Mariners, Cruz Establish Toughness Early in 2015


After six games and two series’ against the division rival Anaheim Angels and Oakland Athletics, the Seattle Mariners are 3-3 and sit atop the American League West. Despite a so-far-uninspiring performance by the offense, and a fairly inconsistent starting rotation, the strongly-hyped 2015 M’s have scrapped together a few wins and gotten their feet underneath them. The funny thing is, a .500 start is exactly what I wanted to see.

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The MLB season is longer than any other in professional sports. Over the course of 162 games, many things can happen–winning streaks, losing streaks, hitting streaks, slumps, you name it. The teams that can weather the ups and downs of the season are generally the teams that keep playing in October, which is where the Mariners have their eyes set in 2015. Although the national media and fans in Seattle have high expectations for the Mariners this season, making a run deep into the playoffs is never easy, especially when you play in a division filled with star players like Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Mike Trout and Adrian Beltre. The Mariners don’t need to learn how to win, they need to learn how to struggle, and that is why these first six games have been so encouraging.

In six games, the M’s have won three of their contests, two of which have been comeback victories. In those six games, the usually stellar pitching staff has posted an uncharacteristic 4.82 ERA, and the offense has hit a paltry .201. Obviously, it is a little early in the season to judge a team, but that is my point exactly. Despite these two depressing statistics, the Mariners sit no worse than when they began the season six days ago, and it doesn’t take extreme optimism to believe that these stats will improve greatly as the season matures.

Apr 12, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners infielder Robinson Cano (22) reacts after outfielder Nelson Cruz (23) hit a home run against the Oakland Athletics in the tenth inning at Coliseum. The Mariners defeated the Athletics 8-7. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Behind the “Boomstick” of Nelson Cruz, the boys in blue patched together a couple of crucial wins in Oakland to take a series win into Chavez Ravine for three games against the daunting Los Angeles Dodgers. Although he struggled in the first four games, Nelly has hit game-winning dingers in back to back games. I don’t know exactly how WAR is calculated, but as far as I am concerned, the Mariners have two wins because of Nelson Cruz.

If you know anything about the MLB, you know that you can never judge a team off of six games. But what you can do is get a feel for how a team is going to compete and scrap through the hard times. So far in 2015, it looks like the Mariners are ready to become as great as everyone thinks they can be. One thing is for sure, they aren’t going down without a fight.

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