By Miles Liatos  Sports Radio KJR

The expectation going into this season was the Mariners would start hitting better. While there may be incremental improvements here and there, it’s still just the pitching that merits praise.

Former Mets GM Steve Phillips joined Mitch this morning to talk about the Mariners’ hitting woes, and how Hisashi Iwakuma fits into the M’s starting rotation. Phillips said Iwakuma is “One of the best kept secrets in baseball,” and elevates the rotation with the best 1-2 punch in the major leagues along with Felix Hernandez.

Iwakuma has a 1.61 ERA through seven starts.

“He is pitching extremely well, and he’s a guy that doesn’t do it with velocity; he does it with movement. He has pitches that move every direction, and he keeps the ball off the center of the bat, which allows him to be successful,” Phillips said.

Now that the pitching is there for the Mariners, Phillips said the hitting will need to pick up to be able to win more games. The key to making the Mariners competitive through their hitting is by having “team at-bats”, where each at-bat flows into the next one.

“The way a certain hitter works the pitcher in front of you should have some impact on you, and it should have an impact on the next guy and [the M’s] should feed off of that,” Phillips said.

But the Mariners lineup doesn’t have that right now.

“They just can’t seem to find a rhythm right now,” Phillips said.

For the full interview with Steve Phillips, visit Mitch's podcast page.