The Seattle Mariners are looking like a second-place team, and when you’re in a division with a team like this year’s Houston Astros, that’s not that bad of a place to be in. The Mariners saw the return of Felix Hernandez from the DL and won their sixth straight game, knocking off the Astros.
The M’s have had a pretty weird season, with more than enough injuries to go around, and a minor league call-up, Ben Gamel, now only six at-bats away from qualifying for the MLB batting average lead. Previously struggling catcher Mike Zunino now leads the MLB in RBIs for the month of June, and perhaps the weirdest part of all, the Mariners are above .500.
Friday night’s game was the perfect storm of Zunino offense and Felix’s return from the DL, and resulted in a resounding win over the red-hot Astros.
“Everybody knows what kind of team the Astros have and the year they’re putting together,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Now that our club is back and we’re starting to get in a nice flow with our offense, it was nice to put some big innings up there tonight. You can go up and down the lineup and it’s starting to be a different guy every night.”
King Felix’s return to the mound also brought back the “King’s Court,” a Safeco Field tradition. The Mariners have made due with a very ragtag group of pitchers in their rotation while guys like Felix, Hisashi Iwakuma and Drew Smyly heal from injury. And the result has been better than anyone could expect, especially from Seattle.