Mariners Fans: It’s still way too early to panic about the team

The season isn't off to a great start, but there is a lot of time for the Mariners to turn things around here in April.
Manager Scott Servais sits in contemplation after a loss to the Brewers
Manager Scott Servais sits in contemplation after a loss to the Brewers / John Fisher/GettyImages

I understand the disappointment and the frustration. Going 4-7 was not how any fan wanted the Mariners to start. It also wasn’t how any player on the team would have wanted to start. This team had championship aspirations, and in the preseason, was given the second-highest World Series odds in the American League. Starting 4-7 sure isn’t ideal, but it also isn’t the end of the world. 

The Mariners have been here before. In fact, last year, through eleven games, their record was….4-7. They bottomed out at 11-16 in 2023, but even after that were below .500 until mid-July, when they finally got hot before the All-Star break. In 2022, they were even worse, falling as far as 29-39 in June before their magical turnaround and 14-game winning streak. They would go on to make the playoffs that year. 2021 also saw the Mariners bottom out at 5 below .500, before eventually finishing with 90 wins. 

All is not lost, Mariners' fans

My point is that this slow start does not mean the Mariners will not be competitive in 2024. It does not mean the Mariners will miss the playoffs in 2024. Baseball reference gives the M’s a 71.3% chance to make the playoffs, and a 6.1% chance to win the World Series, despite the slow start. Fangraphs, more conservative, still gives the Mariners a 41.7% shot at the playoffs and a 2.7% shot at the WS.

It is frustrating to watch from a fan perspective, and exponentially more frustrating for the players and coaches within the organization. But they won’t give up, at least not if we look at their history. Scott Servais might have a tendency to get off to slow starts, but he also tends to overcome those slow starts. The past three years have shown us that it is always too early to give up on this club because just when you think they are out of it, the Seattle Mariners come roaring back. 

It’s been a combination of having no offense and bad starts from their top pitchers that has led to the 4-7 record, and while that has been admittedly awful, it’s also probably not going to continue. Julio Rodriguez, JP Crawford, Jorge Polanco, & Mitch Garver (the 4 best hitters on the team going into the season) are currently all hitting below the Mendoza line, and all sporting an OPS below .550.

It would be a statistical anomaly for that to continue throughout the entirety of the season, and if one of those players is not able to pull their weight, the Mariners will replace them with more productive hitters. Meanwhile, the bottom of the order has been hitting. Ty France, Josh Rojas, Dominic Canzone, Luis Urias, & Dylan Moore have all been contributing early in the season, and showing very positive signs. Imagine what this lineup could look like when the top of the order & bottom of the order start to hit at the same time!

The pitching is also bound to improve. Luis Castillo may never be the ace he once was, but he isn’t going to allow 4+ runs every start. George Kirby currently rocks an ERA of 5.23, and he is not that bad of a pitcher either. Emerson Hancock has struggled, but he will soon be replaced once Bryan Woo returns. 

And even despite the struggles, the Mariners aren’t in that big of a hole. They sit 2.5 games behind Texas for the AL West lead, and 2.5 games behind Detroit for the 3rd Wild Card spot. It’s still very early. And the Mariners have a lot of good baseball ahead of them. We’ve seen this story before, three years in a row. There’s no reason why it won’t happen for a fourth. Trust the process, don’t panic, and keep rooting for the Mariners! As Jarred Kelenic would say, “Believe!”