By Shannon Drayer
Some very quick thoughts on what we have seen and some very encouraging numbers as we head to the airport.
With Sunday's 11-5 win over the Astros, the Mariners pick up their second straight sweep and extend their winning streak to an MLB-best six games. They also improve their record against AL West teams to 27-24 – 7-5 against Houston, 7-6 against the Angels, 8-5 against Oakland and 5-8 against Texas. Does that surprise anyone?
Sunday's win was not unlike many of the wins we have seen lately. Timely hitting, good at-bats, and get the starting pitcher out quickly. Jordan Lyles lasted just four innings, which is somewhat par for the course. The talk about good at-bats is more than just talk. Coming into Sunday, the Mariners were seeing 3.96 pitches per plate appearance in the month of July, good for third best in the American League. This is up from the 3.88 pitches they had seen through June, and it is especially impressive considering how many young hitters are contributing to this.
As a result of these at-bats, including today, the Mariners have held starting pitchers to an average of just 4.9 innings per start in the month of May. Erik Bedard's 6 1/3-inning performance Saturday was just the second-longest outing by a starter against the Mariners this month (one starter threw seven innings). On the other side of things, six starters had outings of four innings or fewer. This has been a focus of the team, and it is clearly paying off.
Some quick numbers from the past 30 days (all this quick talk is because there is no internet on the plane and I would like to get this posted before we take off). The team over the last 30 days ranks:
• First in home runs with 40
• Fourth in runs scored
• Fifth in walks
• First in ISO (by 18 points)
• Ninth in average at .266
• Sixth in OBP at .337
• First in slugging at .475 (Detroit is second at .452)
• Second in wOBA (a better OPS)
• Fist in wRC+ (measures runs created compared to league average)
Again, we are not just talking about the last two weeks here. The above is from the last 30 days.
Note: There were a ton of scouts here the past three days. The pitching has been of particular interest, but the hitters are being watched as well.
Before the game Eric Wedge reiterated what Jack Zduriencik said before the break in that he didn't see the team actively shopping people and that someone would "really have to raise the bar" to get them to make a move. A new rumor I heard this weekend is that the Rangers are very interested in Raul Ibanez.