Why Mariners Fans Should Finish Watching the 2013 Season
By Dan Hughes
Sep 18, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Seattle Mariners first basemanJustin Smoak
(17) congratulated by teammates after scoring in the second inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The 2013 Major League Baseball regular season is almost in the books. For Mariners fans, the season’s book has been closed, set onto the bookshelf and buried behind layers of disappointment and frustration.
But don’t give up just yet. There are still some things to be excited about as the 2013 season comes to a close. In fact, I can give you five good reasons why you should watch the Mariners all the way to the bitter end on September 29.
1- Can they still match or improve on 2012’s record?
Believe it or not, there is still a chance that the Mariners can improve on their won-loss record of a year ago. This would be a huge high note to end the season on, even if they can only improve by two games. At 67-85, the M’s need to win their remaining ten games to see a two game improvement, go 9-1 to improve by one game or go 8-2 to match last year’s record.
2- Playing spoiler can still be fun
Seattle’s last ten games are all against teams that are still in playoff contention. After Thursday’s game against Detroit, the M’s finish up their final road trip with three in Anaheim. The Angels are a long-shot to make the playoffs, a win or two by the Mariners could end what little hope they have.
Then the Mariners come home to Safeco for three with Kansas City and three with Oakland. Kansas City is in the middle of the wild-card chase. The Royals are currently 2.5 games back, but would need to leap Baltimore, Cleveland and Tampa Bay or Texas. A win or two in that series could end Kansas City’s season. Pending some crazy implosion, he A’s will probably have wrapped up the AL West by the time they come to Seattle. But if they haven’t, the M’s could hand the division to Texas by sweeping the A’s.
3- Statistical improvement
Sep 18, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Dustin Ackley (13) makes a catch of a ball hit by Detroit Tigers left fielder Don Kelly (not pictured) in the fifth inning at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
We talked already about possibly having a better record than last year, but what about statistical improvement? For the past three seasons, the Mariners have had the worst team batting average in Major League Baseball (.236- 2010, .233- 2011, .234- 2012). They have also been near the bottom in the amount of runs scored (513, 556, 619- lowest in AL) and homers (101, 109- 2nd lowest in AL, 149- 10th in AL).
In 2013, the Mariners are currently 27th in the Majors (last in the AL) in batting average (.239). They are 23rd in runs scored (586) and they are 3rd in homers (174). It will be interesting to see where they finish.
4- Raul Ibanez‘s 300th homer?
Raul Ibanez has ten games to get 10 hits for 2,000 and one homer for 300. His next homer (29) would also tie him with Ted Williams for the most in a season of a player 41-years old or older.
Will this be Raul’s last season in Seattle? He has expressed interest in playing in 2014 but he will be a free agent after this season. Who knows what the Mariners will do. Either way, it would be nice to see Ibanez get both milestones in the final homestand.
5- The continued growth of the young talent
Watching the last ten games means seeing James Paxton pitch two more times. It means seeing Abraham Almonte continue his hot streak. It means seeing Dustin Att-Ackley continue to flash the leather, the bat and that beard. It means getting a sneak preview of the 2014 season. I think it will be a good one.
So that’s what I got M’s fans. Got any other reasons to continue watching? Why are you still tuning in each night.