Jul 10, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager (15) reacts to the bench after hitting double in the first inning as Los Angeles Angels shortstop Erick Aybar (2) walks to the mound at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
As we approach the All-Star break we are faced with a recurring theme. The Seattle Mariners are a team that has lacked momentum throughout the entire season. Seriously, has anyone stated in the 2015 season that the Mariners are “hot” right now? Nope.
Why? The answer is pretty simple. The longest winning streak this season is four games and the Mariners have accomplished that Herculean feat exactly one time. Hardly a sign of momentum. The Mariners do have two three-game winning streaks, but they also have losing streaks of three, four (twice) and seven.
We can list reasons for this phenomenon, but none of them are particularly compelling. We could talk about injuries to the pitching staff, Robinson Cano’s stomach, Mike Zunino’s strikeouts or the general inconsistently of the lineup.
Something is missing with this team.
The bottom line in sports is that great teams find a way to win, and win consistently. Even reasonably good teams can rattle off five wins in a row at some point during the season.
I honestly don’t know what to think of this team. Do the Mariners get distracted too easily? Is there a lack of urgency in the clubhouse? Are they afraid of success? Certainly the Mariners have tried to tinker with the lineup all season, almost to the point where you wonder if the players just can’t get into a groove.
At the risk of playing team psychologist, you have to wonder whether this team really believes in their ability to win consistently. The Mariners have holes, but for the most part you could make an argument that the pieces are there to at least compete for the division. Something is missing with this team.
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There does not seem to be a lot of swagger with this franchise right now. For swagger, you have to look across the street from Safeco Field. You don’t necessarily want a bunch of cocky, arrogant players on your team, but perhaps the M’s could benefit from a few guys that are going to be a pronounced presence in the locker room.
As fans we are not privy to the true inner workings of the team, particularly when they meet behind closed doors. We don’t know what sort of frustration exists in the minds of these players.
Measuring the body language of a baseball team is difficult. The team gets up for high-fives when a hitter does something good, but for the most part this sport is often about guys chilling on the bench. We are never going to see a great deal of emotion, at least not consistently.
Maybe this is too much mushy psychology for some of you, but the reality of all facets of life is that atmosphere does play a role in the workplace. The Mariners have an office atmosphere, just like everyone else. Certainly the staff members in this office get paid a little bit more, but they still come to work every day and have to perform. Unfortunately, this team seems to have a good day at the office, and then mail it in for the next couple of days.
The Mariners needs a spark. This team needs to be excited about coming to the office…every day. Here’s hoping they find that spark after the All-Star break.