The Seattle Mariners suffered just their second series loss of the year this weekend to the LA Angels. But how the team responds could determine the entire outlook of their season.
Just how important are the next 25 games for the Mariners? Well, speaking purely mathematically, it represents 19% of their remaining schedule. Perhaps more importantly, it could determine the outcome of their season. But why?
Well, we touched on it a little bit here, but let’s dive just a bit deeper. Let’s begin with the obvious: this is possibly the most favorable stretch remaining for the Mariners. In the next 25 games, Seattle will see Detroit (who is the middle of a massive rebuild) 7 times.
In addition, the Mariners will see division foe Texas 6 times, who currently sit 10 games under .500, and will be without both Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus. Sandwiched between this glut of games comes 4 against the Twins and 3 against Oakland.
Like Texas, Minnesota is struggling at the moment, and will likely be without young superstar Byron Buxton. The Mariners have already beaten the A’s in 4 of 6 games. Also, in this 25 game stretch, 17 are at home.
So why does this stretch matter? Aside from the fact that it is one of the easier stretches in their schedule, it is immediately followed up by perhaps their most difficult stretch. After this 25 game period, Seattle will play 19 games in 21 days.
In this 19 game stretch, the Mariners will face the Astros twice, the Angels 3 times, and the Yankees for a 3 game series in New York. Oh, and did I even mention the 7 games against the Red Sox in a 10-day stretch?
In summary, after the easiest 25 game stretch of their schedule, Seattle will get hit with an unbelievably difficult 19 game stretch. But why does that make the 25 game stretch important? Because their record in those 25 games will be their cushion from which to build.
If the Mariners can find a way to go 15-10 in this stretch, they will enter their 19 game stretch somewhere between 7-11 games over .500. However, if they go 12-13, they could easily find themselves at .500 with 19 difficult games ahead of them. A 7-12 stretch would put them 5 under .500 in mid-June, with Houston and Los Angeles likely pulling away.
Of course, when you try to chart out a baseball season 6 weeks in advance, your experiment is doomed to fail. It is impossible to know what the season holds after this little 44 game stretch we are talking about.
But based on the 33 games we have already watched, the Mariners aren’t a team that can charge up the standings late. If the Mariners want to show this fanbase, and more importantly their GM that they are worth investing in, they need to find a lot of wins in this next month. If not, we may just be prepping for a summer of selling here in Seattle as well as a fall of dreaming about next season… Again.