The Seattle Mariners arguably have the worst offense in the American League, but have used solid pitching and defense, along with timely hitting, to become the hottest team in baseball. After beating the Baltimore Orioles last night, they have won five straight series and 11 of their last 13 games.
Following a 4-11 start, the Mariners are now 28-26 and just a half-game out of first in the West Division of the American League. Two other clubs have gone 8-2 over their last 10 games and share 30-25 records; the Milwaukee Brewers (14 of 18) and Arizona Diamondbacks (13 of 15) can also make claims to the hottest team moniker.
First baseman Justin Smoak has provided much of the fireworks for Seattle this season, and did the same last night. Trailing 2-0 with two out and two on in the bottom of the eight inning, he knocked a Jeremy Guthrie pitch well over the right-center field wall for his eight home run and a 3-2 victory over the Orioles. This marked their 14th come-from-behind win on the season, eight of which have come in their final at bat.
The Mariners’ batters haven’t held up their end, as the team is averaging a dismal .226 average, which is the low mark for MLB. Adam Kennedy has the best average on the team at .285, followed by Brendan Ryan at .282. Their top hitter over the last decade, Ichiro Suzuki, is third with an average of .272, placing him behind the team average of three major league clubs.
The starting pitchers posted an earned run average (ERA) of 2.93 in the month of May. Erik Bedard, who started for Seattle on Tuesday night, is part of that equation. He is attempting to revive his injury-hampered career in Seattle, and has gone 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA in his last six starts. He had a string of 20 scoreless innings snapped in the sixth inning.
Overall, the team has an ERA of 3.35, placing them in a virtual tie with the New York Yankees for first in the American League.
The Mariners go for the series sweep of the Orioles later today. Rookie sensation Michael Pineda puts his 6-2 record and 2.42 ERA on the line against Brian Matusz of the Orioles, making his first start since coming off the disabled list.