Out of the starting lineup for a rare day off on Wednesday, Seager discussed his start to the 2017 season.
Frustrations from his first half aren’t easily seen from Kyle Seager with the untrained eye. But they are there after a failed at-bat, a missed opportunity and definitely after any loss where he felt he should’ve done more.
Through it all, the ultra-intense Seager has concealed any outbursts or anger from the fans, choosing privacy for venting disappointment for not meeting his own lofty standards.
“I think Kyle does a pretty good job of keeping things in perspective,” manager Scott Servais said. “I know any time guys aren’t performing to what they are used to, it does bug them and they want to get back into a good spot and getting it right. He puts a good face on.”
The subject of Seager’s slower-than-wanted start to his season arose on Wednesday when Servais gave him a rare day off. It was the first time Seager hadn’t started a game since April 26 when he missed three games because of discomfort in his hip area.
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“He needs a day off,” Servais said. “We’ll give him a day off today. I think a mental, physical day off is good for him right now.”
Seager loathes off days, but he didn’t offer up objections.
“I just show up and they tell me either you are playing or not,” he said. “I will be ready if they need me later on.”
It hasn’t been an ideal first half to the 2017 for Seager. After going 0 for 4 with three strikeouts in Tuesday’s loss to the Royals, he was hitting .251 with a .322 on-base percentage, a .412 slugging percentage, 18 doubles, a triple, 10 homers and 45 RBI in 82 games. Many players would be quite satisfied with that output. But much is expected of Seager from the Mariners, their fans and himself.
“I would certainly like us to be winning more games,” he said. “That certainly would be good. Personally, I’d like if my numbers were a little bit better. It is what it is. You get on a little run and then they can where they are about supposed to be.”
The Seager “runs” where he torches pitching for an extended period of games have not been there this season. There was game or a few games when the Mariners and he would think that a run was coming, but it never materialize beyond than handful of games.
“I’ve had a few little times where it’s felt pretty good and pretty strong and I feel like I’m going to go on one of those runs,” he said. “But I’ve kind of lost them a little quicker than in years past, and I haven’t been able to maintain it as much as I’d like to. It’s definitely been more trying to find it.”
There is a feeling at the plate that Seager is searching to find.
“When your body is in the right positions and you feel good and it feels clean, it becomes much easier,” he said. “You aren’t trying to manage things, you aren’t trying to create things, you aren’t trying to generate more, everything is working the way it’s supposed to. It’s clean. And I haven’t been able to sustain that this year.”
Servais sees a hitter that can’t find a comfort level at the plate, leaving him in the dreaded “in-between” feeling of being late on fastballs and out on in front of breaking balls.
“That’s where you get the funky swings,” he said. “So you are in between, guessing or looking for certain pitches and not getting them. I think the consistency of the at-bats and the timing. You know Kyle, he’s into his swing. He’s always trying to tinker with it and find the feel good. And he just hasn’t felt good, and you can see than in the results he’s gotten lately.”
Seager isn’t going to change his approach when it comes to preparation. He’ll continue to tinker with his swing, look at video, put in the time in the cage and more. It’s all he’s never known in success or failure.
“You do all that stuff,” he said. “You go through film. You go back to when you felt the best. You look through the video of the recent games. You try to see the differences. You go in the cage. That’s stuff you do on a daily basis. Even when you get three or four hits a night that doesn’t necessarily mean you are swinging the bat good or you feel great. I got four hits the other day and I was still going thinking after the game — two of those weren’t the best swings I could have made. Bad swings get hits all the time. You just hope that your swing gets more hits.”
But it’s the Mariners’ enigmatic and inconsistent play, leading to a 41-44 record coming into Wednesday, that has Seager just as concerned. Both he and the team are in search of a level of consistency that has been elusive this season.
“We’ve had some little runs where we’ve played really well and we’ve had some clunkers for sure,” he said. “That’s been the way it’s going. We can make excuses all day for that stuff, ultimately that doesn’t matter. It’s the 25 guys that are out here and we have to get it done against their 25 guys more often than not.”
To him, his numbers would be more palatable if the Mariners were solidly above .500 and playing well.
“You are still looking at halfway through the year, so there is still time for my personal stuff like that,” he said. “But I think more importantly, it goes back to the team side of it. We need to be winning and playing better.”
Seager after 82 games: