The Mariners got a needed day off Thursday after an intense three-game series with the Boston Red Sox, and manager Scott Servais said their attention is solely on Kansas City and the three-game series against the host Royals that started Friday.
“Days off at this time of the year are incredibly valuable, whether you’ve had an intense series or not,” Servais said. “I think the players, where they are at physically, they need a blow, and mentally you’re grinding through these series.
“And I think our team has done an outstanding job of not getting too far down the road. We do a really good job of staying in the moment, and when I say stay in the moment, I mean win the series. It sounds very cliché-ish, but that’s what you need to focus on. If you get too big, you lose sight of what’s in front of you, and what’s in front of us is the Kansas City Royals.”
Servais said he thought the Mariners played well against the Red Sox despite losing the final two games of the three-game series, “But we didn’t get a few breaks to go our way.”
“But we can’t do anything about that,” Servais added. “We need to focus on the Royals, win the series here, and see where it goes from there.”
Perez stays hot
Royals catcher Salvador Perez tied the major-league record Thursday for most home runs in a season by a catcher, getting his 45th of the season to tie the mark set by Cincinnati’s Johnny Bench in 1970.
Four of Perez’s home runs came late last month in a four-game series against the Mariners, the only previous time the two teams met this season. Perez homered in each game of the series, including hitting grand slams in consecutive games to help the Royals take three of four.
“Having played that position my whole career and knowing what that does to you and the toll it takes on you physically, to see what he’s doing offensively is historic,” Servais said. “It’s a historic year for a catcher, but I just hope we can slow it down for three days.”
Dunn suffers setback
Starting pitcher Justin Dunn (shoulder) threw just four pitches Thursday for Class AAA Tacoma in the first game of his rehabilitation assignment before being forced to leave.
“He obviously didn’t feel well and wasn’t comfortable throwing,” Servais said. “He’ll get checked out, probably have another MRI, and it certainly looks like his season has come to an end.”
Mariners reliever Casey Sadler has had 22 consecutive scoreless appearances (spanning 19 2/3 innings), tying him for second in team history in that category. Shigetoshi Hasegawa owns the club record with 25 consecutive scoreless appearances in 2003.
Sadler is tied for second with Ed Vande Berg (1982-83) and Lucas Luetge (2012).