SEATTLE — Some fun with numbers.
The Mariners entered Wednesday’s series finale against Houston ranking, as a team, below the American League average in all three slash categories:
***Batting average: At .225, only the Angels and Rays were lower among the 15 AL clubs. The league average was .245.
***On-base percentage: Their .306 OBP ranked 10th; the league average was .311.
***Slugging percentage: This was a little better at .394, which ranked right in the middle — eighth among the 15 clubs but still below the league average of .396.
As for OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage), the Mariners ranked 10th at .700. The league average was .708.
All of which suggests the Mariners have been a below-average attack through their first 20 games — except for the only offensive number that matters.
The Mariners ranked second among all AL clubs in runs per game at 4.45. Only Boston, at 5.10, was better. The league average was 3.98.
"We’ve benefited from the home run," manager Scott Servais said, "and we do have power. But there’s still a long way to go for us to reach our career norms."
The Mariners, through Tuesday, had 27 homers, which matched Baltimore and Houston for the most among AL clubs.
FIRST AT FIRST
For the first time Wednesday, the Mariners had both of their first baseman in the starting lineup. Adam Lind served as the designated hitter, while Dae-Ho Lee played in the field.
"First, I think Adam is comfortable DHing," Servais explained. "I don’t know how much Dae-Ho has done that in his career. And Dae-Ho has done a nice job defensively."
More than one-third of Lind’s career starts — 373 of 1,024 — have been as a DH.
Part of the reason for the move was because Servais opted to rest left fielder Nori Aoki while also keeping Franklin Gutierrez, a right-handed hitter, on the bench against Houston right-hander Collin McHugh.
Three players at Triple-A Tacoma lead the organization’s minor-league players in OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) through Tuesday: catcher Mike Zunino (1.275), outfielder Stefen Romero (1.069) and infielder Chris Taylor (.982).
Lo-A Clinton first baseman Dalton Kelly ranked fourth at .899, followed by Hi-A Bakersfield utilityman Jay Baum at .879 and Double-A Jackson outfielder Tyler O’Neill at .870.
Zunino also led the Pacific Coast League in OPS, while Romero ranked fourth and Taylor was 12th.
It was 15 years ago Thursday — April 28, 2001 — that the Mariners set two major-league records in an 8-5 victory over the White Sox in Chicago.
They became the first club to win 20 games by the end of April, and closer Kazuhiro Sasaki got his 13th save.
Francisco Rodriguez matched Sasaki’s 13 saves through April while pitching for Milwaukee in 2014. The 2003 New York Yankees broke the Mariners’ record by winning 21 games by the end of April.
Robinson Cano had 602 multi-hit games in his career. Only Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera, with 610, has more during Cano’s big-league career…Cano entered Wednesday with an AL-leading 21 RBIs…the Mariners, through Tuesday, had a five-game streak of their starters each pitching at least seven innings.
The Mariners have an open date Thursday before completing their week-long homestand with three weekend games against Kansas City at Safeco Field.
Right-hander Felix Hernandez (1-2 with a 1.80 ERA) will face Royals right-hander Kris Medlen (1-1, 6.00) at 7:10 p.m. Friday in the series opener. The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN.
A reminder: Saturday’s game is starting at 7:10 p.m., one hour later than originally scheduled.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners
AMERICAN LEAGUE RUNS PER GAME
Kansas City 3.75
New York 3.68
Tampa Bay 3.50
Los Angeles 3.43—————
American League average 3.98