Drayer: Notes on the Mariners’ hot streak, Mike Zunino and more
With the Mariners off on Monday, here are a few notes about their recent surge and a look ahead:
The week that was. The Mariners went 6-1 last week with their offense posting the second-best WAR in baseball over that time at 2.8 and the second-most runs with 52. The Mariners hit .347/.411/.512/.923 as a team in that time. Their pitching put up a 3.14 ERA with the third-fewest runs allowed at 22.
Quotable. “We’ve been beat from the bottom of the first inning Friday until now. I guess the only good thing is we are getting out of here. This team, they beat us in every facet. Out-pitched us, out-hit us, out-defended us, out-managed us, everything. We need to get back home.” – Rays manager Kevin Cash.
Reminds me of. Mike Zunino was my guest on the Mariners Insider Report on the pregame show Sunday and said that in addition to his new multi-step pregame hitting routine, having someone similar to look at has helped him get comfortable with the changes he has made at the plate. “Matt Holliday was a big one, what he’s doing. There’s a few guys that you try to see what they do, body type-wise, what they really do really well. He’s the guy that really uses right-center well. Sort of similar, he’s a little wider than I am but just his swing path is something I want to replicate. Just a guy who has been doing it for a long time, with power and he’s very consistent.”
Giving them a chance. Ariel Miranda was a sun triple away from having his first complete-game shutout on Sunday. The ball that bounced off Jarrod Dyson’s shoulder did not break up another impressive streak, however. In nine of Miranda’s 12 starts, he has surrendered two runs or fewer.
Don’t go changin’. Did you catch the exchange between Zunino and Jesus Sucre Saturday night? Sucre was a late-inning replacement behind the plate for the Rays went Derek Norris came out of the game with back spasms. When Zunino came to the plate for his last at-bat, Sucre could be seen looking away laughing. Zunino then looked down at the plate and muttered something while digging in. I asked Zunino about the conversation and he told me that it was the walk-up music that had his former co-catcher chuckling. In recent days, members of the Mariners’ bullpen have been picking out Zunino’s music. It has been an eclectic mix with Tony Zych, Marc Rzepczynski, Steve Cishek and Edwin Diaz selecting the tunes. Sucre couldn’t believe that he heard Latin music as Zunino approached. “What is going on, bro?” he asked. The relievers are keeping a tally of whose song leads to more hits.
You’ve got company. Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has raved about Guillermo Heredia’s defense and now he is showing up on the leaderboard. Heredia shares the top spot in defensive runs saved for outfielders with Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts and Byron Buxton, who each have 10. Jarrod Dyson is one spot below with nine.
Big night in T-Town. Felix Hernandez is scheduled to make his first rehab start Tuesday with the Tacoma Rainiers. He won’t be making the trip alone. Mitch Haniger told me after the game Sunday that he would also be playing in that game.
Coming up. Probables for the Mariners three-game series against Minnesota: James Paxton vs. Hector Santiago on Tuesday; Yovani Gallardo vs. Adalberto Mejia on Wednesday, Christian Bergman vs. TBA on Thursday.