Photo Courtesy of Sporting News
By: Collin Wilson
In 2001, the Seattle Mariners, with the help of Rookie of the Year and AL MVP winner Ichiro Suzuki, managed to win 116 games. They set MLB records, won their division, and eventually lost to the Yankees in the ALCS. The Mariners have not made the playoffs since then, and every year since the ALCS loss fans say, “this will be the year.” The Mariners remain one of the only teams to have never won a World Series title, the club has been in existence for 41 years, joining the MLB in 1977. They join the San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays, Milwaukee Brewers, Colorado Rockies, and Washington Nationals as the only teams to have never won the fall classic.
This year the hopes are high once again for the True to the Blue faithful, and I can’t say I disagree. A trip to the World Series might be a little out of reach, but a spot in the playoffs isn’t. The Astros are the clear winners of the division, but if the Mariner rotation can find some consistency they have a reasonable chance of claiming one of the available wild card spots. Their lineup is chocked full of guys in or near their prime. Robinson Cano has opened the season slashing an astounding .406/.537/1.068, recent addition Dee Gordon is flashing with speed that he showed he had in Miami, swiping 5 bases in the first two weeks and hitting over .300, and Mitch Haniger is back after an impressive yet injury riddled 2017 season batting .273 with 8 RBI’s.
The real concern for Seattle comes from the pitching staff whose rotation is questionable at best. They will rely heavily on their bullpen throughout the season. Team ace James Paxton has struggled to go past five innings in his three starts this season and has an unimpressive 5.74 ERA, and he ranks second among Mariners starters in ERA! New member Mike Leake has flashed a couple of effective starts posting an ERA of 3 averaging six innings per start. Outside of that, the King, Felix Hernandez, hasn’t lived up to his royal nickname. The bullpen has held tough so far this season with a few good outings from Altavilla and some great things out of Diaz.
The Mariners will need to either see some things out of some players or go out and acquire them in order to remain in the hunt this season, but I can promise that the offense will score runs, it’s just a question of whether it will be more than the pitching staff will give up.
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