May 12, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak (17) returns to the dugout after hitting a two-run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the eighth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
The Seattle Mariners are hard to figure out.
First they lose eight in row in mid-April. Then, they win 10 of the next 12 to shockingly keep pace in the American League West.
Over a recent three-game stretch against the Oakland A’s and Kansas City Royals, the mighty M’s mustered three runs in two games. Just for the sake of inconsistently the Mariners have scored 19 runs in the last two games.
Can this team hit? Do the Mariners have a “good” offense?
If only it were that simple.
Granted, this is the reality of baseball. The season is very long, and teams go through a long roller coaster of momentum.
Sometimes in life we like simple numbers, which is why we look at team batting average. At the moment, the Mariners are hitting .235 as a team. Not spectacular, but they are 25th in the league, which is an improvement over recent years.
Robinson Cano is hitting .302, while Mike Zunino, Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak and Kyle Seager are all hovering around the .250 range. Again, not terribly exciting but better than the .220-.230 averages of past years.
From a standpoint of pitching, the talent is there to do great things. The Mariners just need to get healthy and get into a rhythm.
Despite the ups and downs the Mariners are still in second place. Admittedly the Mariners are one loss from fourth place, but can’t we just savor the possibility of contention for a moment?
It is interesting to note that ESPN currently gives the Mariners a 28.2% chance of making the playoffs with their 20-18 record. Meanwhile, the third-place Los Angeles Angels (19-18) have a 50.9% chance. Maybe that is a typo. Maybe the computers are behind. Maybe ESPN just likes the Angels better.
For now, the Mariners are for the most part playing “well” and they are still within shooting distance of first place. It is still early in the season, but we are starting to see patterns of how this season could unfold.
At least, we think we are seeing patterns. Then again, this team could still be described as a mystery.