Seattle Mariners Notebook: What’s behind offense’s big numbers?

Mar 19, 2024, 6:00 PM

Seattle Mariners Jorge Polanco...

Jorge Polanco of the Seattle Mariners after hitting a home run on March 10, 2024. (John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

(John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners have scored 56 runs in their last seven games. So now do spring training numbers matter? Nope. But how they get to those numbers, that matters greatly to manager Scott Servais.

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“I just love our approach right now,” Servais said following the Mariners’ 12-2 win Tuesday over the Rockies in Peoria (box score here). “Guys understanding what we’re trying to do based on who we’re facing and then sticking with it throughout the game. And not just one or two guys but up and down the lineup, everybody buying in and we’re getting great results.”

Mitch Haniger hit his fourth home run of the spring, and Dylan Moore – whose camp Servais has praised in recent days – hit his first while going 3 for 3 and driving in four runs.

Jorge Polanco, who has hit almost from Day 1, recorded two more and drove in two. And Ty France, who is getting more comfortable with the offseason changes at the plate he made, picked up two hits of his own.

“It’s a lot of guys chipping in. It’s exactly what we’re looking for this time of spring.”

Most encouraging for Servais is seeing what is emphasized in early meetings or “chalk talks” being put into play in the afternoon games.

“It’s really important,” he said. “The thing that stood out for me so far in this camp is our two-strike hitting. The number of balls that we put in play with two strikes that have been leading to rallies, leading to big innings and sometimes even home runs. They’re not trying to slug, but they’re just having good at-bats as they get deep in the count, which is a byproduct of all the things we’ve talked about and a byproduct of our roster. We’re built differently this year, and you’re going to see it play out as the season goes on.”

Julio Rodríguez, who went 2 for 3 with a double Tuesday, sees the messaging early in the day being received.

“I love it,” he said. “I feel like it’s bringing so much more identity to to our lineup. It’s not like just a bunch of individuals. I feel like we’re all tied into things together and kind of passing the baton to the next guy, and kind of setting the table for the next guy. So I feel like it’s it’s really fun to be able to play so connected like that because that’s how you become a tough team to beat.”

Clase leaves an impression

Outfield prospect Jonatan Clase, who was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma on Monday, made a very good impression in big league camp.

“He was the most improved player in our camp, hands down, from where he was a year ago,” Servais said Tuesday morning.

What stood out in particular was his defense.

“It went to a different level,” Servais said. “It wasn’t that he was a bad defender, just very inexperienced. He didn’t look comfortable even tracking balls. He was much more comfortable coming in. We saw him go back on a few balls this spring and finish the play.”

In sending him out, Servais emphasized the importance of getting more work on the corners in the outfield as the Mariners have center locked down for some time.

“He’s going to get the opportunity to play all three outfield positions in Tacoma,” he said. “As a 21 year old, it will be a good challenge for him as he’s playing against veteran guys, a lot of guys that have played in the big leagues. But I love the way he works. It is very intentional. For a guy that is as young as he is, when he goes out and he’s working on something, you know exactly what he’s doing. And he keeps doing it until he gets that perfect.

“He’s going to learn a lot this year. We’ll learn a lot about him, but he’s on the map.”

Seattle Mariners notes

• Wednesday is the final of the two off days of camp for the Mariners’ major leaguers, although at least one will be working as Bryan Woo is scheduled to throw in a minor league game at 1 p.m. in Peoria.

• Coming out of the off day, the Mariners will play their only Arizona night game of the spring when they take on the Reds in Goodyear at 6:40 p.m. Thursday. That game, which will overlap with coverage of the WSU men’s basketball NCAA Tournament game on Seattle Sports 710 AM, can be found live on the Seattle Sports app.

More on the Mariners from Seattle Sports

AL West Preview: How do Mariners stack up vs Rangers, Astros?
Notebook: Opening day starter set, plus a pitch clock wrinkle
Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez details his offseason meeting with Servais
Drayer: How Servais’ Mariners view start of season differently
J.P. Crawford: Trade to Seattle Mariners ‘saved my career, saved my life’

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