BY Steve Rudman 11:03AM 04/09/2014

Mariners revive slogan: ‘Two outs, so what!’

The Mariners have scored 26 of their 39 runs with two outs, by far the highest percentage in the majors. Seattle plays the L.A. Angels Wednesday.

Corey Hart, signed as a free agent, smacked two home runs in Seattle’s 5-3 victory over the L.A. Angels Tuesday night.

The Mariners have trotted out many marketing slogans over the years ranging from the memorable — “Refuse To “Lose” (1995), “You Gotta Love These Guys” (1996-98) and “Sodo Mojo” (2001);  to the barely passable – “A New Day, A New Way” (2009), “Believe Big” (2010) and ‘True To The Blue” (2014). Although not an official slogan, a catchphrase from 2001 – “Two Outs, So What!” – seemed a perfect fit for a club that, during the regular season, could do little wrong.

The 2001 Mariners (116-46) tallied 927 runs, a franchise-record 339 coming with two outs. The 36.5 percent share of total runs seemed like a ton. Turns out, 36.5 percent is about the average for all Mariners teams dating to the inaugural year of 1977.

The year before “Two Outs, So What!” gained traction among fans, many of whom brandished signs with the phrase at Safeco Field, the 2000 Mariners scored 37.4 percent of their runs (340 of 907) with two outs. The 1997 Mariners tallied 37.7 percent (349 of 925), and the “Refuse To Lose Mariners” of 1995 39.5 percent (315 of 796).

“Two Outs, So What!” fits the 2014 season much better than it did the 2001 “Sodo Mojo” Mariners. Take Tuesday night’s home season opener.

In the third inning, after Angels starter Hector Santiago retired Mike Zunino (fly ball) and Abraham Almonte (strikeout) and Brad Miller reached on a wild pitch following a swinging strikeout, Justin Smoak singled, scoring Miller. Corey Hart then blasted a three-run homer, taking the Mariners from a 3-0 deficit to a 4-3 lead.

In the seventh, Hart followed a groundball out by Robinson Cano and a strikeout looking by Smoak with a smash over the center field fence for a 5-3 Seattle lead that boosted GM Jack Zduriencik several notches up the genius scale for signing the free agent, who didn’t play in 2013 due to a knee injury.

So the Mariners scored all runs with two outs, continuing a trend that has seen the club tally 26 of 39 runs – 66.6 percent – with two outs. Seven games isn’t much of a sample, but this is how that 66.6 percent compares to other Seattle teams since 1995:

Year Runs W/2 Outs Pct. Skinny
2014 39 26 66.6 Minnesota No. 2 in MLB; 46.3% with 2 outs
2007 794 318 40.1 One of only 2 winning seasons since 2003
1995 796 315 39.5 Season reduced to 145 games due to strike
1997 925 349 37.7 Won AL West at 90-72
2002 814 307 37.7 Missed postseason despite winning 93
2003 795 299 37.6 Won 93, but came up 3 games shy in AL West
2000 907 340 37.4 Went 91-71, reached postseason as wild card

But 66.6 percent is remarkable when compared to other American League teams after one week of the season. Only five clubs – Minnesota (46.3 percent), Boston (45.7), Toronto (44.4), Tampa Bay (44.1) and Cleveland (40.0) – have scored 40 or more percent of their runs with two outs.

In Minnesota’s and Boston’s case, scoring a lot of two-out runs hasn’t kept either out of last place in their respective divisions. But Tampa Bay leads the AL East, Cleveland is in second in the AL Central and the Mariners lead the AL West.

FIRST PLACE: The Mariners (5-2) have already spent seven days in first place, the same number as the 2013 (3) and 2012 (4) seasons combined. The Mariners have not spent more than seven days in first place since 2009 (22).

EX-MARINERS: With David Robertson on the 15-day DL with a groin strain, Shawn Kelly will assume the role of New York Yankees’ closer. Selected by the Mariners in the 13th round of the 2007 June draft, Kelly pitched for Seattle from 2009-12, compiling a record of 10-9, 3.52. The Mariners traded him to New York Feb. 13, 2013 for Abraham Almonte, Seattle’s leadoff hitter.

NEXT: LHP Roenis Elias (0-0, 1.80), who allowed two hits and one run over five innings in his MLB debut in Oakland April 3, will make his second start and first at Safeco Field Wednesday. The third Cuban to pitch for Seattle (also Diego Segui and Tony Fossas), Elias will be opposed by RHP Garrett Richards (1-0, 1.80), who defeated the Houston Astros 11-1 April 4.


YourThoughts

  • maqman

    This team is pretty good at coming from behind too.

  • RadioGuy

    Here’s one based on Cano’s “We can compete with anyone” statement: Compete with Heat. Yeah, it needs work, but it beats “Diamonds in the Dome” anytime.

    I remember when the M’s hired Lachemann after Maury Wills was shown the door, and a local sportscaster (cribbing from the BillyBall slogan from Oakland) used the term “ReneBall.” Didn’t work. Thank God nobody tried the same thing after Dick Williams was hired…cars would’ve been driven off the road.

    • art thiel

      What’s wrong with Richardball?

      • Desi Nex

        So yer sayin’ if they’d hired Lucy to manage we’d have gotten….

  • dinglenuts

    “GM Jack Zduriencik” and “genius” in the same sentence. Thanks for the laugh, Steve.

    Blind squirrels and nuts. And it’s only week 2.

    • 1coolguy

      Dinglenuts:
      Consider your post seconded!

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    “The Long Ball~getting to the Hart of it”….the chicks dig it and it helps win ballgames. Coreys a blazing right now. I do find it funny though that Cano was running around telling the press what we were lacking to be competitive when he was playing GM down in AZ and now its we are set~we can compete with anybody ~period. He certainly is enthusiastic.Its been a great last 10days~very entertaining.

    • art thiel

      Something tells me his agent whispered in his ear about not playing GM as well as 2b.

  • Miles Davis

    Welcome to the Twout-o-sphere.

  • Mark Neuenschwander

    I’m the TWO OUT…SO WHAT! guy lucky enough to have come up with the phrase and attending every home game with my boys to drop the banner down over the left-field railing every time the Ms had two out. We soon realized that the more important two words were SO WHAT. Whether being in the hole two strikes or two runs or, for that matter being down 6 runs in the bottom of the 8th, the 2001 Ms had that SO WHAT! attitude that kept them in the game, catapulting them to more than a few of those 116 wins. We never felt they were out of it. I agree that this years mariners fit the TWO OUT…SO WHAT! label, at least SO FAR.

    • Mark Neuenschwander

      Did it again last night against the A’s.