Talking Points: Mariners getting productive

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What's the buzz from the world of sports? Here are some items that will have people talking:

1

Don't look now, but the Mariners might be finding their way. Entering Saturday, they were 6-3 in their past nine games, 11-9 in their past 20; Kyle Seager and Michael Saunders are turning into productive hitters; and they grabbed a piece of history Friday by using six pitchers on a combined no-hitter.

It makes you wonder where the Mariners might be if they hadn't been hamstrung with a ridiculous Ichiro Suzuki contract five years ago. Finally in the last year of a $90 million deal, Ichiro has been less than productive for nearly a year-and-a-half. His on-base percentage since the start of the 2011 season is .306.

If they hadn't committed $18 million a year to an outfielder who is now 38, Seattle might have been able to afford a decent hitter during the past couple offseasons.

2

For the stat geeks among us, Sports Illustrated passes along some amazing facts about the Cincinnati Reds' Joey Votto:

• Votto has not popped up to the infield all season. In fact, he has popped out to the infield only three times in 2,138 plate appearances over the past four seasons.

• Votto has pulled a ball foul into the stands only once in his entire major league career. Once. "Sure, I remember it," he said. "It was my rookie year. It wasn't that deep — and maybe 20, 30 feet foul. I haven't hit a long home run foul in my whole career."

3

Wondering how Seattle feels about the team formerly known as the SuperSonics advancing to the NBA Finals? Steve Kelley of The Seattle Times writes:

"But watching (Clay) Bennett hoisting that trophy, seeing him treated in that town like some senior-citizen Caesar, pounded home the point that we shouldn't be happy for their success. … Watching the celebration in OKC made me feel a little bit like the jilted boyfriend who hears his ex-girlfriend just won the lottery."

(Click here to read the complete Steve Kelley column)

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