Mariners Analysis: Will the Real M’s Please Stand Up


I watched each of the Mariners’ first three games in a different location. Game one and three I watched at two different neighborhood bars, while the second game of the series I had to listen to at home on the radio (Thanks MLB blackout restrictions!).

I noticed something about the reaction of the crowd while watching at the bars. Of course the crowds were different each time, but their reactions to the game were very similar. I’m not talking about rooting for the M’s, and jeering the Angels. And it didn’t even have much to do with whether the team was winning or losing. What I noticed was that neither crowd had any sense of scale when it came to their reactions to the play on the field. Everything was either the worst thing ever or the best thing ever. There was no in between.

The 3rd game of the series certainly left a bad taste in the mouths of my fellow fans, and they started throwing their hands in the air in despair before the bottom half of the first inning. I can understand that. Hisashi Iwakuma wasn’t pitching well. And then when the M’s didn’t score in bottom half of the first, most of the bar went outside to smoke to a chorus of “It’s over.” In their eyes, the rest of the game, and perhaps the season was a foregone conclusion.

But then Iwakuma settled down, we got some men on base, Brad Miller hit a dinger, and Carson Smith continued to carve out his legend as an Angel killer. And though the M’s lost the game, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed at the beginning. Some guys played well, some guys didn’t. That’s baseball; where success is failing 70% of the time.

The pendulum swings the other way too. Game 1 was all about Felix Hernandez, and Seth Smith. Felix was dominant, and Seth Smith, put into a position to succeed, had a heck of a game and the M’s came out on top.

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Does that mean that Seth Smith is going to be a world beater the rest of the season? No. Does it mean that Felix Hernandez will lead our team and contend for another Cy Young title? Well, yeah. That’s a reasonable expectation to make in that case. And that’s what it’s really all about. A reasonable expectation.

Right now Seth Smith has a triple slash of 1.000/1.000/2.333 and Nelson Cruz has a triple slash of .091/.091/.091 . Those are probably not the lines we can expect from them going forward. Their true talent level probably lies somewhere in between.

That is not the worst thing to take away from this first series. The numbers right now are skewed because of the extremely small sample size. So the guys that are performing terribly will probably see some improvement, and the guys going like gang busters will probably settle down some.

So, take a deep breath when the breaks are beating the boys, or when they’re playing like the second coming of Babe Ruth and remember that though they might look terrible or fantastic on any given day, over the course of season they’ll probably end up somewhere in between.

Next: Grading the Mariners Walkup Songs

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