Two games may not matter much, but the Mariners have done everything it needs to do so far

No, there’s probably no point in trying to attach any real importance to a two-run win to start the season.

MLB history is littered with teams that failed in early April only to mid-May.

The Mariners, in particular, have wowed fans several times with success in their first few series before spiraling into a permanent sub-.500 abyss.

But let’s focus on now – because that’s the definition of fun.

The Mariners lineup has innumerable newcomers from last season, but the identity of the team has not changed yet. As he did throughout 2021, M has not outmaneuvered his opponents, but simply ousted them.

First, a 2-1 win over the Twins on Friday, when American League Cy Young winner Robbie Ray protected a two-run lead with Mitch Hanniger scoring his first-innings home run. Then, Saturday’s 4-3 comeback win over Minnesota, which was sparked by a ninth-inning double by rookie Julio Rodriguez, with two outsiders, was driven by new second baseman Adam Frazier, who was driven by Ty France. was conducted by. ,

For a team that has sparked more off-season buzz in more than a decade, this was as perfect a start as it could have been. And though it’s impossible to tell whether the Mariners’ winning ways will last, it’s safe to say they have the attention of town.

“There is no panic with this team,” said France. “From one to nine, we can get it done. We count on every guy who’s stepping up to the plate. Julio – he hasn’t got a hit yet, it’s the ninth inning, he’s just out Goes and does it. Anyone in this lineup can get it done.”

Some encouraging news through Games 1 and 2.

1) Ray hasn’t quit (yet) since posting the best season of his career. In his Mariners debut, the 30-year-old conceded just one run and three hits in seven innings, while scoring five runs. There’s a reason Ray didn’t get the elite money reserved for a pitcher like Gerrit Cole or Chris Sell or David Price. He has not been that consistent in his career. Friday was a good sign.

2) The bullpen still looks sharp. Relief pitching was the reason the Mariners struggled till the last day of last season. Hurlers such as Paul Sewald and Drew Steckenrider regularly locked out hitters in a game of one or two runs to give Seattle 90 wins. Yes, Andres Munoz dropped a two-run homer in the eighth inning on Saturday as the twins took the lead. In all, ‘Kalam has played six innings conceding just two runs. It will work for a long time.

3) France is feeling it. Ty led the Mariners with 4.3 WAR (by baseball reference) in the first season, in which he had over 201 plate appearances. It was a blessing that M expected, but probably didn’t expect. Through two games, he is short of .571/.700/1.414 with a game-winning RBI. And although no one is pretending that this is a significant sample size, no one will argue with the results.

4) Logan Gilbert put in the work. The second-year right-handed pitcher had long been one of the top prospects in the minor leagues. And though he was inconsistent last year (he posted a 4.68 earned run average in 119 1/3 innings) he shone in moments. Against the Twins on Saturday, he played five innings and conceded just one run and three hits. He didn’t win, but the Mariners probably wouldn’t have won without him.

I know I know. M won 13 of their first 15 games in 2019 before a 68-94 finish. I am not declaring anything right now. MLB can go up and down more than any professional team sport. There will inevitably be skids for this team down the road – probably starting on Sunday.

Right now, that’s the kind of excitement Mariners fans were all hoping for for the off-season. A Cy Young winner dominated, an All-Star (Haniger) slammed a two-run homer off his first bat of the season. And a hyped-up rookie (Rodriguez) returned with a ninth-inning double, the first hit of his big-league career.

There is an eternity to go for M. Everyone in that clubhouse knows it. But in game two, they are doing what they did for 162 games last season – keeping us entertained.

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