May 31, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon (23) pulls Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Chris Young (53) from the game during the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Mariners Can't Beat Bad Teams


Remember that 11-game home stand to end May? The one where the Mariners played 8 division games in a row? At the time I said that the M’s would need to outright beat both the Astros and the Angels for me to consider those series successes. Of course, none of you would be surprised to hear that the M’s split both of those series. Following those games, the M’s faced the AL leading Tigers and took 2 of 3, then won in New York again yesterday. I’ll admit, the Tigers have been slumping a bit recently, but I don’t think that has any bearing on losing to the Astros.

It’s becoming more and more clear as the season wears on; the Mariners are actually a good team, they can compete with the best teams in the league and often times they can win. But if you put them up against a mediocre opponent the wheels fall off.

It’s not just anecdotal from the last week either, it’s been happening all season. This is a list of some of the teams that the Mariners have lost series to through 2 months of the season:

Series the Mariners have NOT won
Oakland A’s Texas Rangers
Miami Marlins Houston Astros
KC Royals (split a 4 game series) Tampa Bay Rays
Minnesota Twins Houston Astros (Split a 4 game series)
LA Angels (split a 4 game series)

 

Barring Oakland, who is currently leading the AL West, the rest of these teams are not loaded with all-stars. In fact, through this point in the season, those teams are a combined 188 – 210. (Excluding Oakland). The teams the Mariners have lost to have a winning percentage of .472.

The fact that Houston is on that list twice is kindof irritating. In fact, there are 3 teams on that list who are last in their division (4 if you count KC who are tied with the Twins for last in the AL Central).

At this point it should be clear, these are some teams that the Mariners should be beating more than half of the time, but for some reason they aren’t. I first thought it might be a home v. away problem. If you recall, the Mariners started the 2014 season with a grueling road schedule that saw them crisscross the country a few times. That may not be the case however, since the M’s actually have a worse home record (14-15) than road record (15-13). (Fun fact! The last time the Mariners finished a season with a winning home record was 2009; 48-33).

Lets take a look at some of the teams the M’s have beaten so far this season (series wins):

Series the Mariners HAVE won
LA Angels Texas Rangers
NY Yankees Houston Astros
Oakland A’s Detroit Tigers

 

Thoughts on what the combined win percentage is for these teams? Spoiler Alert: it’s over .500.

These teams have a combined record of 178-159, a win percentage of .528. That’s a significantly better record than the one listed above (56 points better, to be exact).

Look, this list contains two division leading teams, and two more teams that are in second place for their division. Yet for some reason, the Mariners have beaten every one of them.

So what the hell? The Mariners certainly have to pull their socks up for this one (or down, depending on how superstitious you are). The most frustrating thing about this is that the M’s have proven that they can beat these teams, but when it comes down to it they fall short to teams they should be beating. Certainly getting Taijuan Walker back, and sending Brandon Maurer back to Triple-A might have be solutions, but I doubt that will solve all the problems.

The worst part about this is that it allows us to play the “what if” game even more. What if the M’s beat weaker teams more often? What if Maurer was 2-2 instead of 1-4? It’s like the M’s are right on the brink of success, but then they stop for a second to tie their own shoelaces together, just so that they can make it interesting.

 

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