M's are "Smoakin"!

[caption id="attachment_11" align="aligncenter" width="241" caption="Justin Smoak"][/caption]

Despite losing the latest series against the White Sox, I’m hearing foreign words such as “rounding third”, “coming home”, and “Mariners on top” much more often.

The M’s recent success is spreading and it began in Detroit, on April 26th, with a three game sweep that gave fans a reason to believe that this team has the strength of character to put forth the effort to win games. However, the question remained whether this anemic offense could remain consistent after scoring 24 runs in a three game period. Many fans, and rightly so, predicted zero to one run games in the following series. That question of consistency was answered when the M’s traveled to Boston to take on the Red Sox; winning two of three in the series with the lone loss resulting, in part, by Ichiro’s rare blinded by the sun moment. M's followed up that series by taking two of three from the Texas Rangers.

These recent road trips have awoken Seattle fans (yes, we may be “sleepless in Seattle” again) and the news is spreading that we may have something more than hope to hold onto.

The progress of the Mariners has me wondering though, was it Eric Wedge's closed door meeting, which took place 12 games ago, the reason for the M’s winning 8 of them?

Justin Smoak has to be considered the catalyst in this new offense fans are seeing. Smoak, after coming off the bereavement list and dealing with his father’s death, has been hitting .364 in the last 7 days and now leads the team with 21 RBIs. As Smoak steps up to the plate, he looks calm and collected as he waits for the pitch he’s looking for. I am no longer seeing him trying to force the ball into play on off-speed pitches. He’s letting the game and the pitch come to him, and as it does, he’s ripping the cover off the baseball.

Of course, baseball is very much a team sport and we have seen the pitching become stellar as of late, including Eric Bedard’s rebound from early season woes. Michael Pineda struck out 9 on April 29th and was soon awarded Rookie of the Month honors shortly after. Chone Figgins is finally hitting the ball into the gaps and Miguel Olivo is seeing his bad luck fade away on hard hit balls to the outfield. As far as King Felix goes, well, he's been King Felix.

So, Seattle Mariner fans, based upon the three series against the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, and the Texas Rangers, our future may have a brighter outlook than expected. We’re getting younger (Carlos Peguero and Mike Wilson recently being called up to take Milton Bradley's roster spot), and producing better than expected results thus far.

For more good news, Franklin Gutierrez, whose stomach ailments have finally been diagnosed as IBS, is progressing in his rehabilitation assignment in AAA Tacoma. He should take over for a struggling Michael Saunders in one to three weeks.

ChatSports’ Mariner Dugout:

Check out the highlights of Smoak's at bats (He's killin the ball)

Don’t forget to vote for Justin Smoak and Ichiro to the All Star Game!

Current Prediction: Mariners win 2 of 3 against the Baltimore Orioles

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