CHICAGO -- Scott Servais' All-Star break may have been more of a break in name than actuality.While he did have some time away from the game, the Mariners' manager prepped for the second half of the season by going through the numbers and meeting with several players to chat about
CHICAGO -- Scott Servais' All-Star break may have been more of a break in name than actuality.
While he did have some time away from the game, the Mariners' manager prepped for the second half of the season by going through the numbers and meeting with several players to chat about the first half and the progress he wanted to see.
In fact, it was a question about that very topic -- the progress of two young players, in particular -- that drew a smile from Servais during his Saturday pregame session with the media.
"It's funny you should bring that up," Servais began. "That's kind of what we do at the half."
Specifically with regard to two youngsters, outfielders Ben Gamel (25) and Mitch Haniger (26), Servais had something in mind he wanted to pinpoint. He started on Gamel, highlighting a sequence the night before that could've ended up being crucial in what was a close game.
With the Mariners ahead 3-2, Jean Segura led off the fifth with a double, bringing Gamel to the plate to face White Sox starter James Shields. Gamel wasn't able to move Segura over, though, grounding out sharply to third.
"With Ben, the situational hitting stuff, I thought, was really good early in the year. He'd get a lot of key sac flys, stuff like that," Servais said. "Last night was a pretty big at-bat. Leadoff double by Segura, we failed to move him over. Those are things that you've got to improve upon, especially if he's going to hit in the two hole."
As for Haniger, he had a similar moment that affected Friday's game, as he failed to reach a double hit by Tyler Saladino that resulted in a run.
While the ball was hit well and deep to right, there was only a 5 percent hit probability for the ball, as it left the bat with an 89.3-mph exit velocity and 32-degree launch angle, as projected by Statcast™. However, it wasn't that play that Servais targeted, but instead something he saw far earlier in the year.
"He can steal bases. ... I really liked what I saw in Spring Training, his aggressiveness, taking leads and getting jumps," Servais said. "I'd like to see more of that going forward in the second half. They've got things to work on, our young players that have the ability to do a lot of different things. We've just got to get that ability to come out more consistently."
As things stand, those two may play a big role in what the Mariners do moving forward, having improved to 44-47 on the season with the 4-2 win over the White Sox on Friday. Just as important, though, may be how the team continues to respond coming out of the break.
"More than anything, the second half is kind of a restart. You have to somehow kinda wash out what happened in the first half, especially if you didn't have the first half you wanted to have," Servais said. "How do I start over? What can I do in the next 10 at-bats to get me kinda going again? And then focus on that and forget about the first few hundred."
Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago who covered the Mariners on Saturday.