In case your haven’t noticed, the Mariners have been playing fairly decent baseball these days, despite the offense sliding on a slick, downward trend. Despite one erroneous, baseless report; Ichiro has nothing to do with it. The blossoming, callow Mariners are showing new signs of life and despite the disappointing trade deadline and the overall negative overtones of this entire season, there just may be a light at the end of the tunnel.
As I stated prior, the Mariners offense isn’t exactly bursting at the seems. Yes, they have put together this recent winning trend against teams with less than stellar records, but the again Seattle isn’t exactly sporting the best record themselves. Beating a bad team when you yourself are a bad team is still something to be proud of. The road ahead figures to be more challenging, as the Mariners fend off a few series with playoff implications. Though it certainly wouldn’t be impossible for the Mariners to rattle off another seven in a row, it’s also highly unlikely. But if the Mariners can slip in a win here and there against the Orioles, the Angels and the Rays, then the path afterward begins to get a little smoother. The Mariners will face off against the struggling and oft injured Twins, and the Indians who are having a season very similar to Seattle. They hit a small patch of turbulence when they square off against the White Sox but it’s not as if they are an unbeatable powerhouse. But immediately after they battle the Twins again before finally hitting true tough times again in September, where nearly every team they face will be pushing for a playoff spot. It’s been said that playing spoiler can really bring out the competitive fires in a team, but is anyone really buying that product?
The Mariners have been able to find patches of success this year and that can only be a sign of good things to come. The Mariners have found opportunities to win, even though Dustin Ackely is mired in a truely horrific offensive season, Justin Smoak has been completely useless, Jesus Montero hasn’t shot out of the gates like a cannon, Ichiro wasn’t good again, Franklin Gutierrez has been disabled all season long, Noesi has been ghastly, Chone Figgins and Miguel Olivo are still a members of this team, Brendan Ryan has only offered value with his glove, and Casper Wells wasn’t allowed to play for the majority of the first half of the season. Despite everything that has gone wrong, the Mariners have found a way to win, and that is extrodanarily encouraging. The Mariners are only going to get better next season. While it is impossible to promise the health of Gutierrez or the resurgence of Smoak for 2013, it’s not impossible to believe that Ackley will have a bounce back season or that Jesus Montero will begin to figure things out at the major league level.
Many of the players on this team have nowhere to go but up. This team, this product is finding a way to have sustained success out there on the diamond this season, and if that alone isn’t encouraging just pair that with the improvements that are almost destined next season. I still believe that 2013 has slipped away from Seattle as a playoff window, but maybe 2014 isn’t that far away. Jack really does have a plan, and while a few hiccups have set him back… he never lost sight of the overall vision. We’re close.