Mariners Predictions: Chris O'Day
Everyone else has kept it short. I'm gonna go a bit longer, cause I started getting into it. Here we go. Should I be the one to bring things down at the end? A bit of nervous pessimism to potentially ground us in reality? Everyone so far has predicted wins in the low-to-mid 90s. It would make sense to go that old-school fan route of expecting a down year, something in the 80-85 win range, and missing the playoffs.
OR I COULD GO ALL IN!
Yeah, that sounds a lot more fun. 101 wins. They win the division. The Mariners end up with 4 players hitting 30+ homers with Julio, Geno, Teo, and Dumper all surpassing the mark, and Ty France barely misses out with 27. Even Kelenic gets close with 24. Julio finishes 3rd in MVP voting, but still posts a .302 BA with 33 HR and 37 SB. Geno brushes off the glory years in Cinci, and blasts 43 HR and hits .247.
Then, we have the pitching staff. Oh boy, does this get me excited. I love pitching more than anything else in sports I think. The Mariners have some studs, and it's evidenced by the Cy Young odds. Castillo, Ray, and Gilbert are all better than 20-1 to win, and having three guys in the top 10-12 for Cy Young odds at the start of the year is amazing.
Let's go all in on Gilbert. He finishes 2nd in Cy Young voting this year, dominating the competition all year WITHOUT the rough stretch that he had against the Yankees in those back-to-back starts last season. Remember that without those, he would've had an ERA under 2.7. Between the zero-zero slider, the splitter, an added year of experience, and the further emergence of Walter, Gilbert turns into the leader of the rotation.
Robbie Ray ends up second in the American League in K's with... 244. Kirby continues to get better, posting a 3.14 ERA. Bryce Miller comes up and gets about 12-15 starts, cementing himself in the conversation for 2024 as one of the Mariners starters. Oh, and Luis Castillo misses about a month, but dominates otherwise posting a 2.88 ERA.
The Mariners win the division, and then it's time for revenge. We play the Guardians in the first round. They knocked the Mariners out of the ALCS back in 1995 (I still remember this), and we beat them 3-1 to advance to the ALCS for the first time since 2001. Do you remember who we played then?
The Evil Empire. The Pinstripes. The Yankees.
That's who we play again. They knocked us out of the ALCS in both 1997 and 2001. The third time ends up being the charm, and the Mariners return the favor and beat them in 6 games, just like the Yankees did to the Mariners in 2000. All of a sudden, it's the first World Series appearance in the history of the Seattle Mariners.
The opponent ends up being the Atlanta Braves. In a way, the Mariners seem to be trying to replicate what the Braves are doing with scouting, early extensions, and some big trade splashes.
It's a hard-fought series. Thanks to getting that 101st win by the Mariners that they earned by finishing the season 8-2 against TEX-HOU-TEX, they have home-field by a game. Game 7. Seattle. Bottom of the 7th, and Ty France rips a ball down the RF line to score Jarred Kelenic from first. The Mariners go up 4-3. Sewald shuts them down in the 8th. Munoz comes in to close it out, and gets Albies to pop out to center, and Julio goes wild as he catches the ball to earn the Mariners their first ever World Series Win.
Ladies and Gentleman, your 2023 World Series Champion...
THE SEATTLE MARINERS!