Trying to get his Mariners to take a different approach, Scott Servais makes it a ‘show and go’ game

As of 3 p.m., the playing field at T-Mobile Park was nearly vacant except for a few members of the grounds crew making last-minute adjustments to the well-maintained playing surface.

Normally, for an evening game, the field would be filled with Mariners players, preparing for that night’s game. Pitchers would pitch, infielders would do their normal job with Perry Hill, and batting practice would soon follow.

But there was not a player to see.

Why?

Well, manager Scott Servais decided that his team would have a “show and go” type pre-game routine. There would be no morning work from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., there would be no normal pre-match training, which runs from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. It was more about showing up and playing.

No, players were instructed to arrive a little later, relax at the clubhouse for an hour or two before getting ready for the game to remember that baseball, for all its intensity and pressure , is still a game. And games are meant to be fun.

“Coming tomorrow, we’re going to try a little something a little different before the game,” Servais said after Tuesday’s 5-0 loss to Texas. “We might come a little later, just roll it out and play. It’s kind of like you did when you were in Little League. You didn’t show up five hours before the game and you worried about the opponent and all that. You just showed up, made sure your uniform was clean, maybe had something to eat in case you needed it, then went out and played a game. So we’ll give it a try tomorrow.

This is not a new ploy or strategy. Servais has already done this with teams. Eric Wedge used this strategy before when the Mariners lost 17 straight games in 2011. He told his team not to arrive at Yankee Stadium until 5 p.m. for a 7 p.m. game to clear their heads and relax. The Mariners ended the streak that day with a 9-2 win. It helped that Felix Hernandez, who was in his prime, got the start that day.

So why do it?

“Just try something different,” Servais said. “What is the worst thing that can happen? »

Indeed, the Mariners have lost eight of their last 11 games playing below average baseball. It can’t be much worse than it was.

“Those of us who have known the game for a long time know that it’s a bit usual when you go through a bad period and show up a little later,” Servais said. “You take less focus, ‘Oh, I got my swing right, I got all these other things to do.’ It’s just to get out of the routine a bit and hopefully that helps tonight, but it’s about playing the game at 6:40 p.m. and not this backstage stuff, we’re just trying to shake it up a bit and see what it brings.

In recent struggles, the Mariners have scored a run in five of those eight losses and been shut out in another. While Julio Rodriguez and Eugenio Suarez have missed much of the last 11 games due to injuries, Servais has seen some of his hitters press home, trying to make up for their absences.

There have also been some unusual mistakes on the pitch that are more mental than physical. The Mariners, a team that played loose and free going into that position for the playoffs, looked tight.

“We didn’t play as cleanly as you usually see,” Servais said. “Our decision-making – maybe we’re hitting a particular spot that we shouldn’t because you’re trying to do too much. It’s, ‘I gotta get the big shot here. I have to get this guy in. I have to get something going. I’ll try to hit a home run here. It’s just trying to do too much. I’ve said throughout the strength of our team is the depth of our team and each of them leaning on each other. This is what will get us where we need to go. You have to believe. »

Robbie Ray said he’d like to see the out-of-town scoreboard turned off so players can’t watch it during the game to see what the Orioles, Rays or Blue Jays were up to that night. But the scoreboard was on during the game.

The clubhouse televisions were turned to coverage of Hurricane Ian and not the MLB Network.

“Are you going to tell people what to watch?” Servais said. “It’s tough. I mean, we’re human.

Remarks

  • Rodriguez (back weakness) is expected to return to some baseball activity before Thursday’s game and return to activity level over the weekend in preparation for his return from the injured list on Monday for the final series of the season.
  • The Mariners are hoping Suarez (broken index finger) can play third base at some point over the weekend against Oakland. Suarez was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday and was placed in the designated hitter lineup because he is still feeling some discomfort throwing.

About Richard Chandler

Check Also

Too much Twitter drama? Mastodon, clubhouse and others appear as options

Twitter has been a bit of a mess since billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk took …