Updated May 31, 2012 - 10:24 am
The Mariners remembered who they are!
"Hit the ball. Just hit the ball. Hit the damn ball. HIT IT!"
It seems like such a simple concept. But those were the words that poured out of my mouth on Tuesday morning after watching another M's snoozer the previous night.
The team had lost five straight and I momentarily lost the ability to see the whole board. I forgot that baseball is played over 162 games and that the Mariners are being built over a time frame even longer than that.
Justin Smoak hit a pair of three-run home runs Wednesday, raising his season total to nine. (AP)
Five straight losses and a collection of batting averages that offend even Mario Mendoza can make a guy lose focus.
But for two straight nights in Texas, they reminded us all that long-term plan is still intact. The Mariners scored 31 runs in 18 innings, 22 runs in just four innings. They crushed home runs. They took walks. They capitalized on mistakes. They blew out the best team in baseball.
I know it seemed hard to imagine just two days ago, but the Mariners have won three of their last four series, beating arguably the best team in baseball in two of them.
It just underscores the same point. You can't get too high and you can't get too low. It's a cliché and it goes against everything natural to a sports fan. But it's true.
Two days ago we wanted to see a sign that the young talent was actually, you know, talented! Today, we have that reminder. Justin Smoak has raised his average 58 points since May 8 and showed off the power we want to believe he has. Jesus Montero showed his power on the long bomb to right-center, but I was even more impressed that he carried the left-center fence on a line drive. Talk about a screaming mi-mi!
Kyle Seager continued to show that he belongs in the middle of an order and at a corner-infield position. Dustin Ackley looked like a top pick once again.
I won't jump up and down tonight because the M's put together a football score in the heart of football country. I won't declare that anyone has turned a corner. I won't make the same mistake I made on Tuesday when I was ready to give up.
Instead, I'll be happy that the young players reminded me why the future is potentially so bright. I'll be happy they reminded themselves.
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