When he’s on the field, which now is almost on a daily basis, Dylan Moore just sort of finds himself in the middle of the action in games.
And in Monday’s 8-4 win to complete the four-game sweep of the Rangers, Moore was the action at T-Mobile Park, doing what he’s done to earn everyday at-bats – hitting the ball hard.
Moore drove in four runs with a solo homer and a three-run double in the Mariners’ victory while showing no signs that the wrist injury that sent him to the injured list a few weeks ago will be an issue going forward.
“Time off is not great baseball-wise, but I needed to get that wrist healthy before I could do anything else,” he said in a postgame video call. “To be able to come back with a fast start is huge.”
With the Mariners already leading 2-0, Moore led off the third inning with his sixth homer of the season, golfing a 3-2 curveball from Kolby Allard over the center-field wall and into the now vacant area known as The ‘Pen. MLB statcast measured the blast at 425 feet with a 109 mph exit velocity. Both numbers are impressive for a player not known for power but showing more and more of it in this shortened season.
“I did not expect to see the power we’ve seen from him this year,” manager Scott Servais said in a postgame video call. “He’s gotten stronger. He’s made a couple adjustments in his swing from what we saw last year, but typically it goes line to line. He hits the ball all over the field. Allard decided to go with the curveball and he jumped all over it.”
Said Moore: “With two strikes, you are just trying to protect. He left one over the middle of the plate. You want to do damage to those kind of pitches. I got it up in the air and it went.”
When the Rangers trimmed the lead to 3-2 in the top of the fourth, Moore was a big part of the Mariners’ five-run bottom half of the inning. With two outs and the bases loaded, he sat on a change-up from Allard, pulling a hard double down the left-field line that scored all three runners.
In 25 games, Moore has a .293/.369/.565 slash line, with seven doubles, six homers, 14 RBI and a team-high eight stolen bases.
“You love to see players that get an opportunity and grasp onto it and then they take it and run with it,” Servais said. “It happens to quite a few guys in this league if they’ve got that kind of ability. He’s seeing the ball great, playing with a ton of confidence on the bases, defensively and certainly in the batter’s box.”
Name change …
Dee Gordon’s legal name is Devaris Strange-Gordon and most of his friends don’t call him Dee, but Varis. And while he will still go by Dee, which he started using after a broadcaster mispronounced his first name, the Mariners’ utility player wants to use his full hyphenated last name moving forward. It’s a tribute to his late mother, Devona Denise Strange, who was murdered by a boyfriend when Strange-Gordon was 7 years old and living in Florida.
The name changing process isn’t simple with Major League Baseball, but this was something Strange-Gordon wanted to do for a while and finally received approval.
While the Mariners have plenty of shoe guys on their team led by Justin Dunn and Kyle Lewis, who have massive sneaker collections, and several guys who want to have the most unique cleats on their feet when they take the field, Strange-Gordon’s footwear Monday was next level.
Gordon wore white Under Armour cleats that featured the logo of the In-N-Out hamburger chain on the outside of each cleat and the palm tree pattern used on their beverage cups on the toes. The shoes were a creation by Florida-based shoe artist Marcus Rivero, who operates under the name Soles by Sir.
Rivero uses an air brush and other techniques to put custom designs on shoes and cleats for professional athletes in MLB, NFL and NBA and other celebrities.
So why In-N-Out?
An admitted fast-food addict, Strange-Gordon loves the California-based burger franchise. With a location about three blocks from the Mariners’ complex in Peoria, Arizona, Strange-Gordon would consume two double-double cheeseburgers nearly every day during spring training. And when the Mariners play in cities with In-N-Out locations – Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, Dallas-Fort Worth, he will have clubhouse attendants get them on a daily basis.
He’s also a big fan of Raising Canes and Steak-N-Shake. Asked last year about local burger places, Strange-Gordon said his preferred choice was often Burgermaster.