Dee Gordon has six of the Mariners’ 17 MLB-leading stolen bases. (Getty)
When you open the season with a record 15 straight games with at least one home run, like the Seattle Mariners have, it’s reasonable to be labeled a power-first team.
That’s not all the Mariners have going for them, however, according to the MLB Network’s Brian Kenny.
“It’s an interesting lineup … and they run the bases very well,” Kenny said Thursday on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny, Dave and Moore, right after the M’s came back to beat the Kansas City Royals 7-6 in extra innings to improve to an MLB-best 13-2 on the season.
It is an interesting combination that Kenny points out. The Mariners lead the MLB with 34 home runs, but they have also swiped a league-leading 17 bases and per FanGraphs are second only to Tampa Bay in BsR, an all-encompassing base running metric.
Kenny said the power and speed Seattle possesses could make its early success sustainable.
“If you have that power with base running, you can outplay some mistakes,” he said.
The Mariners did just that in Thursday’s win, coming back from a 6-3 deficit in the eighth inning to win a game where they committed two errors and the bullpen gave up two runs.
There is one thing that concerns Kenny about the Mariners’ ability to be a real contender this season, however.
“The pitching I don’t think is deep enough, and I think it’s going to come down to (general manager) Jerry Dipoto, after ‘re-imagining’ the lineup and selling off a lot of parts, does he start buying again if they’re still 10 or 11 games over .500 sometime in June or July?” Kenny said. “It’s a matter of can the pitching actually be there for them to make this realistic.”
That being said, Kenny also sees an opportunity for Seattle to sneak into the postseason because of the makeup of the American League.
“What is happening in the American League is you have a vast haves and have nots, and so far some of the haves have struggled,” he said. “You can go from the mindset of (playing for) the second wild card to hey, there’s two wild cards that could be in play, and who are we really competing with? The Twins? I can’t see the Mariners, even with their base running and power, beating out the Astros for the division title. But a wild card would be fun, and I think that is possible with the way the American League is constructed right now.”
You can listen to the full segment with Kenny in the player embedded in this story or download a podcast version at this link.
Read full story