Despite emerging from the fourth game of the series victorious, the Mariners offense could find no success against the Houston Astros in their first series of the year.
On Monday, the M's faced 2015 AL Cy Young Winner Dallas Keuchel, but were shutout 3-0. The following day, they saw emerging star Lance McCullers and scored only one run, and infield single by Danny Valencia. Last night, they finally got a more favorable pitching matchup with veteran Charlie Morton on the mound. Jean Segura hit a two-run home run, but the Mariners lost 5-3. In the 13th inning, they loaded the bases but only managed a run on a Kyle Seager.
Naturally, George Springer hit a three-run walkoff dinger in the bottom of the 13th making the Mariners pay for their ineptitude. The M's didn't exactly explode in Thursday's victory, but a towering home run from Mitch Haniger, RBI groundout by Kyle Seager and RBI singles by Jarrod Dyson and Jean Segura in the ninth was enough to give them the 4-2 win, their first of the season.
It's only four games into the year, but there is some concern from Mariner fans. Kyle Seager is having his traditional slow April, but outside of Jean Segura, the M's offense has been silent. Nelson Cruz has looked a little off, and Robinson Cano had a weak series despite being murder on Houston pitching last year. If it weren't for the Mariner pitching being so strong, there would be serious cause for early worry.
Yet, despite the rough first four games all Seattle fans just need to take a deep breath and relax. Kyle Seager will have his off month, and then hit like crazy in May. Robby Cano took a couple weeks to get going last year too, and Nelson Cruz is way too good of a hitter to stay struggling for long.
The other factor is that Houston is one of baseball's elite, and are the heavy favorites for the AL West. Their pitching is terrific, and on top of that they have one of the better defenses in baseball. The Mariners open a three game set against the Angels, who are likely to have one of the worst pitching staffs in the bigs. The fact of the matter is, that the Mariners offense is too good and has too much talent not to get things going pretty soon.