Mike Salk’s Mariners observations from their opening series victory

Apr 2, 2018, 7:00 AM
Despite his age, Ichiro proved to be valuable on the field for the Mariners against Cleveland. (AP)...
Despite his age, Ichiro proved to be valuable on the field for the Mariners against Cleveland. (AP)

After the Mariners took two of three from the Cleveland Indians to start the season, Mike Salk has put together his observations from a nice start to the baseball season Seattle.

Table Setter: Mariners’ electric start aided by Gordon, Haniger and Diaz

Edwin Diaz is insane when he gets ahead of hitters. It opens up so many possibilities for him. It may be hard to watch when he is struggling to find command of the fastball and falling behind, but when he is ahead? Lights out.

Kyle Seager needs to hit. When you hit behind the caliber of players that he does, you always seem to come up in big spots, and thus far he hasn’t looked great. While the bad hop double that drove in a run Sunday was nice, he is a $19 million player and needs to deliver like one this year. I know RBIs are out of style as a stat, but I think they’ll tell a pretty good story of his season.

It’s hard to find an ex-Mariner who played like Mitch Haniger. Dustin Ackley was supposed to hit for higher average but didn’t pan. Michael Saunders had some good moments but never blossomed into an All-Star. The point is that actual five-tool players are hard to find and he is one. We haven’t seen the speed or defense yet but he has both. He is my favorite at-bat on the team right now – as in I won’t look away when he’s up. Also, his on-base plus slugging is 2.048 after the first three games. That’s, um, pretty good.

I’d still really like to see the Mariners add one more reliever. The Mariners could still use someone to fill the role David Phelps (out for the year for Tommy John surgery) was slated for. Maybe they will trade for somebody if they stay in the hunt long enough to warrant it. With that said, you can’t say enough about what long reliever Casey Lawrence (2 2/3 innings Saturday) and Sunday’s starter Mike Leake (seven innings) did this weekend to save the bullpen. Huge.

Robinson Cano looks better than last year. Swing looks better, his eye looks better and he isn’t rolling over as much.

I’ve never seen anyone jump as high as Dee Gordon after his home run. It was made even funnier by Jean Segura’s tiny little arms trying to stretch up to meet him; Gordon had to lower his hands. Gordon showed how he can take over a game by running balls down in center field and then homering. I can’t wait to see him really disrupt on the bases.

Would it hurt them to actually let us see the full lineup on display? Three games and two injured starting players? It has to stop.

You want to be a catcher? Mike Zunino went down before the season started. Mike Marjama took a full Edwin Encarnacion swing to the back of his glove hand. David Freitas got hit in the head by Francisco Lindor’s backswing and then took a foul tip of a 99 mph Diaz fastball off the heel of his hand. No thanks.

I don’t know what to say about Ichiro. His catch was amazing but his bat looks done and it’s hard to see him here with a healthy Ben Gamel. But he is holding his own and is in no way a liability so far. Plus, he’s new fun Ichiro!

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Mike Salk’s Mariners observations from their opening series victory