Seattle Mariners

Mariners need more consistent attack to mount postseason push

Ben Gamel had a career-high five RBIs in Monday’s loss to the Orioles.
Ben Gamel had a career-high five RBIs in Monday’s loss to the Orioles. AP

If the Mariners, with their patchwork rotation, are to make a genuine postseason push over the season’s final 30 games, the driving force — as manager Scott Servais keeps saying — needs to be their potent but often inconsistent attack.

"It’s got to be everybody chipping in," he said again Monday after a 7-6 loss at Baltimore. "It can’t just be the same guys every night."

There are some hopeful signs as the Mariners look to pull themselves out of a three-game skid when their series against the Orioles continues at 4:05 p.m. Pacific time Tuesday at Camden Yards.

Left fielder Ben Gamel, after some subtle swing adjustments, drove in a career-high five runs Monday after registering just four RBIs over his previous 29 games.

"I’m really trying to simplify it," Gamel told reporters after the game. "I’ve just felt rushed and am really trying to slow things down."

Catcher Mike Zunino is surging again at 8-for-19 in his last five games, including three doubles and a homer. He resembles his June form, when he batted .304 and had 31 RBIs in 24 games. Not the guy who batted .188 in the next 38 games.

"I’m getting there," he said recently. "Obviously, I made some quick changes and June was nice and rewarding in the sense of results. Then probably about two weeks ago I tweaked something with my hands (and) really felt good since then.

"It's sort of the second phase of making this swing adjustment. I’ve been feeling better up there, feeling more free and easy and able to get my swing off."

What would really help now is for shortstop Jean Segura and right fielder Mitch Haniger to pull out of extended slumps.

Segura’s average is down 52 points to .300 over his last 39 games, and he has just four hits in his last 35 at-bats. He also has a .293 on-base percentage during those last 39 games; it was .391 prior to his slide.

Haniger is hitless in his last 18 at-bats and is 5-for-34 in nine games since returning from a three-week absence after being hit in the face by a pitch. His overall average is down to .240.

OTHER WATCHPOINTS

***Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (5-4 with 4.52 ERA) starts Tuesday against the Orioles. He has been the most reliable member of the Mariners’ rotation over the last few weeks by posting quality starts in each of his last three outings.

***The Orioles are expected to activate right-hander Dylan Bundy (12-8, 4.18) from the bereavement list prior to the game. He got time off because of the death of his grandmother.

***It was raining throughout the afternoon in Baltimore, but the forecast calls for clearing skies around game time. The Mariners have been rained out five times in Baltimore but not since 2004.

***Bundy is 4-0 with a 3.76 ERA in his last six starts. The Orioles won all six games. He did not pitch earlier this month against the Mariners during a three-game series at Safeco Field. He was 0-0 with a 3.18 ERA last season in two starts.

***Ramirez is 2-3 with a 2.98 ERA in 16 career games, including six starts, against the Orioles. He pitched seven scoreless innings in two relief appearances earlier this year against them while still with Tampa Bay.

***The Mariners (66-66) start the day trailing Minnesota (67-63) by two games in the race for the American League’s final wild-card berth. The Orioles (66-65) trail the Twins by 1 1/2 games.

***The Mariners are 5-5 on a season-long 12-game trip that concludes Wednesday afternoon at Camden Yards. They are 32-34 overall on the road.

***The Mariners lead the American League with 95 1/3 innings from their bullpen in August. Miami leads the majors with 96 innings.

***Nelson Cruz, a former Oriole, has a 15-game hitting streak at Camden Yards. He also continues to lead the American League with 101 RBIs.

***Robinson Cano has 837 extra-base hits in his career, which ranks 98th on MLB’s all-time list — one behind Edgar Martinez and Rusty Staub.

***Prior to Monday’s 7-6 loss, the Mariners had won 16 straight games when scoring six or more runs. Their last such loss was 9-6 in 10 innings to Kansas City on July 5.

***Reliever Marc Rzepczynski turned 32 on Tuesday. He is 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA in 52 games.

***Kyle Seager needs one more extra-base hit to reach 50 for a sixth consecutive season. That would be the second-longest such streak in franchise history. Martinez had a seven-run run from 1995-2001.

TIME CAPSULE

It was 35 years ago Tuesday — Aug. 29, 1982 — that Gaylord Perry joined Walter Johnson and Cy Young as the only pitchers in MLB history to strike out at least 100 batters in 18 consecutive seasons.

Perry reached the milestone by striking out Lance Parrish to start the second inning of a 6-2 loss to Detroit at the Kingdome.

Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners

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