Maybe the Mariners should have tried this whole “step back” plan a long time ago.
The Mariners have had good starts to seasons in the history of their organization, though it often feels like that was rarely the case. The 6-2 start in 2009 was a decade ago.
But there has never been a start to a season like this in franchise history.
It started with a quick two-game series sweep of the A’s in Tokyo, which now feels like a month ago. It was followed about a week later with taking three of four from the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox.
That was followed by a two-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels -- an American League West rival that has seemed to give Seattle issues over the past few seasons.
A 2-0 start and a 5-1 homestand give Seattle a 7-1 record going into this seven-game road trip, which features three games with the White Sox and four with the Royals. After a staccato start to their schedule, the Mariners get to play for 17 straight days starting on Friday, thanks to Thursday’s postponement in Chicago.
It’s fair to say that the Mariners won’t be able to keep this pace of winning for an entire season. Winning seven out of every eight games would basically be a 141-21 record. The marathon that is the baseball season features highs and lows. The Mariners have started on a high. A low will have to come eventually.
In these eight games, four expected aspects of this team were evident in almost every game. That the Mariners have won all but one of them speaks to the two positives being more prevalent and overcoming the two negatives more often than not.
The four things:
* Home run and extra-base power
* Improved approach at the plate
* Below average to poor defense
* Bullpen inexperience and inconsistency
These characteristics were first noticed in spring training, arose in the first game of the season and remained apparent in the games that have followed. It’s unlikely that the positives will disappear or the negatives be completely remedied in the coming months.
Yes, the Mariners have played two more games than everyone else other than the A’s, a discrepancy that will be evened out soon. Still, Seattle has bashed 17 homers in eight games, including a homer in each game. In this homer-happy era of “elevate and celebrate,” Seattle seems to be fitting in quite well. In the Mariners’ first eight games last season, they hit just seven homers.
With the exception of Dee Gordon, Mallex Smith and utility player Dylan Moore, the remainder of the position player group all has the potential to belt at least 20 home runs, with players like Jay Bruce, Edwin Encarnacion, Domingo Santana, Ryon Healy and possibly Mitch Haniger as 30-plus homer hitters. Seattle made T-Mobile Park look homer-friendly on the homestand.