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Franchise Record of the Week: Eugenio Suárez bests a titan

The vibes ... they’re good

Seattle Mariners v Los Angeles Angels Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

I couldn’t say with certainty what the best month in Mariner history is, but any discussion has to include Edgar Martinez’s August 1995. The slash line alone is unreal: .398/.560/.786. Another way to put that is that he got on base more than half the time for an entire month. Always a doubles machine (it’s no wonder that his franchise-defining hit, The Double, was a two-bagger), he hit 11 in just that single month. Add to that 9 home runs and 19 other hits and you get 39 hits that month. To me, the most mind-bending thing was his 31 walks—that’s more than a walk per game. All told, it amounted to a 239 wRC+.

Edgar’s WPA on the month was 2.12, which is to say, that in one way of thinking about it, you could credit him with single-handedly winning two games that month. Take August 16th, for example. Randy Johnson, amidst one of the finest seasons of his Inner Circle career, was mortal, only able to go six innings (which was a bigger deal back then, especially for someone like the Big Unit, who was a workhorse even by the standards of the time). And he allowed three runs, which is technically a quality start, but we all know leaves the team vulnerable. The bullpen let in another run. But Edgar drove in the first run of the game, a double (of course) that scored Vince Coleman. Then in the eighth, with the Mariners down 4-1, he doubled again, this time driving in both Coleman and Ken Griffey, Jr., and the Mariners won the game.

His 33 RBIs that month, if extrapolated over a whole season, would have been the third most in MLB history. 15 of those RBIs came from the 12th to the 20th, when he drove in runs in 9 consecutive games. Somehow the Mariners only won three of those games, but they were among the most important games that the Mariners ever played. Widely considered the season that saved baseball in Seattle, it’s hard to imagine the consequences being any more significant, particularly given that every win counted as they had to play a tiebreaker game at the end of the season. (And although I’m sure readers know, I cannot help myself from noting that they beat the Angels in that game.)

Somehow, Eugenio Suárez has outdone Edgar. Beginning with his game-winning 9th-inning 2-RBI double on July 25th, Geno drove in runs in 10 consecutive games, besting Edgar’s franchise record. Going 8-2 over those games nearly doubled the Mariners’ playoff odds. That doesn’t feel as consequential as Edgar’s streak, but if the Mariners end up playing in October, I think we’ll look back at this as the stretch when it all clicked.

It’s only fair that Geno is finally having some things go right. Over the first half of the season, he was striking out in 28% of his PAs while walking in 10.1%, which compares nicely to his 2022 numbers of 31.2% and 11.6%. In his other PAs, when he made contact, he was hitting the ball even harder than he did last year with roughly the same launch angle. But where he homered on 19.3% of his fly balls last year (down a bit from his career numbers, but about to the degree you’d expect for someone moving from Cincinnati to Seattle), that number dropped to 10.9% in the first half of this year. There was no real underlying cause, but it meant that whereas last year, he had a wRC+ of 131, heading into this year’s All-Star break, he was at just 99. His luck has started to balance out.

It all culminated in this impressive RBI streak, during which he slashed .310/.333/.500. It’s not Edgar’s August 1995, but it did amount to a wRC+ of 130, essentially what he did last year. And any time you’re even putting yourself in the same sentence as Edgar Martinez in August 1995, you’ve done something really, really right.

As I said, the streak started with a game-winning, late-inning RBI. And that’s how it ended too. In Game 2 of the sweep (we really need a name for this series), Geno broke the tie with a single off newly acquired Angels reliever Reynaldo López, your Play of the Week.

He broke the streak in Game 3, but you know what he did in Game 4? He hit a game-winning, late-inning RBI. I’m willing to bet Edgar was watching.

Honorable Mentions

Cade Marlowe does the unthinkable

Carlos Estévez hadn’t blown a save all year. Cade Marlowe was a former Savannah Banana with just 11 MLB games under his belt. Estévez got him in an 0-2 count. It was unthinkable.

J.P. Crawford Appreciation Honorable Mention: Part I

I was having an internal debate about which of J.P. Crawford’s Gold-Glove caliber plays this week to put here. There was the snag that ended Monday’s game after Isiah Campbell put the four-run lead suddenly in doubt. Or there was the unbelievable throw he made while falling backwards in the third inning of Saturday’s game. But then in the eighth inning of Saturday’s game, he combined the stakes of the first with the athleticism of the second.

J.P. Crawford Appreciation Honorable Mention: Part II

His glove and his sense of the strike zone are his carrying tools, but J.P. Crawford has leveled up his contact this year. The contract extension that will keep him in teal through 2026 might turn out to be the most underrated transaction of the last two years in all of MLB.

Cal earns a Beef Boy Bomb

After laying off a non-competitive pitch to begin the at-bat, Cal whiffed twice to find himself in a 1-2 hole. He then managed to work the count full. With a 3-2 count, he fouled off a sinker up and in. Then a sinker at the bottom of the zone. Then he only just got a piece of a four-seamer in the heart of the plate, and it felt like he’d missed his opportunity. But then he fouled off a change up low and inside to give himself yet another chance. On the tenth pitch of the at-bat, he got one he really liked. Our man earned this one.

Matt Brash gets him again

Shohei Ohtani struck out seven times over the Mariners’ four-game sweep of the Angels. But none came with higher leverage or looked sillier than this one. Unsurprisingly it came courtesy of Matt Brash.