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
As we continue through our end of the year reviews, we come today to the division in which the Mariners reside. The American League West. With 19 games each season against each of the four other teams in the division (76 total), it is crucial to do well against your division opponents to have a chance at the playoffs.
Before we get to how the M’s did against the West in 2013, just look at how the playoff-bound teams fared in their respective divisions.
- Atlanta Braves- 47-29 vs. NL East
- St. Louis Cardinals- 46-30 vs. NL Central
- Pittsburgh Pirates- 45-31 vs. NL Central
- Cincinnati Reds- 40-36 vs. NL Central
- Los Angeles Dodgers- 37-39 vs. NL West
- Boston Red Sox- 44-32 vs. AL East
- Tampa Bay Rays- 43-33 vs. AL East
- Detroit Tigers- 47-29 vs. AL Central
- Cleveland Indians- 44-32 vs. AL Central
- Oakland Athletics- 44-32 vs. AL West
- Texas Rangers- 53-23 vs. AL West
As you can see, with the exception of the Dodgers, every team that made the playoffs this year had a winning record in their own division. In fact, if you were to organize the standings according to their in-division record alone, it would look like this:
National League East
National League Central
National League West
American League East
American League Central
Chicago White Sox
American League West
So as you can see, not much changes. The NL West is a little disorganized, as is the AL West. What is it with the West divisions?
So my point is simply this: To win the division, you have to win in your division.
So how did the M’s do this year? They finished the 2013 season with a record of 36-40 versus AL West opponents. That’s a .474 winning percentage, compared to their season percentage of .438, they clearly played better against in-division opponents.
Let’s look first at the teams the M’s had winning records against. Versus Oakland this season, the Mariners finished 11-8 on the year. After a rough start against Houston, the M’s finished 10-9 against their new division opponent.
As for losing records, the M’s were 8-11 against the Angels this season and 7-12 against the Rangers.
In 2014, nothing changes. The M’s still have to play all four teams, 19 times apiece. The M’s play 28 of their first 34 games against AL West opponents. If the Mariners can come out strong in the April, they can set the tone for the season. They also finish the season with a September schedule that includes 23 of their final 27 games against division opponents.
Remember the mantra: To win the division, you have to win in your division.
Let’s hope the Mariners can improve on their 36-40 AL West record in 2014.