Back-to-back series wins, baby! And for the first time since those halcyon days of late April! Sure, it’s 4-2 against a flailing Orioles team and the resurgent-but-still-flailing Rangers, and the Mariners are headed into their personal Us-themed house of horrors in Minute Maid Park to face a tough opponent in the Astros, but let us respire a moment and enjoy the resurgence of what J.P. Crawford called the Seattle Supergrinders. [extremely PUSA voice] Supergrinders, oh yeah. (If you got that reference, hello, fellow old.) Obviously, did we hope for a sweep maybe against one of these apparently lesser opponents? Sure, but also, did you never read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a kid and internalize its lesson about the dangers of greed? Take your wrinkled golden ticket and be glad you’re not the one being forced to do a kegstand on the chocolate river.
Record for the week:
Could have been 5-1, could maybe even have been 6-0, but sadly these Mariners aren’t good enough to play past a few silly mistakes, although the series against Texas showed some of that good old-fashioned one-run magic is still alive.
The Mariners won 10-0 in the opening game at Baltimore, perhaps setting up some false expectations as they gave almost all of those beautiful runs back in a 2-9 loss the next night.
Player of the week:
I’m not sure what kind of formula Isabelle usually uses to tabulate this, but it’s hard to pick someone other than Eugenio Suárez, who basically single-handedly won the Texas series (although he also almost lost the series with a costly error in Game 1). Checking in with FanGraphs, they also give Suárez the nod with a team-high .5 fWAR for the week, and a wRC+ of 233. Honorable mention goes to runner-up Dylan Moore, with .4 fWAR and a wRC+ of 333 (!), so apparently Scott Servais wasn’t exaggerating when he said this was the best DMo has played in a couple of years.
Also, I’m meaner than Isabelle, so I will tell you who is the not-player of the week: Adam Frazier, rocking a wRC+ of -27 for the week. Frazier got BABIP’d pretty hard, though, with a team-low BABIP of .095, so hopefully he’ll find Minute Maid Park’s fast infield more to his liking this week.
Play of the week:
The motto of the utility player is to always find a way to contribute. Abraham Toro didn’t have a great week at the plate, but showed off why he’s in the 79th percentile for Outs Above Average with this pick and laser-beam throw from third base. The Perry Hill jumped right out:
Abraham was clutch in the field last night, too ☄️ pic.twitter.com/sQ8lZl2a7p— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) June 3, 2022
And even though Toro’s overall numbers for the week weren’t great, one of this two hits was this clutch triple (albeit a glove-clanker, but still) in extras that wound up being the game-winner for the Mariners. Baberaham Toro it is.
At-bat of the week:
If this was usually my beat, I’d probably keep a little daily log of the largest WPA swings by game, but since the Sunday win is fresh in my mind, I’m going to go with Eugenio’s game-tying double from Sunday, which resulted in a WPA swing of almost 40 points to the Mariners, getting them to above 55% win expectancy for the first time all day.
The homers got all the love on Twitter—and they should get love! The one on Friday atoned for an earlier error and helped spur the Mariners to victory, and the one on Sunday was a key component of the win and also the first (!!!) Martín Pérez has given up all year—but my clutch-hitting heart loved this hit the best, and so, apparently, did the WPA formula.
Nemesis of the week:
Is it cheating off Isabelle to say once again the Mariners’ own greatest enemy was themselves, and specifically Sergio Romo’s homer problem? Honestly, though, I thought I’d be writing about Jonah Heim here—remember the back-to-back homer walkoffs last year? Yeah, me neither—but Heim was relatively quiet against the Mariners. Who to pick, then? I thought about Austin Hays, who seemed to be perpetually on base during the Orioles series, or Trey Mancini, who had three extra-base hits during the series, or old LL enemy Kole Calhoun, or Kale Cowboy, or Khole Quinine, or Kohlrabi Quaalude, who had an RBI double that tied the game on Friday night. However, the Nemesis of the Week award goes to Adolis García and his “screw three outcomes, only strikeouts or home runs” approach that unfortunately led to two big homers against the Mariners, including one that would be all the offense the Rangers needed in Game 2 of this series: a winnable game the Mariners declined to win despite a strong effort from Logan Gilbert, making Adolis’s performance even more nemesis-worthy.
Favorite Mariners content:
I appreciate staff writer Shay combing all relevant social media feeds each week for her social media roundup, which you should read if you would like someone to curate all Mariners-related social feeds for you, and I’m so grateful to Shay that I won’t even question her professed love for a [working very hard to get the words out] plain hot dog. Sorry, sorry, my throat went dry just thinking about it. Anyway, check it out, if you haven’t. I’m also going to cheat and say my favorite Mariners content this week came from the minors and a couple friends of the site doing big things: first of all, Juan Mercedes tossing a historic no-hitter for the Everett AquaSox:
And in Modesto, our pal Jonatan Clase returned Friday from a weeklong stint on the unofficial IL after being hit in the hand with a pitch—thankfully, x-rays were negative—and went off over the weekend, going 5-for-12: on Friday he hit two home runs; on Saturday, a game-winning double; and on Sunday, another late double; he’d then score the go-ahead run on a wild pitch. Oh, and he also fit in his 19th stolen base of the season.
Here’s his massive home run over the batter’s eye in Modesto—no mean feat.
Favorite thing I ate while watching/listening to a game:
Without wanting to sound like an ad, I recently acquired a Ninja Foodi air fryer and FRIENDS. This thing has been an actual game-changer. I have suffered many a lousy Mariners loss with the succor of some velvety pork tenderloin, juicy burgers, or even crispy-cheesy frozen pizza. However, over the weekend I had some Copper River salmon that I stuck in the air fryer wearing a lovely coat of some of the Tom Douglas salmon rub, a wee bit of dill, a pat of butter and a round of lemon for each fillet, and it was absolutely otherworldly. I also air-fried some asparagus to go along with it, tossed in olive oil, garlic, lemon, and finished with some crumbles of blue cheese. Delicious enough to make me forget a sloppy Mariners loss to the Rangers.
Bold prediction for next week:
Isabelle suggested the Mariners would pull out at least one sweep last week, which they did not, but we’ll take back-to-back series wins. For the upcoming week, I regretfully say I don’t see things going great against Houston, nor Boston and the annual influx of Red Sox fans who appear at T-Mobile Park like a bunch of non-rhotic mushrooms after a spring rain, but I’ll make the bold prediction that the Mariners settle in at home over the 10 days/11 games and at least come out over .500 on the homestand, despite Mike Trout rebounding from his current worst-of-career 0-for-23 stretch and hitting a home run in three out of the five Angels games. Also, ewww, after seeing the Angels for five games, the Mariners get a day off and then a three-game set at Oakland before they’re right back to playing the Angels again. Hopefully the Angels’ current swoon will last long enough for the Mariners to snatch up a few AL West wins.
I believe we did that above? Houston for three, off-day, then home for their longest homestand of the season yet (BOS, MIN, LAA). Also: staffer Jacob is making the trip up from Texas for his birthday and the LL crew will be out in force on the 18th if you’d like to say hi at the park, or just wish Jacob a happy birthday/recommend some seafaring adventures for our resident actual-mariner. (Or, mariner-adjacent at least, I believe his dad is a tugboat captain.)
This week in Mariners history:
June 2, 2016: [Tenacious D voice] It’s the greatest comeback in the world: Seattle rallies back from a 10-run deficit to defeat the San Diego Padres, 16-13.
Here’s hoping a little of that 2016 spirit infects these 2022 Mariners; the two comeback wins so far in Texas are a promising start.