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Seattle Mariners defy expectations with a homer-powered surge

Seattle Mariners v Chicago White Sox
Seattle Mariners first baseman Daniel Vogelbach celebrates after hitting a three-run double against the Chicago White Sox on April 7.
(Nuccio DiNuzzo / Getty Images)

A look at who’s hot and who’s not in Major League Baseball this week:

THREE UP

1. Are the Seattle Mariners for real? Probably not, but ... they do keep winning games and hitting home runs. Perhaps the most surprising contributor is Daniel Vogelbach, a former first-round pick who homered six times in his first 10 games.

2. The only team with a winning record in the American League East, home of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox? You guessed it: The Tampa Bay Rays, with an offense led by brilliant center fielder Kevin Kiermaier and a pitching staff anchored by players you have never heard of.

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3. Whit Merrifield, the best player on an otherwise unsightly Kansas City Royals team, broke a franchise record held by George Brett by extending his hitting streak to 31 games. The streak ended Thursday when the Royals lost their 10th game in a row.

THREE DOWN

1. Walker Buehler looks like he caught what ailed Kenley Jansen last spring. Buehler appeared in only one Cactus League outing and has been dreadful to start the season, with an 8.25 earned-run average in three starts for the Dodgers.

2. The friendly confines of Coors Field haven’t done much for the Colorado Rockies offense. The team entered the weekend slugging just .339, worse than every team in the National League besides the woeful San Francisco Giants.

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3. It’s hard to jeer a man who just guaranteed himself $35 million, but the industry howled when Atlanta Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies took a team-friendly extension. Albies can be under control for nine seasons and earn a maximum of $45 million, which, considering he is 22 and was an All-Star last year, feels like a bit of a discount.

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andy.mccullough@latimes.com

Twitter: @McCulloughTimes


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