The Seattle Mariners have a new front office and coaching staff, but do they have a new toughness as well? On Tuesday night, with Seattle leading 5-2 in the eighth inning against the Texas Rangers, the M’s found themselves facing former teammate, Tom Wilhelmsen. Wilhelmsen was traded this past offseason in a deal that brought Leonys Martin to the Mariners.
The past few seasons when the Mariners have faced a former teammate, it hasn’t gone well for them. Here are a few recent failures.
May 7, 2012
The Mariners faced Doug Fister who was traded to the Detroit Tigers at the trade deadline in 2011. Fister went seven innings, allowing four hits and no earned runs.
May 5, 2013
Steve Delabar, who the M’s traded away in 2012, faced them for the first time and struck out two in one inning of work.
Also in 2013, Shawn Kelley had three appearances against the M’s allowing just two hits and one earned run while striking out six in three-plus innings. Kelley was traded from the M’s to the New York Yankees in February of 2013.
The Mariners traded Hector Noesi to the Texas Rangers in April of 2014. He appeared in two games against the M’s while with the Rangers and allowed no runs in four innings of work. The Rangers then traded Noesi to the Chicago White Sox where he would make two starts against the M’s. In those two starts (14 innings pitched) he allowed no earned runs while striking out nine.
June 4, 2015
Erasmo Ramirez was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in March of 2015. In his only start last season against the Mariners, he went five innings, allowing one earned run and striking out five.
Fast forward to Tuesday night and Robinson Cano was the first to face Wilhelmsen. On the first pitch, he hit a moon shot that landed in the upper deck at Globe Life Park. Next up was Nelson Cruz who hit a blooper that turned into a double. Kyle Seager drove Cruz in with a hard double down the line. Seth Smith then homered off Wilhelmsen.
The Ex-Mariner had seen enough. He then proceeded to hit Chris Iannetta in the back of the leg. Iannetta had a few choice words for Wilhelmsen, who was ejected from the game. This incident was followed by Rangers’ manager, Jeff Banister, and Mariners’ skipper, Scott Servais exchanging pleasantries across the field. The Mariners went on to win the game 10-2.
While the benches didn’t clear and no punches were thrown, it was clear the M’s had a swagger about them when facing their former teammate. While you don’t want to put much stock into early season results, I think both the players and manager showed the people of Seattle something they haven’t seen or heard in a long time, toughness.