Mariners notebook: Scott Servais looking for Mariners to stay loose
The Mariners have put themselves in a tough spot, losing the first two games of the series against the Blue Jays. Entering the finale, Seattle was three games out of a wild-card spot with two teams in front of them – a bad place to be with just 11 games remaining.
“The math is not good,” manager Scott Servais said Wednesday morning. “There are more teams ahead of us and we are going to need some help. We still have a series in Houston yet to play, a big one in Minnesota, but I don’t want to get too far down the path. We have to figure out how to beat the Blue Jays. We have got to have a better performance. It’s no secret. We need to hit better, pitch better, field better. Get back to how we were playing a week ago.”
The players are aware of all of the above as well and, to that end, held a players’ meeting after the game Tuesday night, something Servais was happy to see.
“We were at the top of the mountain a couple of days ago and down in the valley here now,” he said. “When you have relationships and you believe in each other you can pull together, and you have really got to really pull for each other. It’s not one guy that is going to have the magical start or hit the big home run, it’s a group effort and everyone really has to pull together here.”
Servais believes the team needs to stay loose, something that might be difficult to do with opportunities falling away. Despite the tough losses, he thinks they still can find the right balance between focus and fun.
“Guys know they are not performing to their standards, what they are used to what they are capable of, so they always look internally – what do I need to do better,” he said. “You have a tendency to kind of withdraw and pull in and you focus on yourself, which then leads you to think they’re not as loose, they are not screwing around. Guys are focused, they are trying hard. If it was up to me, I would like to see a little bit more screwing around and having more fun and joking. When Felix walked in he was certainly in that mode; it was good to see.”
We will see how this plays on the field in another important game.
• Jesus Sucre is catching Felix Wednesday, which means three days off for Mike Zunino. While Servais went with Chris Iannetta Tuesday for offensive reasons, going with Sucre is all about Felix.
“They are very familiar with each other,” Servais said. “They have worked together a lot. I like all of our catchers; Sucre’s got the most history with Felix. Today’s game is about getting Felix going, and we went in that direction.”
• A view from the other side: The Seattle series could not have come at a better time for the Blue Jays, points out mlb.com writer Gregor Chisholm, in this article.