Mariners Insider Blog

Watchpoints: Gamel in a groove

Mariners outfielder Ben Gamel is on a tear lately.
Mariners outfielder Ben Gamel is on a tear lately. AP

Mitch Haniger’s return from the disabled list virtually ensures reduced playing time for Ben Gamel, Guillermo Heredia and Jarrod Dyson in the Mariners’ lineup.

If Haniger is going to play regularly in right field — and that's the plan — those at-bats have to come from somewhere.

Right now, though, it’s hard to see them coming from Gamel. While Heredia has been a steady performer and Dyson often an electric one, Gamel is batting .331 with a .400 on-base percentage.

Those guys don’t sit.

"Gamel is really seeing the ball well," manager Scott Servais said. "Not chasing pitches and getting on base. The swing is very good. Very short. And against left-handed pitching. We don’t expect that from a young player. He’s in a good spot."

And getting better.

Gamel is 23-for-53 (.434) in his last 14 games after going two-for-4 with two walks Monday in a 14-3 victory over Minnesota. His on-base percentage in that span is .467.

"I’m picking up the slider pretty well right now," he said. "Those tough borderline pitches, I’m able to lay off those. I’m getting my fastballs."

Gamel was the right fielder in Haniger’s absence but shifted to left field over the last two days. Gamel is also serving as the club’s primary leadoff hitter while shortstop Jean Segura recovers from a high ankle sprain.

If Segura returns, as hoped, at some point this weekend, Gamel figures to slide down in the lineup. But not out of it. Not for now.

Other watchpoints:

***Tuesday’s pitching matchup is a rematch from a tight June 8 duel at Safeco Field: right-hander Christian Bergman (3-3 with a 4.03 ERA) against Minnesota right-hander Kyle Gibson (3-4, 6,52). The Twins won the earlier game 2-1.

***Tuesday’s game starts at 5:10 p.m. Pacific time and can be seen on Root Sports Northwest.

***Gibson allowed one run in six innings last week at Safeco, while Bergman gave up two runs (one earned) in five innings.

***The Mariners set a season high in runs Monday in a 14-3 victory and matched a season high with 19 hits.

***Nelson Cruz has an 11-game hitting streak at Target Field and is batting .457 (21-for-46) in that span. Cruz also leads the American League with 50 RBIs.

***Mitch Haniger had a career-high four hits in Monday’s victory and raised his average to .348, which would lead the AL if he had enough plate appearances to qualify among the leaders.

***Joe Mauer has a .323 average (96-for-297) in 79 career games against the Mariners. He also has 25 doubles.

TIME CAPSULE

It was 26 years ago Tuesday — June 13, 1991 — that Alvin Davis became the first player to hit 100 homers in the Kingdome. It was a two-run shot in the eighth inning and lifted the Mariners to a 6-5 victory over Detroit.

Davis hit only one more homer in the Kingdome but is one of just three players to reach triple figures. Ken Griffey Jr. is the all-time leader with 198, while Jay Buhner had 125.

Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners

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