What Jerry Dipoto makes of Mariners’ uneven first two weeks

Apr 13, 2023, 1:01 PM | Updated: 1:47 pm

Seattle Mariners Cubs...

Mariners manager Scott Servais visits the mound on April 12, 2023 in Chicago. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners may not have been able to snap out of their slow start over the last week, but a 3-3 road trip was an improvement over their 2-5 homestand that came before it.

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“Better than Week 1,” Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto said Thursday during his weekly show with Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk. “It was a decided step forward… in the product on the field. The consistency, still – you know, it teeters.”

That was evident in the three losses that the 5-8 Mariners suffered on the road trip. They blew a two-run lead in the ninth inning and eventually lost in 12 innings last Sunday in Cleveland, followed up by tying the Cubs in the ninth the next day but losing again in extras, then surrendered an early seven-run lead in a 14-9 loss at Wrigley Field on Tuesday.

On the opposite ends of those three defeats, though, were three wins where Seattle played the brand of baseball the Mariners have come to be known for. In Cleveland, they picked up wins of 5-3 and 3-2 last Friday and Saturday, respectively, and on Wednesday they handled the Cubs 5-3.

“After a rough five-game start, over the last eight, I think our offense is showing up and doing the things that we thought the offense could do,” Dipoto said. “Our pitching has been taxed. Our bullpen has been beaten up early on in the season with some short starts, and that hasn’t been great. But otherwise, I feel like Week 2 was a step in the right direction.”

The Mariners have higher expectations for their season than what their slow start may suggest, and Dipoto said they will continue to.

“I think for most of the next five months, that’s all we’ll do is measure ourselves against what we think the best version of ourselves might be,” he said. “We’re still evolving. We have some new players on this team, it’s still just 13 games into our season – the ship just left the dock. But there’s so much left to learn about this team. So many young guys that are taking steps forward, or maybe they won’t. And we have veteran players, most of whom are off to good starts. The individual players I think are doing things that make it interesting here in these first two weeks and give you hope about what it will look like five months from now.”

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As things stand, Dipoto agrees with something Brock and Salk have discussed all week, which is that the Mariners’ issues early on have been more about execution than talent.

“Really, that is the story of our season. We have a ton of talent, and I think that’s recognized on a national or global level. Our execution over the course of the first week was poor,” Dipoto said. “I think that’s picked up quite a bit in the last seven, eight games. You’re gonna have the roller-coaster days; we had one the night before last in Chicago, and you can’t help as a fan – and frankly me, I’m sitting here watching it too – but ride the roller coaster and feel like the sun is falling on the earth. But it’s a single baseball game in a 162-game season, and I try to remind myself of it all the time. It’s a marathon. Sometimes you’re gonna stumble, and sometimes even the best players in the world have an off-day at work. And you wake up the next day and it looks different.”

Dipoto said he and Mariners manager Scott Servais recalled their playing days in the 1990s while talking this week.

“I did get mad watching (Tuesday’s) game. You can’t help it. I spent four years as a player in Colorado in the 90s, and that’s what it looked like,” Dipoto said. “Shortly afterward, I was texting back and forth with Scott in the evening, and we were remembering what it was like to play in those environments, especially at Wrigley Field on the nights where the wind’s blowing out. And then all of a sudden the anger gets tempered a little bit, and you think, ‘You know, I’ve been guilty of this, too,’ and it’d be hypocritical of me to not acknowledge the fact that it’s a really hard thing to go out there and be that consistent over a six-month period.”

The Jerry Dipoto Show airs live at 8:30 a.m. each Wednesday during Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk. Listen to this week’s edition at this link or in the podcast below.

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