The fact that they’re looking for pop is not surprising. But Buster raises a good question:
Cruz I could see, simply because I feel like his market may be a bit constrained overall and Seattle may represent his best bet. Beltran has many more options and the question of “do I go to Seattle?” is highly unlikely to ever come up for him.
As for hitters steering clear of Seattle in general? Probably worth noting that, while Safeco did not become a hitter’s haven as a result of moving in the fences before the 2013 season, it did catapult from the worst park for hitters in baseball in 2012 to middle-of-the-pack this past season. Granted, single season park factors can be misleading, but it may be something where, over time, the place starts to lose its reputation as the ballpark where hitters go to die.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.