Two games into the Oakland Athletics series (this is coming out just as game 3 starts) finds the Mariners sitting well back of .500 with a record of 31-39. Call it however you want, whether it’s injuries, poor performance, or bad luck, but the team just hasn’t played as well as they should’ve up to this point in the season.
Not all is lost though. The Mariners are heading into what could be argued as their “easiest” stretch of the season.
It’s why the path to .500 for the Mariners may not be as far away as people think
Let’s start with pitching. The Mariners got Ken Giles back, and are slowly but surely shoring up their bullpen. Penn Murfee has been great this year, Castillo looks to have it figured out, and getting rid of Romo seems to have put the entire staff in a great spot. Flexen is pitching great for a #5, Marco has been a beast, Gilbert looks like an All-Star and Dark Horse Cy Young guy, Ray is figuring it out after game scores of 74 and 76, and Kirby has a 3.12 ERA through 9 starts.
The offense though… woof. They need to figure it out, but it seems like they are on the right track as well. Guys are getting on base, and the team is actually hitting pretty well, or at least showing glimpses of being able to get hot. With Murphy recently ruled out for the year, the potential emergence of Raleigh is much needed. If the team can find a bit of consistent offense from Trammell and Frazier, with Suarez and Winker warming up, it could be a great sign.
What I really wanted to talk about was the schedule. The Mariners have played the most difficult schedule in all of baseball so far, but things are getting much easier as they approach the All-Star break. Check out who they play, as well as their W/L on the season so far.
- @ Oakland Athletics (1) – 23-47 (.329)
- @ LA Angels (3) – 34-38 (.472)
- Baltimore Orioles (3) – 31-39 (.443)
- Oakland Athletics (4) – 23-47 (.329)
- @ San Diego Padres (2) – 44-27 (.620)
- Toronto Blue Jays (4) – 39-30 (.565)
- @ Washington Nationals (2) – 25-47 (.347)
- @ Texas Rangers (4) – 33-35 (.485)
That’s a combined record of 252-310 (.448). You could even argue it’s a bit skewed with the Padres and Blue Jays. Take them out, and 17 of the Mariners next 23 games are against teams with a record of 169-253 (.400).
It’s a golden opportunity for the Mariners to make a little pre-All-Star game push, and get back into the thick of things. Remember, there is an extra playoff spot now, with six slots up for grabs. Even at 31-39, the Mariners are only seven games back. Yeah, it may seem like a fair amount, but there are also 92 games left on the year. Getting to 88 wins might just be enough.
If the Mariners can head into the All-Star break with a record of, say, 46-46 (16-7 over the next 23), that would put them in a darn good spot. Things haven’t been great for the Mariners, but when you look at what the offense can do and how the pitching has been doing, along with their schedule, it’s easy to keep your hopes up. This team is still quite talented, and it’s way too early to count them out yet. .500 isn’t that far away.