Mariners finally showing life in late innings

Apr 28, 2014, 3:04 PM | Updated: Apr 29, 2014, 3:50 pm
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saunders cano

The Mariners have won three of their last four games thanks to an improved offense in the late innings. (AP)

By Danny O’Neil

Better late than never, right?

And for the past four days, the Mariners have been better late than ever with three comeback victories in the past four games.

The Mariners have scored 20 runs over their past four games, 13 of them coming over the final three innings in what is the single most positive improvement for the team for two reasons. First, it shows that the eight-game losing streak didn’t completely hollow out the core of resolve. Second, it’s a marked change from last season when pretty much every offensive category bottomed out over the final three innings.

That was true for the team’s scoring, its batting average and home runs:

2013 R H HR BA SLG
Innings 1-3 209 430 63 .234 .389
Innings 4-6 233 466 64 .250 .411
Innings 7-9 164 376 55 .224 .365
2014 R H HR BA SLG
Innings 1-3 29 54 5 .203 .308
Innings 4-6 33 75 7 .267 .413
Innings 7-9 29 52 10 .204 .384

Now the first thing that should be pointed is just how big a difference Kyle Seager’s bat has made over the past four games. The second thing is that Seattle is seeing an uptick in that late-game production, something that was a discernible problem a year ago.

The Mariners are not yet a team that can be considered good in the late innings. Not with a team that is batting a collective .204 in the final three innings while also employing a closer who has yet to meet a jam he can’t pitch himself into.

But the Mariners are better than they were a year ago comparatively speaking because they don’t save their worst hitting output for last like they used to.

Those late-game offensive fizzles helped explain how Seattle went 19-29 in one-run games, and as much as Fernando Rodney was brought in to stabilize the bullpen, it’s the ability to dig out from beneath a deficit that has inspired at least a flicker of hope one month into the Mariners’ season.

Seattle’s late-game power surge was enough to end an eight-game losing streak and then claim a series against the Texas Rangers.

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Mariners finally showing life in late innings