While the immediate focus will be placed on the recent pitching struggles from the Mariners in a disappointing series loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, including starter Chris Flexen in Saturday’s loss and the bullpen issues in Sunday’s defeat, the Mariners offense, which has proven to be anything but consistent this season, is a bigger issue to manager Scott Servais.
Before Jarred Kelenic’s ninth-inning two-run homer, the Mariners had mustered just three hits in the game — two of them were solo homers from Mitch Haniger and Dylan Moore. It meant all four runs came off homers.
In Saturday’s loss, all three of the Mariners runs were scored via homers.
That’s just not going to cut it against any team in baseball but particularly against the Red Sox in the critical three-game series, starting Monday.
“Offensively, I didn’t think we had our best games the last couple nights,” Servais said. “We’ve hit a few homers. But keeping the line moving, putting rallies together and putting pressure on the other team, we haven’t been able to do that the last couple days. That’s what’s going to be key in the upcoming series. You’ve got to have consistent pressure to try to put some bigger innings together. That’s what decides these games.
“It’s not just the one-off homer here, or the one run you can scratch across there. It’s when you can put a crooked number up there in a big inning. We struggled to do that here in the last couple days. We’ve done it in the past. And I’m sure we’ll do it again. It just didn’t happen the last couple of days.”
In games where they score four or more runs, the Mariners have a 61-23 record. In games where they score three or fewer, they are 16-43. The Mariners had a .187 batting average and sub-.250 on-base percentage for the series with eight walks and 19 strikeouts. They stranded 15 runners on base.
“We need everybody contributing at this time of year,” Servais said. “It’s hard. Everybody’s trying hard. You know what I mean? And they’re working hard. They’re here early. They’re in the cage grinding through it. Some days it’s there. Some days it’s not. We’re looking forward to the next series.”
The grind for Kelenic has started to pay off. He now has homers in back-to-back games and could have had a double Sunday if not for a solid catch by Arizona center fielder Ketel Marte.
His homer had 108 mph exit velocity — the hardest-hit ball from the Mariners in the game — and traveled 428 feet into the open seating area of the Hit It Here Café.
He now has 10 homers on the season and 10 hits in his past 10 games with eight RBI.
“And obviously that home run he had late in the game, when Jarred squares it up, he’s got as much raw power as anybody on our team,” Servais said. “It’s about having quality at-bats and if you look at that at-bat late in the game, he was able to work himself deep into the count, got some pitches to hit, and then he finally squared one up.”
Left-hander Tyler Anderson was reinstated from the bereavement list and infielder Kevin Padlo was optioned to Class AAA Tacoma.
Anderson will make his scheduled start Tuesday against the Red Sox.
The upcoming pitching probables for the series with Boston:
- Monday — LHP Eduardo Rodriguez vs. RHP Logan Gilbert
- Tuesday — RHP Nathan Eovaldi vs. LHP Tyler Anderson
- Wednesday — TBD vs. LHP Marco Gonzales
Outfielder Jake Fraley (right shoulder inflammation) was supposed to play left field in a rehab game for Tacoma on Sunday and return from the injured list on Monday. But the Rainiers game was postponed due to a power outage in Tacoma. The Rainiers will play a doubleheader on Monday instead.