Can The Streaky Seattle Mariners Make The Playoffs?
By Dan Hughes
I am not a professional baseball player. I have not played or coached or scouted at the highest level. I played Little League, high school ball and have coached kids.
I have however, studied the game I love, poured over statistics, obsessed over runs and RBI and ERA since before I even truly understood the math behind it.
I mention all of this because while I am not one of the “experts”, I pride myself in being a good judge of talent.
This 2014 Seattle Mariners team is a good group of talented players, but they are still young and I believe too streaky to make the playoffs.
Right now, the M’s are enjoying another 5-game winning streak. They swept the Royals and are on the verge of sweeping the Red Sox. As far as records go, they are teams they should beat.
But this team has also gone through stretches where they can’t score, where they make pitchers with 6.50 career ERA’s look like Cy Young caliber contenders.
And that is what I worry about as we get ready to turn the calendar to July. Will this team get the necessary pieces to seal the deal and make a playoff run?
We’ve been hearing for months that the organization is facing financial difficulties that would prevent them from making a significant move.
While that may or may not be posturing, it begs the question of how important it is for the organization to have a winning product.
Players like Corey Hart and Logan Morrison were brought in as low-risk, high-reward moves that so far – with the exception of a handful of games – have not paid off.
Many fans keep saying, wait until Taijuan Walker and James Paxton come back. But what does that do exactly? The pitching has not been the problem, it is the strength of this club.
The Mariners need to acquire a power, right-handed bat to bat 4th and either DH or play right field. If they can also acquire a high OBP shortstop, they might be on to something.
I told co-editor Charlie Spencer-Davis that if the Mariners made the playoffs, I would shave my head, a la Jay Buhner.
But unless the Mariners are willing to make trades to acquire Matt Kemp and Alexei Ramirez from the Dodgers and White Sox respectively, then I will stand by my initial projection from prior to the start of the season.
I still believe that 83 wins is the end result for this club. That’s a 12 game improvement from last year. That may have to be good enough.
And it keeps the hair on my head.