Hot-hitting Mariners break MLB record with early home run barrage

Mark TownsendYahoo Sports Contributor

The Seattle Mariners have been Major League Baseball's hottest team since opening the season a week early in Japan. They've shown no signs of slowing down, either, largely because of an offense that is cranking home runs at a record pace.

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Behind home runs from Dee Gordon and Daniel Vogelbach during Thursday’s 7-6 win against the Kansas City Royals, the Mariners extended their streak to 15 straight games with a home run to begin the 2019 season.

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That moves them past the 2002 Cleveland Indians for the longest home run streak to open a season in MLB history.

Seattle has an MLB leading 36 home runs overall. In reaching that number, they’ve gotten contributions from everyone in the lineup.

Jay Bruce, who was acquired in the offseason trade that sent Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the New York Mets, leads the team with seven. Daniel Vogelbach, a 26-year-old designated hitter with limited MLB experience, has six. Mitch Haniger, Edwin Encarnacion, Domingo Santana and Tim Beckham each have four.

As a result of the home run barrage, the Mariners have an MLB best 13-2 record to begin the season and are producing runs like few offenses before them.

This level of production was not expected with Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz gone and Kyle Seager on the injured list. The rebuilt lineup almost certainly won’t be able to sustain it. However, the early success does bode well for Seattle based on MLB history.

According to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, the Mariners offense success has stemmed from a focused and united approach. Their mentality is that it's nine of them against one pitcher. They are each focused on extending at-bats in order to break down and wear down the opponent. Then they attack.

“The depth of our lineup and the quality of the at-bats we are putting together are exceptional,” Jay Bruce said before Wednesday’s game. “It’s something that we need to take advantage of as a team because no matter how rosy-colored the glasses are that you look through, it’s not going to be like this all year. We are just trying to get good pitches to hit. It’s a pretty consistent team-wide approach and a team-wide philosophy.”

Jay Bruce and the Mariners are riding high right now thanks to their home run barrage. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Jay Bruce and the Mariners are riding high right now thanks to their home run barrage. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Bruce is right that this hot streak won’t last forever. But the approach should have staying power as long as the current group stays healthy. That could be tested a bit after Bruce himself left Wednesday’s game with a sore Achilles.

For now, at least, the Mariners are riding high. It’s up to the rest of MLB to rise up or bring them back down.

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