SEATTLE -- Mariners manager Scott Servais has been the picture of calm throughout much of his first year in the dugout. Like most skippers, he understands the need to stay steady through the ups and downs of the 162-game drama.But every person has their tipping point and Servais reached his
SEATTLE -- Mariners manager Scott Servais has been the picture of calm throughout much of his first year in the dugout. Like most skippers, he understands the need to stay steady through the ups and downs of the 162-game drama.
But every person has their tipping point and Servais reached his briefly in the fourth inning of Thursday's 3-2 win over the A's when Leonys Martin drove in the first run of a taut pitchers' duel, only to get hung up in a rundown after aggressively rounding first base and forcing teammate Adam Lind to get thrown out at the plate for the final out of the inning once he saw his teammate caught in a pickle.
Asked Friday if he's seen any signs of the building pressure on his team to stay in the playoff hunt, Servais pointed to himself in that moment.
"Me last night when Leonys made that out," he said with a smile. "That's the maddest I've been all year. I went down the runway. [Roving instructor] Alvin Davis is a great guy. He was hiding out in the runway. It's the first time all year I've done this. I threw my hat down, some profanity came out of my mouth. He's looking at me with big eyes, 'Skip, you OK?' I said, 'I'm OK, Alvin.'"
But Servais isn't OK with those type of baserunning mistakes and he's seen a few too many recently.
"Every manager is going to have his pet peeves, whether it's a missed sign, a guy can't get a bunt down or misses a cutoff or whatever," he said. "For me, unequivocally my biggest pet peeve is running into the third out on the bases, especially when you got the big hit and you're just trying to take the extra base to make sure that run scored.
"We see it all the time and everybody says, 'Great job' and pats them on the back. Well guess what? The pitcher just says, 'Whew' and walks to the dugout. He got out of it. We did a really good job the first three or four months, but we've made three of them in the last three weeks."
Servais says Martin wasn't even trying to save a teammate by sacrificing himself. He just didn't see that the first baseman was in position to cut off the throw from right field.
"He knew it right away," Servais said. "He was mad at himself. But that is my pet peeve, no doubt. We had a situation in Houston earlier in the week where [Norichika] Aoki tagged up and got thrown out at third base [as a throw was cut off while another runner scored from third]. Everybody said, 'Oh, it was going to be bang-bang at home plate.'
"But if it's bang-bang at home and he's out, I'm OK with that. Most managers will say, 'Just give me the run.' Not for me. I trust in [third base coach] Manny Acta. He knows the arm strength of the outfielder, he knows the speed of our baserunner, he's going to make a decision and go with it. Keep the inning going, keep the pressure on. That's one thing we'll continue to talk about and certainly address going forward."
In Thursday's situation, the Mariners got the one run on Martin's RBI, but missed an opportunity to break things open. Mike Zunino opened the next inning with a base hit, which made it four straight batters with hits. But because Martin ran into an out on the bases, those hits added up to just one run.
And one snap by the skipper.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter [
@GregJohnsMLB]() and listen to his podcast.