Kyle Seager preferred not to divulge details of what took place before Friday’s game. If he talks about it too much, it might not work in the future.
But mired in a slump where he had just two hits in 36 plate appearances with 10 strikeouts over his previous nine games, something needed to change.
It was time for something drastic. So Seager decided to hold a ceremonial removal of his game bats.
Superstitious baseball players such as Seager aren’t afraid to do some odd things to try to change their mojo and performance on the field besides doing the extra practice work and video study.
“Nothing’s that weird when you’ve been around Kyle Seager, a little bit,” manager Scott Servais said. “I guess he’s not afraid to try some different things. But I walked through the clubhouse yesterday and it was loud. It sounded like somebody was breaking something.”
Servais found out what Seager was doing.
“He needed to clean out some garbage,” Servais said. “And those bats that weren’t working, he cleaned those up and got some new ones, and we’re in good shape right now.”
While it isn’t quite like pouring a shot of rum for a mini statue like in the movie “Major League,” it does evoke a mental picture of Seager holding up each bat, accusing it of its crimes and failures and then banishing it from his world while teammates stand around in ceremonial robes, holding candles and chanting in unison.
“Next time you guys talk to Kyle, I will let him share that with you,” Servais said. “But hey man, whatever it takes.”
Acting as if he were a member of an ancient and secret order of baseball players, Seager admitted it occurred, but declined to provide details.
“It’s happened a couple of times over the years,” he said.
“I didn’t have any robes,” he said. “I think I’m gonna blame Ryan Stiles (Mariners clubhouse manager). I think some of the bats he ordered for me were right-handed bats, so they weren’t really working. So we were able to get rid of those, kind of go through and figure out which ones work and then go from there.”
When asked what happened to the exiled bats, Seager wouldn’t discuss their whereabouts.
“Oh I’m not sure,” he said with a mischievous grin. “I don’t know.”
Sources said those bats don’t actually exist in a bat form any longer.
But the remaining bats have worked for Seager. That night after the culling of lumber, he had a run-scoring single and a three-run homer in Seattle’s loss.
In Saturday’s 8-2 win over the Red Sox, Seager had three hits in his first three plate appearances – an RBI single, a two-run triple that traveled 406 feet to center and a double off the wall in center that measured 420 feet per Statcast.
“Absolutely terrible aim and there’s no way around that,” he said. There’s been very few times where I’ve hit balls on the road that wouldn’t have been homers in Seattle. That hasn’t happened very often. It felt good. I’m just glad to get some hits. I’m glad to hit the ball hard.”
Seager couldn’t hit for the cycle, striking out and popping out in his final two plate appearances.
Was he thinking homer in those at-bats?
“The thought crossed my mind, yes,” he said. “Absolutely. It’s not something you go into the day thinking about, so it was pretty cool for me. It was definitely something a little bit different for me.”
With seven runs batted in over the past two games, Seager now has 19 RBI on the season, second only to Boston’s J.D. Martinez, who has 21.
Seager has nine hits in 15 at-bats with runners in scoring position, including four doubles, two homers and 15 RBI. His .600 batting average in that situation is the highest in MLB.
- There was some initial panic when the Mariners’ starting lineup was posted early Saturday morning to social media and Kyle Lewis wasn’t in it. But Servais said it was a scheduled day off for Lewis with a day game being played after a night game. Lewis has played in three games in his return after an extended stint on the injured list due to a bone bruise on his right knee. He has two hits in 14 at-bats.
- Weather forecasts for Sunday afternoon’s game at Fenway Park don’t look promising with an 80% chance of rain or higher predicted from 9 a.m. through 3 p.m. It does seem to let up a little after 4 p.m.
“It doesn’t look great tomorrow,” Servais said. “There may be the proverbial window later. It could be a little bit later start, but we’ll just have to wait and see. Obviously, if it doesn’t happen, then you have to look for a day off on the schedule where we could come back in here later in the year. And I don’t think neither us nor the Red Sox really want to do that. Because we’d start running into stretches of games where you start playing 23-24-25 days in a row. It gets challenging.”