Know Thy Enemy

Know Thy Enemy – Mariners

Seattle
2001
Was the last time the Mariners reached the postseason. It’s the longest active playoff drought in MLB; and would also qualify in the NFL, NBA, and NHL. Surprisingly, the M’s 253 wins are the fifth most in the American League during the past three seasons.

1999
The year Seattle opened Safeco Field. The Safeco name is no longer after the insurance company decided not to renew its agreement with the club. The park’s now called T-Mobile Park — at least for the next 25 seasons.

NOVEMBER
Is when GM Jerry Dipoto began chopping older, expensive players from his 25-man roster. He made nine trades that moved players the likes of Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz, James Paxton, Jean Segura, Juan Nicasio, Alex Colome, and Mike Zunino.

JANUARY
Is when Dipoto signed 27-year-old Yusei Kikuchi — one of Japan’s top pitchers. The lefty has 4 quality starts in 7 outings, but has allowed 17 ER in 33.2 IP, including multiple home runs allowed on three occasions.

NO LEAK
Mike Leake has pitched 7 consecutive seasons with at least 30 starts and 50 or fewer walks — a feat matched only by Greg Maddux who pitched 13 such seasons consecutively.

KING FELIX
Now in his 15th season, Hernandez makes his third career start against the Cubs on Tuesday; the last one coming at Wrigley Field in 2016. Hernandez has pitched to a 3.91 ERA in 5 starts covering 25.1 IP; he’s struck out 21 and walked only 3.

SOUND SLUGGERS
The Mariners lead all of baseball with 59 HR.

M’s HR LEADERS
9 – Bruce
8 – Vogelbach
7 – Encarnacion
7 – Haniger
6 – Beckham
6 – Santana
5 – Healy
5 – Narvaez

SUPER SERVICE
La Crosse, WI native, Scott Servais, played his college ball at Creighton under then head coach (and former Cubs GM) Jim Hendry and eventually would play for the Cubs from 1995-to-98. He began his coaching career as the Cubs Roving Catching Instructor in 2003-04.

This is Servais’s fourth season skippering the Mariners, and he received a multi-year contract extension last July while the team was in the thick of the postseason race. Despite finishing with 89 wins last year, their highest win total in 15 seasons, the M’s ended up third in the AL West.

Seattle (18-13) jumped out to an impressive 13-2 start this year, but are 5-11 since; and scheduling appears to have a lot to do with it. The M’s are 18-5 against clubs with a losing record and 0-8 against teams with a winning one.

TRADES
The discrepancy in win-loss records is one reason why we should expect Seattle to be sellers at the trade deadline. And there’s plenty of name value that will potentially end up on the trading block: King Felix, Edwin Encarnacion, Dee Gordon, Mike Leake, and others of course…

FAMILIAR FACES
Jim Brower is in his first season as the M’s bullpen coach … the previous two seasons he was the Cubs minor league pitching coordinator.

Mike Cameron recently joined the staff as a Special Assignment coach. He’ll work with the club’s minor leaguers on defense and base running, two areas in which Cameron shined during his playing days with Seattle (2000-2003).

Ichiro retired following the Mariners opening series in Japan (a perfect sayonara). He currently resides in his home country but is expected to rejoin the Mariners organization as a Special Assistant to the Chairman.