Do you know what the Mariners’ record is this year when they score three runs or fewer? It’s 4-38. Better hope their offense stays hot.
Rarely has 59-56 felt so dominant. Rarely has a .513 winning percentage felt so much like .813.
Beleaguered by injuries all season, the Mariners just flipped a potentially treacherous road trip into a triumphant one, winning six of their nine games and earning sole possession of the final AL wild-card spot.
It wasn’t a position many forecast at the All-Star break, when Seattle was four games under .500. It wasn’t a station many predicted after the M’s lost three of four at home to the Yankees last month, perpetuating the idea that mediocrity was their ceiling.
And yet, here they are — not only surviving, but thriving. So can they sustain this success?
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Yes. On one condition: Their bats continue to abuse those poor little baseballs.
Most managers and GMs preach pitching as the key to winning. Well, the Mariners aren’t going to win that way. They have one reliable starter in James Paxton, then a rotation full of hurlers that make fans wince on every pitch.
In fact, Seattle’s starters have the fourth-worst ERA in the American League this season, and now they’ll be without Felix Hernandez for the next three to four weeks. Basically, there’s the Canadian and a bunch of dudes that are “eh.”
Fortunately, the Mariners’ offense has been so potent lately that they’ve been able to mask their lack of depth on the hill. Their 546 runs on the season are the fourth-most in the AL, and they’ve averaged 5.5 runs over their past 10 games.
It’s been an impressive little stretch, no doubt. But if the M’s are going to end their 16-year playoff drought, production like that is going to be essential.
Do you know what the Mariners’ record is this year when they score three runs or fewer? It’s 4-38.
That’s astonishing for a team rising in the wild-card chase.
More than that, though — the Mariners have lost 31 of their last 32 games when scoring three runs or fewer. So if there is a true pitcher’s duel, Seattle catches the bullet pretty much every time.
It’s hard to think the starting pitching is going to get much better, either. Trade-happy as GM Jerry Dipoto has been since he arrived two years ago, he wasn’t able to secure an impact starter before the trade deadline.
Marco Gonzalez? He’s got a…