HOUSTON — Let’s say you want to get someone’s attention. Channeling a little Clint Eastwood isn’t a bad way to go.
Let Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais explain.
“Coming out of the (All-Star) break,” he said, “our baserunning was something that we wanted to get better. We’ve been trying to come up with ways to get players to have more awareness about what we’re doing.
“So on a daily basis, we’re running (a tape of) the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from the night before. We run it in our hitters’ meeting.”
It doesn’t involve clips from Eastwood’s seminal 1996 spaghetti western, but that’s the inspiration: The Mariners watch taped highlights of their baserunning from the previous game.
“It the actual video from the back shots,” Servais said. “You can see the ball and where everybody on the field is moving. How we’re anticipating things.”
Nobody gets a pass.
“We had the situation the other day in Chicago,” Servais said, “where Robby (Cano) forgot how many outs there were. We showed that. That was one of the ugly ones. I don’t think anyone wants to show up on that.
“It’s just an awareness of what’s going on. One of the highlights (in Tuesday’s meeting) will be (Kyle) Seager scoring from first base on the double (in Monday’s victory over Houston), which is one of the good things.”
It’s hard to dispute the need to do something.
The Mariners entered Tuesday ranked last in the majors in running the bases at minus-16 runs in the BsR metric as compiled by www.Fangraphs.com. Detroit ranked second-worst among American League clubs at minus-12.4.
“We’re just trying to create an awareness of what’s going on,” Servais said. “You can only go out and practice baserunning so much. I think this helps a little bit in keeping guys in tune to it.
“Guys are noticing it on the bench. Guys are making comments. We had to get better, and I thought it was the way to go.”
Right fielder Mitch Haniger tested his bruised right index finger again Tuesday in pre-game workouts and could return to the lineup as soon as Wednesday’s series finale against the Astros.
“It looks pretty gnarly, the finger does,” Servais admitted. “It’s not bothering him swinging the bat at all. There’s a good chance he could probably be in there (Wednesday) and be available later (Tuesday) if we need him.”
Haniger suffered the injury Saturday when hit by a pitch on a bunt attempt. He previously said the main problem was that it prevented him from getting a full grip on the ball when throwing.
Some notable achievements from Monday’s 9-7 victory over the Astros in 10 innings (courtesy of the Mariners Baseball Information department):
— Edwin Diaz is the first pitcher in club history to record a save in four consecutive games.
— Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager each homered in three straight games. They are the fourth pair of Mariners teammates to do that, joining Raul Ibanez and Richie Sexson (2005), Dan Wilson and Jay Buhner (1995), and Mike Blowers and Buhner, (1995).
— The Mariners won 7-6 in 10 innings on Sunday in Chicago and 9-7 on Monday in Houston. That marks just the fifth time in franchise history that they’ve won back-to-back games on the road in extra innings. They have done it once in each of the last three years. Prior to 2015, they hadn’t done it since Sept. 4-5, 1984 at Texas.
— When Seager and Danny Valencia started the 10th inning with home runs, it marked the fourth time in club history that the Mariners have hit back-to-back home runs in extra innings. The last time was Ben Davis and Mike Cameron in the 11th inning on Sept. 8, 2002 at Kansas City.
— Yovani Gallardo got the victory in Monday’s game. It was his first victory as a reliever in his 14-year professional career. Earlier this season, he gained his first big-league save.
Cruz receives Heart and Hustle Award
Designated hitter Cruz is the Mariners’ recipient of the annual Heart and Hustle Award and becomes one of 30 club winners eligible to be selected as the overall winner.
The award is presented by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association and seeks to recognize “players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game.”
It is the only award recognized by Major League Baseball that is determined through a vote of former players.
Cruz is a repeat winner.
“His work with the Boomstick23 Foundation,” MLBPAA chief executive officer Dan Foster said, “(by) using sports and education to make a difference in children’s lives embodies the spirit of this award.”
Chicago White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier was the overall winner in 2016.