Are the 2019 Mariners riding high? You bet they are. Are they playing a little over their heads? Possibly, yet we’ll know more by midsummer as opposed to several weeks in. The Mariners are hitting in clutch ways that we aren’t used to seeing. For once in a long time, some mojo is in the air.
There’s an interesting fact with this team so far. They are (knock on wood) yet to be blown out. They have found themselves in every ballgame so far, even against the loaded Red Sox lineup. This 13-5 team could very well be 18-0 for that very reason. In the few losses the Mariners had, the opponent didn’t solve them until late in the game. With a better bullpen, maybe the team would be undefeated so far.
With all this talk about a step-back club, it’s time for us to take a step-back as fans. This hot start has been unbelievable and could anyone have seen it coming? How many fans foresaw a 2-13 start instead of a 13-2 one? Of our first 18 games, the last two losses were our second and third times being held to under five runs.
The offensive tear could have multiple explanations. What it likely means is that the guys are playing more loosely with fewer expectations on the table. If that’s the case, Jerry Dipoto needs to sketch out step-back seasons more often. So why did the Astros take the wind out of our sails this weekend?
For that very same reason, Mariner nation needs to step back. The Astros have been hot as well but it’s been overshadowed by our even hotter start. Along with their nine-game winning streak, they have two ace pitchers in Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.
Your lineup isn’t too bad either when Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel aren’t even your third best hitter. Unlike our Mariners who still beat themselves with poor defense, the Astros click on all cylinders. You really have to beat them in order to beat them.
While the 2019 Mariners have barely played together, this Astros core goes back to 2015. They have been to the playoffs three times in four seasons with a 2017 title to show for it. Not counting the Red Sox, the Astros were the first elite team we faced. Don’t panic about the home sweep, they humbled us up. If now you’re calling the Mariners a fluke, put yourself into a timeout because you’re overreacting.
The Astros didn’t expose the Mariners, they brought them down to earth. But all these high batting averages and runs per game will eventually mean out the rest of the season. The Mariners may have torched the Angels, White Sox, and Royals but none of those three compare to the Astros.
If this series exposed anything, it exposed how accurate the Mariners are so far. Past Mariner teams would have struggled against the Angels, Royals, and White Sox and owned the Astros. But wouldn’t you rather lose to an elite foe like the Astros having taken care of the inferior opponents? All the Astros showed was that the Mariners need a couple more years to get on their same level.