M’s come home to frustrating Safeco Field
SEATTLE – Casper Wells had launched a cannon shot to center field with the bases full, and his Mariners appeared ready to topple a starting pitcher who’d long given them fits.
But then, just as Matt Harrison of the Texas Rangers prepared to accept his grand-slam fate, center fielder Josh Hamilton raced back to the wall and hauled in the ball.
In the home dugout, Mariners players shook their heads, consoled Wells and began muttering.
Welcome to Safeco Field.
It was during that late-May game that Mariners starting pitcher Jason Vargas admits he began to swing his opinion from being steadfastly against moving in the ballpark’s fences to perhaps taking a closer look at the idea. Vargas, more than any M’s pitcher, is perceived to benefit from his home ballpark because of fly balls he yields that are caught at Safeco but could have been home runs in other places.
The issue should be front-and-center this homestand, starting tonight against the Dodgers, with the Mariners coming off a nine-day trip in which they scored 64 runs, including a 21-run thrashing of the Rangers in Texas. Seattle is averaging 3.3 runs per game at home. After scoring more than seven per game on their trip, the Mariners now are averaging 4.8 runs on the road.