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Mariners Go Big On Individual Feats, Not Team Wins

Ted S. Warren
AP Photo
Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma celebrates after he threw a no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015, at Safeco Field.

The Seattle Mariners have had plenty of gold nuggets this season -- a no hitter, a player leading the league in home runs, a star pitcher on another great season -- but the team's overall fortunes have not reflected individual accomplishments, said KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel. 

"The Mariners have had moments of individual stellar play but it hasn't worked as a group at all," Thiel said. "This is a pretty good baseball team but they haven't been consistent in the key elements of the game."

The bullpen has failed. The starting pitching doesn't generally go deep into games. A there is a lack of timely hitting.

The Mariners, he said, "are the worst in baseball" about driving in runs when runners are in scoring position. 

"The Mariners lead baseball in extra innings games played. They lead in games decided by one or two runs. And they lead baseball in games lost in an opponent's last at-bat," he said.

Thiel said this means the team has played well and generally is in games right up until the end. But they don't hold leads well and they don't rally consistently.

"It's been a remarkable thing; there's been no one injury, no one trade or something that is easy to point to," he said. "A cumulative shortcoming by all parties has led to this dilemma.

"Yet they've won eight of the last 12."


Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.