Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Michael Saunders and The Mariners Success

When the baseball season started, it was believed that The Mariners were in for a tough year and it was supposed to be a learning experience. The Marinerswere supposed to improve but many thought that we were in for another 90 loss season. It looked that way on July 13 right after the all-star break when they were sitting at 36-52 and again heading for an abysmal season. Improvement was the key for the season and many fans wanted to be at .500 when the season came to an end. At 36-52 the mariners were on track for another 90 loss season and hope was disappearing. People began to question Eric Wedge and Jack Zduriencik. That is ridiculous to question them since we were told at the beginning of the year that it was going to be a streaky team. This team is different than the past teams that have struggled, and it is because this team is young. In fact, it is the 3rd youngest team in baseball so it is expected for this team to struggle at times. Young players are very streaky and if many are struggling on this young team then they will lose. Until they become more consistent, we will see a very streaky team that will have lows and highs. We are seeing the highs being put together right now as the Mariners are sitting at 59-64 and only 7.5 out of the wild card. In the middle of July no one would have thought that the Mariners could put together a record like that, and be anywhere close to the wild card. We are beginning to see something this month that we have not really seen since 2001 (2009 does not count for me). We are seeing a consistent team, we usually see a consistently bad team but this one is turning into a consistently good team. They have won 13 of their last 14 at home and have gone 23-12 since July 13. They are winning as a young team and that can be very hard to do and especially without a veteran “bopper” in the middle of thelineup. The pitching has been fantastic again and that has been consistent, but it is the hitting that is being surprisingly consistent. Not only on the road but at home too, at the dreaded Safeco Field. The hitters are no longer afraid of the fences and one of the hitters that has done a full 360 is Michael Saunders.

Last year Michael Saunders started the year on the team but was horrific throughout the year and was eventually sent down but his line looked like this. He had a .149 average with 2 HR and 8RBI, 56 SO to 11 BB in 58 games. He looked downright awful and it was believed by many that he was done and had no future with the Mariners. Another prospect down the drain was the general thought. Then something magical happened over the winter, he decided to reshape his swing so it would be shorter and quicker and rebound mentally so he could have the confidence to be a MLB outfielder. With the 2 HR last night he brought histotal to 13 with 41 RBI’s on the year, his defense has been stellar and for awhile he was batting in the .270’s. He went through a 2-38 slump but once again bounced back recently to bring his average back up to .248. Although the average is not amazing he brings back hope to a team that has never won a World Series. He is one of the pieces to the puzzle for The Mariners and has been shining all of this year. This year has brought hope back to Mariners fans and if they can be more consistent, next year could be a playoff year.

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