What stands out about AL West-leading Seattle Mariners to Blowers

May 22, 2024, 3:30 PM

Seattle Mariners...

Cal Raleigh and Andrés Muñoz of the Seattle Mariners celebrated a win during a 2024 game. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

(Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

The first-place Seattle Mariners are in the midst of one of their toughest series of the season’s first two months, and they’re just one win away from taking the challenging four-game set at Yankee Stadium.

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The Mariners engineered a stunning ninth-inning comeback off New York Yankees closer Clay Holmes on Monday, and they held off a rally by the American League-leading Yankees on Tuesday night. Seattle (27-22) extended its AL West lead over the Texas Rangers (24-25) to three games in the process.

ROOT Sports color analyst and former Mariners third baseman Mike Blowers joined Seattle Sports Wyman and Bob before Tuesday’s matchup for a wide-ranging conversation on the M’s.

Co-host Bob Stelton asked Blowers if he uses a challenging early series against a playoff contender like the Yankees to see how Seattle stacks up.

“I think that you can do that. I think you should do that,” Blowers said. “I think when you look at different things and what the strengths and weaknesses are of different teams and quite frankly – at this point in the season – the Yankees don’t have a weakness, and that’s even without Gerrit Cole in their rotation right now. … They do everything well.

“So then you look at the Mariners and ask, ‘What do they do well?’ They pitch. Obviously the rotation is good. Their bullpen is really good. They’re starting to play some better defense, but the hitting has been inconsistent. So then you look at this series … and the pitching matchups are really strong for both teams.”

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What did Blowers see in M’s comeback?

The Mariners’ victory on Monday night came after putting up four runs – all earned – on a closer who hadn’t allowed an earned run all season, and they didn’t strikeout against Holmes, who had 23 strikeouts in 20 innings entering the game.

“After the game was over and I was on the bus heading back to the hotel, I was thinking about that inning and the thing that kept coming back to me is they just kept putting the ball in play, which is something that they’ve talked a lot about. And they put it in play against a really good closer,” Blowers said. “But if you go back and you think about it, Julio (Rodríguez) had a swinging bunt, there was a walk, they weren’t chasing outside the strike zone, then there’s another infield hit by (Luke) Raley, and all of a sudden you have the bases loaded with one and all the pressure is on the pitcher.

“The guys were able to come through and come up with some big hits to end up winning the ball game, including Ty France and (Dominic) Canzone with his sacrifice fly to right, which he almost hit it out of the ballpark. But everybody chipped in, and they put the ball in play.”

Can the Mariners build off momentum?

Co-host Dave Wyman asked Blowers if he believes the Mariners can build off strong performances against good teams like New York.

“I think there’s something to it for sure,” Blowers said. “I think that it helps with your overall confidence. So as an individual player or pitcher, if you end up stringing together a couple of good days, I think you can take off from that because you’re obviously doing some things right, and that’s what you’re looking for. These guys constantly have that battle on their hands of trying to get themselves into the right place or right position to have success at this level, and I think that you can build off of it that way. Wins and losses, I think that that is something that comes and goes, and when people ask me about momentum and winning games, I would always tell them, ‘Well, what day is Randy Johnson pitching? And I’ll tell you whether it’s momentum or not.’”

Listen to the full Wyman and Bob conversation with ROOT Sports’ Mike Blowers in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post. Catch Wyman and Bob on Seattle Sports from 2-7 p.m. weekdays.

More Seattle Mariners coverage

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• Is it time Mariners call up hot-hitting prospect from Double-A?
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• Lefko: Are Seattle Mariners’ chaotic comebacks the path back to October?

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