Tough road in August? Mariners say 'Bring It'

Club set to play 20 of its 27 games away from Safeco Field

Tough road in August? Mariners say 'Bring It'

ARLINGTON -- As the calendar turns to August, the Mariners face a difficult stretch of road games that has been staring them in the face since the 2017 Major League Baseball schedule came out last winter.

Twenty of Seattle's 27 games this month will be played away from the friendly confines of Safeco Field, with the month comprised of two lengthy road trips -- a three-city, nine-game trek and a monster four-city, 12-game East Coast journey -- sandwiched around one seven-game homestand.

The Mariners have two choices. They can complain about it or embrace the challenge. Manager Scott Servais selected the latter, holding a team meeting prior to Monday's road opener in Texas and passing out T-shirts to each player and coach emblazoned with "Bring It" across the front.

The Mariners' road record is 22-26 going into Tuesday's game against the Rangers, but they've won nine of their last 11 and will need to carry that trend forward if they plan to compete for an American League Wild Card berth.

"We know we're on the road a lot this month, and it doesn't have to affect us in a negative way," said third baseman Kyle Seager. "We can take this as a challenge and an opportunity to go out there and really make some noise in this hunt."

Seager's solo homer in 10th

Regardless of where the Mariners play, they'll need to make some noise offensively to really make a push. Seattle went 14-12 in July on the strength of its pitching, as the offense had its worst month of the season, posting a .235/.298/.391 slash line, well below its season averages of .259/.328/.415.

Jean Segura hit .300 for the month, but the next-highest average for a regular was Seager's .256. Nelson Cruz hit .239, though he led the club with seven homers and 20 RBIs. Robinson Cano was at .213 with three homers and 13 RBIs. Mike Zunino fell off from his red-hot June to hit .188 with five homers and eight RBIs, and Jarrod Dyson (.179) and Mitch Haniger (.176) both struggled at the plate.

The Mariners held serve in July thanks to a pitching staff -- led by James Paxton -- that had the third-lowest ERA in the AL at 3.68 and lowest WHIP at 1.17. Seattle's bullpen had the second-lowest ERA in the league at 2.29, which was the seventh-best month in franchise history.

The silver lining there is that if the offense gets back on track down the stretch and the pitching stays healthy, the Mariners could be poised for a nice run.

"Everybody is optimistic that eventually that is going to get going," Servais said. "And when it does, it'll be really good. But our offense was all over the board [in July]. We had a couple good days, then we'd fall off the map and be non-existent for a couple.

"Nelson has had his hot and cold streaks, same as Robby a little bit. But Kyle coming out of the break looks much more consistent. That's going to be key for us. You have to hit on the road."

Seager, who has hit .323 with four homers and eight RBIs in 17 games since the All-Star break, figures it's only a matter of time before the club starts clicking on all cylinders.

"We've obviously had our share of injuries and all these other things, but we have a really good offensive team," Seager said. "Our outfielders can run 'em down, and we know we can score runs in a variety of ways. You go through little ruts like that, but we know at the end of the day and end of the year, the numbers will be there for us. And that means there are good things coming."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.