what we want to achieve in ’23, it was a great experience,” Dipoto said.
Listen to The Jerry Dipoto Show at this link or in the player below.