Coach Manny Acta: Who leads Mariners behind the scenes?

Aug 23, 2023, 1:36 PM

Seattle Mariners Eugenio Suárez J.P. Crawford...

Eugenio Suárez of the Seattle Mariners celebrates his home run with J.P. Crawford on July 18, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

For the third season in a row, the Seattle Mariners have gotten on a roll after a disappointing start.

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Entering Wednesday, the Mariners owned a 33-13 record since July 1, which brings to mind their surges in the previous two years.

In 2021, Seattle shook off a 31-35 start by going 59-37 the rest of the way and finish with the franchise’s first 90-win season since 2003. Then last year, it was a run of 22 wins in 25 games going into the All-Star break that brought the M’s back from a 29-39 start, and they wound up finishing with 90 wins again to end their long playoff drought.

To have the kind of resolve year in and year out to reverse poor starts requires good leadership, and that’s something the Mariners certainly have in their clubhouse. Third base coach Manny Acta, who has been on Scott Servais’ staff for all eight seasons since he became Seattle’s manager in 2016, shared Tuesday who the key leaders behind the scenes have been when he joined Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy on The Dugout.

“I think everything started last year, and a lot has to do with with Geno and J.P.,” Acta said, referring to third baseman Eugenio Suárez and shortstop J.P. Crawford. “You know, they carry the leadership here, the veteran leadership here, and they’re guys that never get too low or too high.”

Acta said it’s especially true with Suárez, a 32-year-old slugger who has turned into a surprisingly great defender in his two seasons since coming to the Mariners from the Reds in a trade.

“Geno’s a guy, he can strike out three times and he continues to be the same guy, then he pops a homer the next at-bat and plays great defense,” Acta said.

Two other veterans were name-checked by Acta: outfielder Teoscar Hernández and catcher Tom Murphy, the latter of whom is currently on the injured list.

“They keep everybody else kind of on the ground level because, you know, Teo’s been around and so has Geno,” Acta said. “… The confidence here, it’s good, but they’re never overconfident. They they have learned over the years that teams like Oakland can do a number on you when you’re least expecting it, and that’s the name of the game. So I think a lot has to do with the way Geno and J.P. keep most of these guys in line when it comes down to playing hard every day. And also Tom Murphy is a big part of it, he’s (just) not around right now.”

The Dugout, a dedicated hour of Mariners talk and interviews on Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy, airs at 1 p.m. every Tuesday on Seattle Sports during the Mariners season. Listen to this week’s edition, with the full conversation with Acta in the final segment, in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

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Coach Manny Acta: Who leads Mariners behind the scenes?