By Robin Dich, Sports Radio KJR
Again, Mariner fans will jump on any sign of hope that they can start playing winning baseball. Should people take this past week seriously? The Mariners took 4 out of6 games against Texas and Cincinnati, and last night they picked apart Boston’s ace, Jon Lester. Fans should take these flashes seriously because this is what this team is capable of when the young guys actually do what is expected.
I’m not talking about Miller, Zunino or Franklin. The players I am talking about is the group of prospects that were supposed to be, but haven’t shown up yet. Those guys are Justin Smoak, Michael Saunders and hopefully Dustin Ackley after he gets over his injury.
How can we tell if Smoak has finally turned the corner? Is that even possible? Since the month of July, Smoak has raised his batting average from .244 to .265, his OBP is near .370 and OPS have shot up to .788. Not only that, but Justin Smoak has never hit this well this late in the season before. However, Smoak has done this before, has had a hot streak and gives us some hope. With Justin Smoak, you need to wait at least from here on to the rest of the season before evaluating whether or not he has moved forward.
Now with Michael Saunders, it’s hard to see if he can recover from such a disaster of a season. Last year he hit .247 and was thought he was going to become even better this year. Especially after the World Baseball Classic this past offseason and won the MVP, and was hitting over .700. Where did that go? It’s slowly coming back to him and with better hitters around him and not needing him to produce at the top of the line up it’s a lot easier for him now.
It should be a lot more exciting to watch the Mariners the rest of the year, I’m not saying they’re going to be a playoff team, but it won’t be as frustrating, more like watching a team grow. There is a new attitude in Seattle with Franklin and the younger guys are starting to make an influence on the other guys.
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