After splitting the Japan games, the Seattle Mariners concluded their unusual four0game series against the Athletics with a sweep of the two games played in Oakland. An uplifting start to the 2012 campaign.
Chone Figgins, always versatile in the field, has re-emerged in the leadoff spot, displaying the skills at the plate that enticed the Mariners when he tortured them as an Angel. Michael Saunders, who hit a homer last night, is off to an unprecedented start. Saunders, a terrific athlete who shines in the outfield, is making the most of Franklin Guttierez’s absence by demonstrating vast improvement with his bat. Dustin Ackley and Kyle Seager have been major contributors to the offense and Ichiro has thrived in his new role in the three-spot, hitting an RBI triple yesterday and driving in a run with a sacrifice the night before.
Though the guys at the top of the order are really getting it done, the bottom of the order, particularly Saunders in the eight spot, has also contributed greatly to the Mariners balanced offense, putting a hurt on Oakland. Six players have averages at or above .300 and even Munenori Kawasaki (who took Ryan’s place last night due to his neck issues flaring up), factored into the equation with his first Mariners’ RBI of the season.
The starting pitching has been solid (Hernandez and Vargas) and it was fun to see the team provide the necessary run support to take the pressure off. Though last night’s lead shrank from 7-1 to 8-7 late in the game, Brandon League brought it home once again with a stellar performance, maintaining his 0.00 ERA.
Way to go guys! We left for Texas after the game, and after a day off today, will face the 2011 division champion Texas Rangers. If the Mariners’ hitting continues, this will be interesting!