Servais confident Mariners offense ‘will turn it around’

Jul 3, 2024, 10:09 PM | Updated: Jul 4, 2024, 4:23 pm

Seattle Mariners OF Julio Rodriguez...

Julio Rodríguez of the Seattle Mariners reacts after a strike during a 2024 game. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

SEATTLE – The Seattle Mariners are mired in one of their worst stretches of the season, and the offense that’s been the team’s clear weakness has cratered to a new low in the process.

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However, manager Scott Servais remains steadfast in his team’s ability to turn things around the plate.

The Mariners entered Wednesday’s matchup with the Baltimore Orioles 3-9 over the past 12 games. During that stretch, the offense has put up numbers that rank last or near the bottom of the league in just about every meaningful offensive category. The M’s are last in runs scored (36), home runs (nine), batting average (.185), slugging percentage (.301), wOBA (.258) and strikeout rate (30.5%) since June 19.  They’re also 27th in on-base percentage (.248) and 28th in wRC+ (69) and doubles (12).

On Tuesday, Seattle’s offensive woes were on full display against one of the teams it hopes to compete with in the postseason. The Mariners mustered a season-low two hits, both singles by Josh Rojas, in a 2-0 loss to Baltimore. It was the fifth time they’ve been shutout this season and second time during the past 12 games.

The struggles offensively have led to Seattle’s American League West lead dwindling from 10 games to just three.

“We have a number of guys struggling right now,” Servais said before Wednesday’s game. “It’s just where we’re at. Nobody feels good about it. You have to continue to fight through it.”

The offensive struggles have indeed been widespread for Seattle’s hitters over the past two weeks. Lineup regulars Julio Rodríguez, Cal Raleigh, Ty France, Jorge Polanco Mitch Haniger and Mitch Garver are all hitting under .200 since June 19. They’ve combined for just six extra-base hits in 193 at-bats during that stretch.

The lack of power has been particularly troubling for a team that’s gotten by with just enough offensively due to its ability to work walks and hit home runs. Before the current lineup-wide slump, Seattle was tied sixth in MLB with 84 home runs. They’re dropped to tied for 12th in just two weeks.

“These are the best players in the world, and it happens to the best in the world,” Servais said. “They do go through stretches. As a group, we’re struggling right now, and we will turn it around. I feel very strongly about that. People say I’m crazy, (but) I believe in this group.”

Santos getting closer to debut

The Mariners’ bullpen appears set to get a big addition in the near future with right-hander Gregory Santos on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma.

Related: How much will Gregory Santos’ arrival to bullpen help the Seattle Mariners?

Santos struck out a batter in a scoreless inning during his first appearance for the Rainiers on Tuesday. He was in Seattle receiving treatment Wednesday and Servais said the hard-throwing Santos was feeling “really good.” Servais expects Santos to make at least one more rehab appearance but doesn’t think he’ll need to pitch back-to-back days with Tacoma before joining the big-league club.

“I think when he does eventually end up on our roster, we’re gonna have to be very guarded on how we use him and kind of build him up,” Servais said. “It’ll be an inning at a time here or there, there’ll be some days off in between.”

Garver taking swings

Garver took swings in the batting cage pregame and Servais was hopeful the team’s primary designated hitter and backup catcher could be available off the bench Wednesday night.

Garver exited Sunday’s game against Minnesota early after being hit in the wrist by pitch and didn’t play in Tuesday’s series opener with Baltimore. Garver has been able to avoid a stint on the injured list thus far, but Seattle recalled catcher Seby Zavala from Tacoma on Tuesday in response to the situation.

“We’ll see how he gets closer to game time,” Servais said. “I know he was in a cage doing some drills and feeling OK, not 100% yet, but I’m hopeful there that he could be available tonight.”

Mariners coverage from Seattle Sports

• Mariners sign former All-Star reliever, make roster move at catcher
• Video: Mariners Breakdown – Is AL West now a two-team race?
• Mariners Notebook: 3 things from the local minor league teams
• Passan: With prospect wealth, Mariners should be bold
• Two Seattle Mariners prospects named to All-Star Futures Game

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