Mariners First Half Review
I know that a lot of people didn’t have very high expectations for the Mariners this season. We had a terrible 2008, and we were entering a rebuilding year.
Looking at AL West predictions back in February, everyone had the Mariners in last place. Most people were projecting us at between 65-70 wins. I had higher expectations than that, but I had to keep them to myself for the most part to avoid being laughed at.
Until proven otherwise, most people were going to consider the Mariners a bad team. Well, I think the 2009 Seattle Mariners have proven otherwise.
The M’s shot out of the gate in April, immediately jumping to the top of the AL West standings and finishing off the month with a record of 13-9. May wasn’t as kind to the Mariners, though. They struggled in both the pitching, and offensive categories, meanwhile falling out of first place and losing all five games they played against their division rival Texas Rangers.
With the season on the line, the Mariners put May in their rear view mirror and got right back on the horse in June. They got themselves right back into the thick of the AL West race, and survived their toughest road trip of the season, going 5-4 against the Dodgers, Yankees, and Red Sox.
They finished the first half of the season by taking three out of four games from the Texas Rangers, putting themselves just 4 games out of the division lead.
Of all the people who deserve credit for the Seattle Mariners miraculous turn around, there is perhaps no one more worthy than general manager Jack Zduriencik, who made several key moves for this team. Among them were the JJ Putz trade, in which we acquired Endy Chavez, Franklin Gutierrez, Jason Vargas, and Mike Carp, giving up Putz, Sean Green, Jeremy Reed, and Luis Valbuena, the Russell Branyan signing, and several recent deals such as the Langerhans trade and the Jack Hannahan trade.
Don Wakamatsu has also done a great job of managing this team, bringing a new work ethic to the team that the 2008 Mariners lacked, and instilling a completely different clubhouse atmosphere. He, in my eyes, is the frontrunner for AL Manager of the year.
No one can accurately predict what the second half will bring for the Mariners, but we are certainly in good hands.