At the end of a long season it is not uncommon for teams who are far out of the postseason race — such as the 2013 Seattle Mariners — to essentially give up on the year, bring in a bunch of young players, and widen their win-loss gap in the negative direction even further. But while the Mariners have brought up a bunch of young players to give them their first taste of big league action, the results have been pretty enlightening.
Struggling at first against some of the better teams in the league, the young guns on Seattle’s roster have really picked it up as of late and have really begun to impressively cap off a 2013 season that saw some highs and a bunch of lows.
In their latest series against a team who was still statistically relevant in terms of the playoff push, the Kansas City Royals, the Mariners played stellar baseball and showed what fans showed up to the park a preview of what could be a solid base for 2014.
With that said, here’s a brief recap of last series’ action.
September 24, 2013 – 5-6 Loss (Extra Innings)
If you wanted to talk about a hard-fought and downer of a loss, all you need to do is talk about Seattle’s opening game against Kansas City. Fighting back from an early two-run deficit, the Mariners and Royals saw themselves all tied up after the ninth inning, forcing the game into extra frames. With Kansas City still playing for a spot in the playoffs, the young players on Seattle’s roster were gearing up to play spoiler on what was a brilliant and promising season for the Royals.
And with Kyle Seager on third, pinch hitter Endy Chavez sent a fly ball that Seager tagged-up on before appearing to beat the throw to the plate. However, the home plate umpire saw that the throw narrowly beat Seattle’s stellar third baseman and the catcher applied what was a brilliant tag to keep the game going.
With nothing doing in the 11th for both squads, the Royals struck for a run in the 12th to take a 6-5 lead and eventually the ball game.
September 25, 2013 – 4-0 Win
It may be a bit early in his career to declare him a budding star, but James Paxton is exactly that. Having a bit of a struggle in his last outing against the Detroit Tigers, Paxton got right back on track against the Royals, tossing seven scoreless innings while surrendering just four hits, no walks, and striking out 10.
Talk about domination.
This kid is the real deal and was helped by Seattle’s bats, as they collected one run in the first and three in the fifth off a three-run shot by Justin Smoak. This was exactly the kind of game the Mariners needed and really highlighted the promise surrounding the team in the future.
September 26, 2013 – 6-0 Win
In his final start of the 2013 season Hisashi Iwakuma was once again stellar. Shutting down KC’s lineup throughout the game, Kuma tossed eight innings of four hit, one walk, and nine strikeout baseball en route to a 6-0 victory and his 14th win of the season while lowering his ERA to 2.66 on the year.
It was an awesome performance of sheer perfection and capped a great season for Seattle’s latest Japanese superstar.
I’m not saying that their latest series is any indication of what the team will be like in 2014, but we can only hope so as the Mariners looked like an already much improved squad against a pretty good Kansas City team.