If the last month of Mariners baseball has been an ice cream sundae, this week was the homemade hot fudge, rainbow sprinkles and cherry on top. Faced with a slate of beatable teams - though challenged by stormy weather, which through their schedule into disarray - the M’s did exactly what good teams should do to less good teams: beat them. And they did so with the kind of pizzazz that would have had the 2013 Mariners keeling over in their XXXL pants.
My relationship with baseball has been rocky in recent years, as I’ve eased back in to consuming the sport as a hobby rather than my profession. But, simply put, this recent stretch has been the most fun I have had as a Mariners fan. This team plays with an infectious ebullience that not only draws you in but sends you back out into your own world brighter and happier.
And before we dig into the meat of this week’s SUS, a special thank you to you all, our most excellent community. We’ll write about the Mariners no matter what, but to be able to write about them when they’re playing like this is a true joy, and to share in this season’s journey with you all is such a privilege. Thank you for reading, commenting and hooting and hollering along with us.
Record for the week:
Player of the week:
Julio is getting plenty of love in this edition of SUS (and this site, and across baseball), so I’m going to lean into my personal biases and anoint the plucky Sam Haggerty as our Player of the Week. When I was
banished to living in Cooperstown, professional baseball was shockingly hard to come by, so I made rather frequent pilgrimages out to Binghamton, New York, home of the great Rumble Ponies. Those with an interest in prospects flocked there in 2019 to watch Andrés Giménez, a rising star in the Mets system, but after a few games my attention was drawn elsewhere. You see, those poor Ponies suffered from an alarmingly anemic offense. Coupled with a dearth of pitching talent, this made for borderline unwatchable baseball games - save for a second baseman who was beginning to draw attention outside of south central New York. Haggerty had a breakout year that season, earning Eastern League All-Star honors and showing off speed and base-stealing savvy on the bases.
By my own, inexpert eye, it seemed like he was the only Rumble Pony capable of actually hitting the ball, and I soon developed the kind of desperate appreciation born out of driving nearly four hours round trip to watch live baseball. It’s been so much fun to see him succeed at the MLB level, and I absolutely co-opt some of his success by touting his record as a shining example of my own scouting prowess. This week, Haggerty had two three-hit games for a 204 wRC+ on the week and capped off, of course, with the first inside-the-park home run for the Mariners since Willie Bloomquist.
(A little shameless self-promotion, because sometimes you tweet for the people, sometimes you just have to tweet for yourself.)
Play of the week:
J.P. Crawford traversed nearly the entirety of the infield at Nationals Park to nail Juan Soto for this final out of the inning, and it was 100% worth it.
At-bat of the week:
There’s only one answer and, as it is to so many questions, that answer is Juliooooooooooo
Nemesis of the week:
The Texas Rangers fans situated near the ROOT Sports mic who chanted “overrated” at the Mariners hitters in the ninth inning on Friday night. They’re literally the Seattle Mariners, come on.
Favorite Mariners content:
One of the best parts about the Mariners playing as well as they have is that they’ve inspired all sorts of incredible content as we attempt to grapple with the magnitude of hope this team carries. Here at LL, Lou Fish-Sadin put her advanced degree in dance to excellent use with a raucously thorough breakdown of the infield celebration; John Trupin dove into what may be Seattle’s biggest secret weapon going into the second half; and Zach Mason strummed our collective heartstrings following Julio’s exceptional Home Run Derby debut.
Outside of this festive volcano blog, LL legend Jake Mailhot took a look at how the M’s rotation has powered them to success; phenomenal human and burgeoning ‘stache-grower Mikey Ajeto explored the keys to Andrés Muñoz’s success on the national stage at Baseball Prospectus; Seattle Times intern Roshan Fernandez put together a great write-up on Cal Raleigh’s impressive turnaround season; and our own Tacoma Tin Man, Ryan Divish, rooted around in that rusty chest cavity to let some emotions flow in a beautiful piece on Dave Niehaus and Julio.
Favorite thing I ate while watching/listening to a game:
This was a funky week for baseball watching, with dual mid-workday games on Wednesday and a four-game series in Texas, whose two hour time difference always messes with me. It was also a classic “What do you mean I have to feed myself again?” week in the kitchen, so I’m going to deviate slightly from food this week to shine a light on the tasty summer treat that is a White Claw Yuzu Citrus Smash (please drink responsibly). On Friday evening I stood out on a friend’s front lawn, yuzu Claw in my hand, and triumphed in cornhole while the Mariners closed out the ninth inning of their 12th consecutive victory (yes, I screamed in the car when Julio hit the grand slam while en route to said lawn).
Bold prediction for next week:
Just call me Istradamus (don’t do that, that’s a terrible name). I think this week the M’s will do enough to maintain a .500 record, but I’m a little weary of how an unexpected two-day off-day and subsequently crammed schedule will impact them (I was always an overly-cautious child). I’d love to see at least one Ty France ASG revenge dinger.
Julio and an avenged Ty France may or may not appear in tomorrow’s All-Star Game, and then hopefully everyone can rest up well for the next two days before beginning a three-game series against Houston at home. The bad news: In the first 10 days of the second half of the season, the Mariners will play the Astros seven times. The good news: That’s the last time the two teams will face each other in the regular season.
This week in Mariners history:
Twenty three years ago this week, the Mariners played their first open-air home game when Safeco Field officially opened. I’m obviously biased, but it’s the best stadium in baseball - even if I still stumble over its new name.