SEATTLE -- The wins are piling up for the Mariners, and you can bet they're having fun.The Mariners, who took a six-game winning streak into Wednesday's series finale against the Blue Jays, have come out on top in 12 of their last 16 games and have won four of their last five series. This all coming from a team that has occupied the cellar of the American League West for the majority of the year. "We've just been happy, just trying to score runs, trying to play hard baseball and it's fun," Felix Hernandez said. "It's kind of contagious. We're just playing together and we're doing the little things. We're winning games." Winning makes it easier to have fun, and having fun makes winning easier. As the club has success, bonds grow between teammates, Dustin Ackley said. "Everybody really enjoys everybody else," Ackley said. "I think when you have that chemistry, I think that really helps. That might be hard to believe, but I think when everybody's got that feeling of, 'OK, if I don't get it done, the next guy's going to get it done,' and that kind of mentally. I think that's where we're at right now. The benefits are showing up on the field, but it's also visible in the clubhouse. The team held a beer shower for Brendan Ryan after he finally climbed over the Mendoza line on Tuesday, the hoots and hollers echoing down the hallway.
Thames homers in Mariners debut
SEATTLE -- Eric Thames, who was traded to the Mariners on Monday, made his Seattle debut on Wednesday, starting in left field and batting eighth.Thames' first game with his new club came against the Blue Jays club that dealt him, and he made an immediate impact, hitting a game-tying two-run homer in the fifth inning for his first Seattle hit.
The Blue Jays drafted Thames in the seventh round in 2008, and Thames appeared in a combined 141 games with them over the past two seasons.
The outfielder knows the adjustment will take some time, and he's glad to get the process under way.
"I just want to get the first few games out of the way so I can just get used to ... the new team and everything," Thames said. "It's weird just because everybody I went up the system with is somewhere else. I don't know many of these guys, besides yesterday meeting all of them and guys in the Fall League."It's no pressure, [though], it's just go out there and play hard and help the team win, and guys respect that. That's how team unity's built."
Furbush, Gutierrez continue to make progress
SEATTLE -- Charlie Furbush continues to make strides as he works back from the strained left triceps muscle that landed him on the 15-day disabled list. A successful bullpen on Wednesday is the latest checkpoint for the Mariners' left-handed reliever."Just got to sit down and put a game plan together for him," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "Looking at probably sending him out to [Triple-A] Tacoma to pitch." The news isn't as cut and dried for outfielder Franklin Gutierrez, who continues to engage in baseball activities as he tries to recover from a concussion. Wedge said Gutierrez is still experiencing headaches, although they are less consistent and not concussion-related. He believes the oft-injured outfielder is headed in the right direction. "Just going to see how he feels today," Wedge said. "Ideally, if everything goes well today, we'll leave him back, let him continue to work in Tacoma. Eventually get him out on a rehab assignment." Gutierrez has played in just 13 games this season due to several ailments. There is no timetable for his return.
Mariners starters, who are are 9-1 with a 1.69 ERA in their last 13 starts, produced 2.73 ERA in July. The mark is a club record for any month and was also tops in the Major Leagues. Wedge said there was no particular situation in which he is trying to debut rookie reliever Carter Capps. Wedge said the hard-throwing right-hander's first-career appearance will be dictated by how games play out. Top pitching prospect Danny Hultzen will miss his next turn in the Tacoma rotation, but Wedge said there is nothing physically wrong with the left-hander. "Just trying to manage his innings," Wedge said. "Getting later in the year, it's his first full year. Just trying to manage his innings. We don't have a set plan. He's there pitching, we want him to go out there and pitch at that level and we'll see where it goes." The Mariners had scored in the first or second innings in 14 of the last 16 games entering Wednesday. They are 23-13 this season when scoring in the first frame.
Josh Liebeskind is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.