The Road Traveled Most is Over for 2013 Mariners


September 22, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners celebrate their 3-2 victory against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Mariners have had a disappointing season. I don’t think anyone would argue against that point. Now that the season is winding down, it’s time to look back at some of the numbers and see if there is hope for improvement.

Today, since the Mariners wrapped up their final road series of the year, we will look at the 81 road games of 2013.

The Mariners are at a geographical disadvantage year in and year out. Being in the Pacific Northwest is great for a lot of reasons, but we are virtually isolated from the rest of the country. Because of that, the Mariners traveled 52,509 miles in 2013, more than any other MLB team. They went on 12 road trips (right between the 11 in 2012 and 13 they played in 2010).

The M’s were 35-46 on the road this year. Over the past five seasons, the M’s were: 35-46 / 28-50 / 26-55 / 37-44 / 26-55. So as you can see, the M’s had the exact same road record this year as they did in 2012. Only Houston, Chicago, Toronto and Minnesota have worst road records in the American League (Toronto could still pass Seattle).

As for the stats, the Mariners team batting average on the road was .235 (.239 total), tied for 27th in MLB with the New York Yankees. They hit 100 home runs on the road (177 total), first in all of baseball, with only the Oakland Athletics with a real shot at catching them (97 with six road games to go). They finish with a run differential of -64 (314 scored / 378 allowed).

In 2012, Seattle batted .247 on the road with 93 homers and a run differential of -29 (362 scored/391 allowed). In 2011, the M’s batted .244 on the road with 52 homers and a run differential of -59 (291 scored / 350 allowed).

So the record may have been the same as 2012, but clearly the team was scoring less, allowing more runs and hitting less. I wonder how many games would’ve been won if they simply duplicated their 2012 numbers.

Road trip by road trip

As I mentioned before, the Mariners played their 81 road games on 12 separate road trips. Let’s look at each one.

  • RT1- 7 Games: @ A’s, @ Royals3-4
  • RT2- 6 Games: @ Rangers, @ Astros- 1-5 (4-9 total)
  • RT3- 5 Games: @ Blue Jays, @ Pirates 3-2 (7-11)
  • RT4- 9 Games: @ Yankees, @ Indians, @Angels- 2-7 (9-18)
  • RT5- 5 Games: @ Padres, @ Twins- 2-3 (11-21)
  • RT6- 7 Games: @ A’s, @ Angels– 3-4 (14-25)
  • RT7- 6 Games: @ Rangers, @ Reds– 4-2 (18-27)
  • RT8- 3 Games: @ Astros- 3-0 (21-27)
  • RT9- 6 Games: @ Red Sox, @ Orioles– 2-4 (23-31)
  • RT10- 9 Games: @ Rays, @ Rangers, @ Athletics- 5-4 (28-35)
  • RT11- 8 Games: @ Astros, @ Royals- 4-4 (32-39)
  • RT12- 10 Games: @ Cardinals, @ Tigers, @ Angels- 3-7 (35-46)

It’s worth noting that between RT3 and RT4, there was only a three-game home series before going on the road again. So the M’s traveled from Pittsburgh to Seattle, to New York and then to Cleveland in an 8-day span. Then, after RT4, the team came home from Anaheim for five games before starting RT5.

Also, eight of the 12 trips happened before the All-Star break (48 games) but 33 games were spaced out over the final four trips. In those first eight trips, the Mariners were 21-27 (.438) and 14-19 (.424) in the late trips.

To say that the fatigue of the travel didn’t take it’s toll on the team wold be absurd. However, it can’t be attributed as the primary reason for the downfalls of the season. Remember, in 2001, the Mariners had the highest team batting average on the road in MLB (.293), had a run differential of + 137 (487 scored / 350 allowed). They had a road record of 59-22 (better than their home record) and went on 13 separate road trips.

I am in no way saying that the 2013 Mariners had even a remote chance of duplicating the 2001 season, simply pointing out that the travel is not the only reason. Perhaps the road-warrior mentality is not being instilled in these young players….and that starts with management.

But that’s a whole other topic for another day.

Looking ahead quickly to 2014. The Mariners start the season on the road again. Here are their scheduled road trips for 2014 (subject to change).

  • RT1- 7 Games: @ Angels, @ A’s
  • RT2- 7 Games: @ Rangers, @ Marlins
  • RT3- 9 Games: @ Yankees, @ Astros, @ A’s
  • RT4- 5 Games: @Twins, @ Rangers
  • RT5- 6 Games: @ Braves, @ Rays
  • RT6- 5 Games: @ Padres, @ Royals
  • RT7- 6 Games: @ Astros, @ White Sox
  • RT8- 3 Games: @ Angels
  • RT9- 6 Games: @ Indians, @ Orioles
  • RT10- 9 Games: @ Tigers, @ Phillies, @ Red Sox
  • RT11- 7 Games: @ A’s, @ Rangers
  • RT12- 11 Games: @ Angels, @ Astros, @ Blue Jays

I will hold judgement and comment on this schedule until it has become official. But needless to say there are plenty of off arrangements in this travel plan. There are 12 road trips for the 2nd consecutive year. I would also wager a guess that the miles traveled will be higher than in 2013. But like I said, I will wait and see.