The Mariners are playing their worst baseball in decades
2022 was supposed to be a good year for Mariners baseball. They were coming off a surprisingly strong 2021, where they stayed in the playoff hunt right until the end of the season. After some notable additions in the offseason, hopes were high that they could turn in a similar season, if not a better one.
Things even started out well. Through 17 games, the Mariners were 11-6. The offense looked alright, and the pitching was turning in some great appearances. That’s about the last date you can find when you can be happy with the Mariners as a whole.
After the April 26th win against the Rays, the Mariners have gone 6-19, playing some of their worst baseball in decades
How bad is it to go 6-19? Extrapolate that out to an entire season, making for a 39-123 record. That would be the 3rd worst record in the modern era, which dates back to the 1900 season. 123 seasons of baseball and they are playing at the equivalent of the 3rd worst… check that, second-worst ever. Remember, seasons are 162 games now. That’s a .2407 win percentage, second-worst only behind the 36-117 1916 Philadelphia Athletics.
So what’s gone wrong? Could it be injuries? Sure, that plays a part in it, but none of them have been major. Yeah, it stinks that Tom Murphy is out, especially with how well he was doing. Kyle Lewis is hurt, but we all knew he would be, and he didn’t do much last year either because of injuries. Casey Sadler and Ken Giles being out has hurt the pen, and that’s the place where it makes the most sense.
Since April 29th, the Mariners bullpen is 25th in xwOBA, and their starting pitchers are the worst in baseball, ranking dead last. That’s not all though. Their pitchers have the worst home run rate in baseball this year. Here are some more awful stats for the Mariners, although these focus on WAR by position and how it relates to the rest of baseball. Ready to cry?
- SP – 27th @ -1.6
- RP – 29th @ -1.9
- LF – 29th @ -1.1
- RF – 27th @ -0.7
- DH – 22nd @ -0.4
The rare good news is that Ty France is the best first baseman in baseball, Frazier and the second baseman are league average, Crawford is second in baseball, and Julio is playing above-average defense while hitting the ball insanely well after the rough first 8 games of the year.
Other than those few players, the Mariners… well,
Check out how bad the team has been hitting when you subtract out their top hitters. I understand that it is a bit of picking stats to make a point, but you cannot have five (sometimes 6-7) starters in your lineup hitting this poorly. Here are those top four guys (France, Crawford, Julio, Frazier) vs everyone else with over 40 ABs.
- Good guys – .287/.354/.418 (1st/1st/2nd in all of baseball) in 627 AB
- Other guys – .188/.274/.341 (30th/29th/28th) in 666 AB
You either have the best guys in baseball hitting or the worst. That’s pretty much what it comes down to. It’s not something that can bring success to a lineup, yet it’s what the Mariners are putting out there. Winker is hitting better, and Lewis should be coming back soon, so that should help. Who knows, maybe Justin Upton will be a sneaky good addition.
Let’s check out the same process with pitching. For this, I’ll look at the five best pitchers on the team (Gilbert, Marco, Sewald, Swanson, and Murfee) and compare them to the rest of the team.
- Good guys – 2.40 ERA and a 1.066 WHIP in 131.1 innings
- Other guys – 5.40 ERA and a 1.469 WHIP in 196.2 innings
You’re either getting Ace numbers or numbers that you wouldn’t want out of your worst starter. Essentially, it’s like this team is performing like a Boom or Bust team. You either get stud results or trash results.
You know what though? The Braves were 19-23 last year. The Nats were 17-25 and the Athletics were 19-23 in 2019. The Dodgers were 16-26 in 2018. The Blue Jays were 19-23 in 2016. The Braves and Nationals won the World Series those years, and the Dodgers lost the World Series that year. There is still hope, and they can definitely turn it around. There’s a sliver of hope, and it’s worth hanging on to. Go Mariners!