BY SPNW Staff 12:02PM 05/31/2012

Now Do You Buy Into Eric Wedge's Optimism?

The Mariners, with 21 runs on the board Wednesday, have scored 31 times in their past two games after tallying just 11 runs in their previous five games combined.

Justin Smoak - Seattle Mariners - 2010 - 3

Justin Smoak drove in six of Seattle's 21 runs Wednesday with a pair of three-run bombs. / Ben Van Houten, Mariners

The Mariners entered Wednesday’s contest with the Texas Rangers having scored the fifth-fewest runs in the American League (207). There are a myriad of takeaways from Seattle’s astonishing three-touchdown (21-7) romp, but two stand out. First is that the Mariners scored 21 runs in Game 3 of the three-game series one day after scoring 10 in Game 2. Which means:

Seattle has scored 228 runs for the season and 31 – 13.6 percent – have crossed the plate in the past two games.

Prior to Tuesday, the Mariners, last in the American League in scoring in each of the past three seasons, had tallied just 11 runs in their previous five games combined.

“These guys really put it together these last couple nights,” said Mariners manager Eric Wedge, whose team outscored the Rangers, 31-11, in the back-to-back wins. “You’re seeing a lot of what we’ve been talking about with the potential of these young players. It’s fantastic to see.”

We’ll get to the second big takeaway in a minute. But first:

The 21 runs are the most in the majors in 2012, and the most by a Seattle team since Sept. 30, 2000, when the Mariners recorded a 21-9 victory over the Anaheim Angels in a game in which they had 22 hits, including five home runs.

This marks the third time in franchise history that Seattle has scored 20 or more times in a game. The record: 22 in a 22-6 win over Detroit April 29, 1999 (Ken Griffey Jr. six RBIs).

The Mariners scored eight runs in both the second and third innings in their 21-8 rout of the Rangers. Seattle is the seventh team in major league history with consecutive 8+ run innings but only the fourth since 1900.

The other three: the Boston Red Sox against the Philadelphia Athletics May 2, 1901 (innings 2 and 3), the Cleveland Indians against the New York Yankees July 29, 1928 (innings 1 and 2), and the Chicago Cubs against the Los Angeles Dodgers May 5, 2001 (innings 7 and 8).

The Mariners rang up 21 runs on the Rangers five weeks after Philip Humber tossed a perfect game against them. The Mariners are the second team in major league history  — and THE FIRST SINCE 1880, according to Elias Sports Bureau, to score 20 or more runs in a game in the same season in which they had a perfect game pitched against them.

According to Elias, on June 12, 1880, Lee Richmond threw a perfect game against the National League club from Cleveland, a team that earlier that season had a 22-3 win over Buffalo.

The Mariners’ 16 runs in the second and third innings are the second most in club history in consecutive innings. The Mariners scored 17 in the fifth and sixth innings against Detroit April 29, 1999.

The Mariners had a 16-0 lead after three innings Wednesday. Their previous largest lead after the first three innings: 13-0, Aug. 22, 2001 vs. Detroit.

The Mariners had 20 hits Wednesday, the first time they have had that many in a nine-inning game since Sept. 1, 2008, also at Texas.

The Mariners sent 13 men to the plate in both the second and third innings, the first time they’ve batted around twice in the same game since April 22, 2002, and the first time they have ever done it in consecutive innings.

The Mariners had not had a player produce two hits in one inning since Justin Smoak had two singles in the fourth inning against Cleveland April 17. Wednesday, both Jesus Montero and Michael Saunders had two-hit innings, Montero a single and home run in the second, Saunders a pair of doubles in the third.

The other big takeaway from Wednesday’s game: the Mariners scored 21 runs on 20 hits without a single swing of the bat from Ichiro, given the night off by Wedge.

Several on-line polls this week asked, “Would Ichiro benefit from the Mariners giving him more days off?” After Wednesday’s scoring orgy, a more appropriate question might be, “Would the Mariners benefit from giving Ichiro more days off?”

Throughout the season, as the Mariners have struggled offensively, Wedge has maintained that his collection of largely young hitters are still learning how to bat at the major league level, but that they have the potential for sustained success . After 31 runs in consecutive games, are you convinced?


  • Matt712

    It was a much needed display of talent by this young group to keep the faith. It was important because it shows just how talented they really are. Doesn’t mean they’re good yet; just means the talent is real. Keep the young nucleus together, and in a season or two those 21 runs might more often be scattered into three 7-run wins in a homestand.

    It’s also significant because it shows just how wacky and unpredictable youth can be. A team full of mediocre journeymen just doesn’t explode like this. And also doesn’t get shut-out as often. Experience is the key to consistency. Experience with talent is the key to success. Experience without talent is what we’ve become used to. Talent without experience? Let’s call that hope.

    • Steverudman

      Nice comments. Thanks.

  • Phharmening

    I couldn’t decide then if I was in a rare (good) dream or too intoxicated to care. Today, I’m pissed because it was the latter.  Oh well—    

  • jafabian

    This is a question better addressed in September.  Of 2013.  The M’s looked like they were making progress in Don Wakamatsu’s first year as manager then took a big step backwards the following year.  IMO, the onus is on ownership to keep this team together, let it grow and more importantly make the right decisions in making it better.  They can’t afford to throw money at the Richie Sexson’s and Rich Aurilla’s and bring them into the clubhouse but by the same token can’t settle for Russ Davis and let Mike Blowers go in the name of saving money.  

  • RadioGuy

    I’m still from Missouri on how well this youth movement is going to come out long-term because hope is based more on projection than reality, but I’ve always been with Wedge on how much raw talent the M’s organization has collected.  It was obviously nice to see the output in Texas, but that’s one team and one ballpark.  I’m not going to say a corner has been turned because these guys are SO young in terms of MLB experience, but we’re seeing signs that the light may be starting to go on with some of them. 

    Bascially, I’m with jafabian:  It’s going to take at least another year or two to really have a grasp on what we have here.  Art mentioned in a reply beneath a similar column that a veteran power hitter would really help this lineup, and I agree (having an outgoing positive influence in the dugout and clubhouse a la Buhner or McLemore would be beautiful, too), but we have what we have. 

    This is a process:  One step forward and two steps back is just painful…one step forward and one step back is a sign of stability…two steps forward and one step back is progress and ultimately contention.  Right now, we’re approaching a sort of “painful stability:” you can see signs, but nothing consistent about them.  Still, I am so much more optimistic about the longterm future of this team than I was in 2010.

  • Pixeldawg13

    S. Owen
    #189 R.Palmeiro, #391 Jose Canseco

    D. Akerfelds
    #19 Roger Clemens, #22 Ricky Jordan

    B. Swift
    #31 Greg Maddux, #47 Tom Glavine

    M. Campbell
    #22 R. Palmeiro, #94 David Justice
    So in ’82, Palmeiro was drafted but didn’t sign, then was drafted in ’85?

  • Cruddly

    It is fun to wonder what might have been if the Mariner’s had made the correct picks so many years ago, but in that case, you have to take the good with the bad.  If the Mariners had taken Roger Clemens or Ozzie Smith or Cal Ripken, or some other franchise changing player, their presence on the team probabably would have affected the Mariners’ position in future drafts because the team would have been a vastly improved.  If they had Cal Ripken in the lineup, for example, the Mariners probably would not have had the number 1 pick in 1987, when Ken Griffey Jr was chosen.
    It’s like that sci-fi scenario where this guy goes back in time to prehistoric days, picks a flower along the way, and then returns to the present to discover that his seemingly trivial little action had drastically changed the course of history.  Roger Clemens, playing for the Mariners, would have had a similar effect.