By Bob Dutton The News Tribune
DETROIT— The trade-deadline additions currently boosting the Seattle Mariners didn’t all come through trades.
Shortstop Chris Taylor is batting .370 with a .426 on-base percentage in 19 games since his July 24 promotion from Triple-A Tacoma.
“I’ve definitely been fortunate,” said Taylor, who batted .328 in 75 games for the Rainiers. “The balls I’ve been putting in play are finding holes somehow. Hopefully, that continues.
“I know it’s not going to last forever, but it’s nice while it does.”
More important, perhaps, is Taylor’s impact on the Mariners’ defense.
Advanced metrics from Baseball Information Solutions show Taylor, entering Saturday, had already saved three runs above average and was playing at a plus-27 pace for 1,200 innings (the comparative standard).
In contrast: Brad Miller is rated at minus-3 and minus-5 for his 90 games this season at shortstop, while Mariners’ shortstops, as a whole, were an aggregate minus-11 and minus-9 for 2013.
“(Taylor) is pretty solid with the glove,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He moves well. He’s a natural shortstop. Even that error he made (Friday) night, he never really let it affect him.
“The next play, he just (glove-)flipped it over (to second base for a force out). That shows you the confidence that this kid possesses.”
Taylor turned sheepish when asked about his glove-flip — “I’ve never really done that before. It kind of just happened.” — but was matter-of-fact in breaking down his subsequent play on a grounder deep into the hole.
The Tigers had a run in with two outs in the third inning with a runner at second. Victor Martinez pulled a grounder deep into the hole that Taylor smothered with a diving stop, saving a run, before throwing to first.
The throw bounced, but first baseman Logan Morrison fielded it cleanly while retreating over the base. Morrison held on to the ball when his movements created a collision with Martinez.
“I knew it was hit hard enough to where I had a shot at first,” Taylor said. “I ended up giving LoMo an in-between hop, and he made a great play just to keep it in front. But he actually made the play and got the out.”
It was spectacular stuff on both ends. It also snuffed the Tigers’ best threat of the game. The Mariners went on to a 7-2 victory. Taylor had two hits and a walk in four plate appearances.
“He has excellent arm strength,” Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. “He made a number of plays ranging to his right.”
The glove, the bat and the Mariners are 13-6 when Taylor plays.
“It just feels great,” he said. “This is where you want to be, especially the way we’re playing. We’re in the playoff hunt. The atmosphere is great in the clubhouse. It’s an awesome experience.”