Mariners are on pace to make MLB history — and not in a good way

Apr 11, 2024, 11:22 AM | Updated: Apr 12, 2024, 11:25 am

Seattle Mariners Jorge Polanco...

Jorge Polanco of the Seattle Mariners bats against the Boston Red Sox on March 29, 2024. (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

(Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

The 2024 Seattle Mariners are on pace to have more strikeouts than any team in MLB history.

If we were talking about the team’s pitching staff, that’d be awesome. But instead, this is centered once again around the Mariners’ bats.

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The Mariners came away with a much-needed 6-1 win in Toronto on Wednesday to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Blue Jays. But the Mariners struck out 15 times in 10 innings, with former M’s pitcher Yusei Kikuchi striking out nine over six innings in his start for Toronto. Seven of the nine M’s starters struck out at least one time, five starters struck out at least two times and Julio Rodríguez went 1 for 5 with four strikeouts.

Through 13 games, the Mariners have struck out 138 times, or 10.62 times per game, the latter of which is the worst mark in MLB. The Dodgers have 15 more strikeouts than the M’s this year, but they’ve also played two more games than Seattle has so far in 2024.

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If you pace out the M’s 10.62 strikeouts per game over a full 162-game season, that equates to 1,719.7 strikeouts, which would break an MLB record. Last year, the Minnesota Twins struck out a record 1,654 times, or 10.21 per game.

This is hardly new for the Mariners, who had the second-most strikeouts in MLB last year – which was also second-most in MLB history. Seattle hitters struck out 1,603 times in 2023, or 9.9 times per game.

The 2023 Mariners were the first team in MLB history to field two hitters with 200 or more strikeouts in a single season – Teoscar Hernández and Eugenio Suárez.

Neither Hernández or Suárez are with the Mariners anymore, nor is Jarred Kelenic, who struck out 31.7% of the time in 2023.

The Mariners put an emphasis on making more contact and limiting strikeouts this offseason, adding veteran bats like Mitch Garver, Jorge Polanco and Mitch Haniger while moving on from Hernández, Suárez and Kelenic.

Haniger has done a good job of putting the ball in play, and so far it has been him, Ty France and Josh Rojas as the team’s most consistent hitters.

Polanco and Garver, though, are two players who joined the team with reputations for controlling the strike zone and have so far struggled. Polanco has K’ed in 35.2% of his plate appearances and Garver had a 30% strikeout rate.

Yes, it is still early. It’s 13 games, or just over 8% of the 162-game season. But these strikeout results are alarming, especially considering who is and isn’t on the club from last year.

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Mariners are on pace to make MLB history — and not in a good way