Let's take a seat in the wayback machine here for a minute. It's June 30, and the Mariners are sitting at 39-42. There are ten games back of the Rangers in the division, five games out of the Wild Card, and the offense doesn't look good. Plenty of fans were complaining about the lack of moves to improve the offense during the offseason, and wondering if Servais, Hollander, and Dipoto are the problem.
Lest we forget that Kolten Wong was supposed to be good, as was Teoscar Hernandez. Teo has been fine this year, but he is at least playable and good enough to be on the team. Meanwhile, Wong looked broken and has been let go.
Things started to change that day. In fact, the Mariners haven't just been good since then, they have been one of the best teams in baseball. They've tied for the most wins since, sitting behind only the Dodgers (30-11, .732) compared to their mark of 30-13 at .698. To put that in a full-season perspective, it would be a 113-win pace.
They've been scoring .45 more runs a game, 4.95 compared to 4.5. The pitching has gotten even better, giving up an impressive .66 runs per game less at 3.65 compared to 4.31. Essentially, thats a 1.11 runs per game difference, and they have been outscoring their opponents by 1.30 runs per game over that stretch. It always helps when your team hits .263/.341/.455 over that stretch. A team OPS of .796 is wonderful. Especially when you compare it to the earlier mark of .229/.308/.385 with an OPS of .693. Dylan Moore and Julio Rodriguez have been a huge part of that success.
The pitching staff should be mentioned as well. Check out the difference in how they have performed. Sort of crazy when you realize the movement the bullpen has seen, with Sewald being traded, some injuries, no Swanson, and the youth in the rotation.
Pre July 1 - 3.95 ERA, 2.70 BB/9, 9.03 K/9, 1.03 HR/9, 1.213 WHIP
Since July 1 - 3.29 ERA, 2.27 BB/9, 9.01 K/9, 1.18 HR/9, 1.109 WHIP
Walking less people, WHIP is down. Giving up a few more homers, but you can see that they've just been putting less people on base in general. Wierd, right? Less people on base means less big innings against you, the homers don't hurt as much, and less runs score. Funny how that works.
The Mariners are just in the final wild card spot, with the Blue Jays right on their heels. However, they are now just a half game back of Houston after the sweep. They also sit just three games behind Texas for the division lead, something that seemed insurmountable a month ago. The Red Sox are also three games back of Seattle, but the next team is the Angels who are 8.5 behind the Mariners. It's also worth mentioning that the Mariners are only 5 games behind Tampa for the top WC spot, which doesn't seem that far for a team that is 18-22 over their last 40 games.
The last 7 weeks have been a lot of fun, and we are prepped for an incredible 5-6 weeks of baseball to finish out the season. The Mariners have put themselves in a fantastic position to finish out the year, and look to be exactly where they hoped they would be at this point in the season. Go Mariners!