Today the Mariners won a battle of a game against the Texas Rangers. With a 4-3 victory after an aggressively back and forth affair, the M’s are now .500 so far on this roadtrip. If this team goes on to win the series in Oakland, this 9 game road trip will be look on as a success.
Despite being hammered 15-3 on Saturday by the Rangers and 7-1 by the Rays on Thursday, the Mariners can still feel good about what’s happened since they’ve left the confines of Safeco Field. For all intents and purposes, this season is over in the sense that these 2013 Mariners will (most certainly) not be making the playoffs. What’s left for this year is to continue developing these young prospects that are playing the rest of the season at the Major League level.
That means repairing Nick Franklin’s bruised ego: once considered a frontrunner for AL ROY a month and a half ago, the Mariners new second baseman has been on a tailspin offensively, especially since opposing pitchers have found him more or less incapable of hitting the breaking ball with regularity.
That means continuing to encourage and educate Brad Miller, also known as Sergio and Crazy Legs: he has looked good (not great) at short, and his crazy legs have been carrying him to extra bases all season long. That needs to continue through September, and be sustained going into 2014.
That means Dustin Ackley needs to keep up the good work offensively and his serviceable work defensively.
It means, too, that Smoak needs to keep up his mature play and Saunders needs to start hitting again.
But more than anything else, the end of this season will speak volumes to the future character of this Mariners team. Do they need more power hitters that can stay healthy? Sure. Do they need healthy catchers and a souped up bullpen for 2014? Of course.
But as of today, sitting at 3-3 on this roadtrip and 57-66 on the season, the Mariners are looking at a final month full of fresh faces, growing pains, and player development. Yes, it’s too soon to look at 2014 as the future, but 2013 will be as important as anything else in preparing these young players for the success this team has in store in the near(ish) future.