5 Ways the Mariners Can Make the Playoffs in 2018
For most Mariners fans, the success of the 2018 season will be defined by one factor: did they make the playoffs? As it sits right now, the odds aren’t great. But if they get some lucky breaks it could happen.
There are a number of factors that are completely outside the control of the Mariners. How do the other teams perform? What players are added in season? How seriously will the injury bug bite this year?
When we examine most of these factors, it is important to understand that there is some margin for error. For example, if we say Cano has to hit 40 home runs, but he hits 37, could the Mariners still make the playoffs? Of course.
The factors we are examining today are not based on any numerical data. Just on the following premise: the Mariners are, as we sit today, an 80 win team. And the Mariners will need roughly 86 wins to make the playoffs.
With this premise and these factors in mind, let’s dive right in. Here are 5 ways the Mariners could make the playoffs in 2018.
#1. Felix Hernandez and James Paxton combine to make 60 starts with 320 innings.
The need for Felix Hernandez and James Paxton to stay healthy and pitch well for Seattle in 2018 is well documented. On paper, the Mariners have one of the thinnest rotations in baseball, and a sustained injury to either one can be catastrophic.
If Paxton can throw 180 innings, he will garner Cy Young votes. He was well on his way in 2017, before a pectoral injury in mid-August derailed his season. If Felix can find a reasonable facsimile to his 2015 self, the Mariners rotation packs a solid 1-2-3 punch, all of whom could combine to handle 540-600 innings total.
This work load would come as a huge sigh of relief to their bullpen. A healthy Paxton and Felix helps everybody on the team. It also widens the margin of error, and could give Jerry Dipoto the ability to add in July, rather than distract.