Before the game Sunday, Mariners manager Scott Servais admitted the off day Monday was a welcomed break at home.
But he also noted “there is no better way to go out than with a win (Sunday).”
And that is what Seattle did, destroying Tampa Bay, 7-1, as pitcher Ariel Miranda recorded his first complete-game effort, and the bottom of the lineup carried the scoring.
The real question is - with the way the past week has been, should the Mariners want an off day?
Three takeaways from Sunday’s victory:
***Streaking Miranda a life saver: After a rough spring training, Miranda was ticketed to be the Tacoma Rainiers opening-day starter at Triple-A.
Thankfully it never came to that. Through injuries, Miranda has become the team’s second-most reliable pitcher behind James Paxton.
When he can spot his fastball with its usual giddy-up, and command the split-finger pitch like he did Sunday, you are going to see performances like these by the Cuban left-hander.
Catcher Mike Zunino said Miranda was on point with all four of his pitches, including a slider and curveball.
Now on a career-best five-game winning streak, Miranda is 6-2 with a 3.74 ERA.
“We wouldn’t be a in good spot,” Servaias said, “without Ariel Miranda.”
***Zunino’s new approach working: Even a day later, everyone was still talking about Zunino’s grand slam Saturday that nearly went out of Safeco.
But. interestingly, Servais said the at-bat of Zunino’s that impressed him the most in that 9-2 win was the double to right center.
That is where the power-hitting catcher went again Sunday for his two-run single in the fourth that gave the Mariners a 4-0 cushion.
Servais said when the organization sent Zunino to the minors in early May, it was for him to strictly make a mechanical adjustment by flattening out his swing plane so he could stay above more pitches.
“The quality of at-bats have been great, even when he’s not getting hits,” Servais said.
***Bottom’s up: Against the Rays, the M’s final four hitters in the lineup — Danny Valencia, Taylor Motter, Jarrod Dyson and Zunino — carried the series. They drove in 24 of the team’s 28 runs.
When that happens, Servais said, the offense is “really dangerous.”
He said any team’s offense would if its last four hitters hit .488 and had that kind of production in a three-game series.
Over the past eight games, that part of the lineup has hit .424 with 25 runs, 10 doubles, five home runs and 34 RBI.