The Mariners Season Report

May 23, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais (9) walks on the field during batting practice before a game against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
May 23, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais (9) walks on the field during batting practice before a game against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

At certain points this season, I will take the temperature of the Mariners as a team and try to explain what we’ve seen so far and predict what will happen next.

The 2016 regular season is nearly a third over. The Mariners played their 50th game yesterday, stomping the hapless San Diego Padres 9-3 at home. It was only their 11th win of the season in the friendly confines of Safeco Field for rookie big league manager Scott Servais and crew, yet they are only a half-game off of the lead in the American League West and appear to be a contender.

Let’s break down the positives, negatives, and what the future could hold for the Mariners in 2016:


Look no further than the American League standings for positive news. It’s the end of May and, despite an improbable sweep at home by the Minnesota Twins, the Mariners are still in contention for the division crown, or at least for the privilege of playing a do-or-die game to advance in the playoffs in October. (I still think if MLB wants to add a second wild card team, they should play at least three games to see who advances, but I digress).

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The Mariners, after their rebound win yesterday over the Padres, are 29-21. Strangely, the Mariners lead all Major League teams in road wins with 18. If they could only break even at home, they would be in first place in the West and possess one of the best records in baseball. As I’ve outlined in this recent post, the Mariners are a good offensive team. They are second in the American League in runs scored, first in the league in home runs, second in on-base percentage as a team (.327), and third in slugging (.435).

On the other side, despite some concerns over their starting rotation, especially the disaster that was the Twins series, the Mariners have put up excellent pitching numbers as well. Their staff has the lowest ERA in the American League (3.36), they’ve allowed the fewest hits in the AL, and they have struck out the fourth most in the league. Looking at those numbers, it seems that Jerry Dipoto‘s moves have worked out pretty well so far.


It’s difficult to poke holes in a team that’s first in team ERA and runs scored, but the Mariners do have a few problems.

The first is they can’t stop getting swept at home by inferior teams. I know that we have to shrug it off sometimes, but come on. The Twins entered their Safeco series with the Mariners last in the AL Central with 12 wins. After the sweep of the Mariners, they now have seven road wins. Seven. How can a team as statistically good as the Mariners not pick up at least one game against these guys?

It was the third time this season already the Mariners have been swept at home. I’m starting to dread a possible home play-in game in October. Looking around the league, I found that the Rangers are the only team in the division with a winning record at home. They are an excellent 18-9. The Houston Astros, starting today 7.5 games behind the Rangers, are 13-13. The Mariners’ 11 home wins tie them with the LA Angels (11-16 at home, 23-28 overall, 7 games back), the Oakland A’s (11-16, 23-29, 7.5 GB), and the Tampa Bay Rays (11-15, 22-27, last in the AL East, 8 GB).

Things can change, but none of those teams are in contention at the moment. It’s a good thing the Mariners’ 18-7 road record is the best in Major League Baseball, one game ahead of the mighty Chicago Cubs.

Apr 25, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners right fielder Nelson Cruz (23) talks with general manager Jerry Dipoto during batting practice before a game against the Houston Astros at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /


The Mariners are playing good baseball overall. Over time, their road and home records will even out to expected wins and losses, and they will battle the Rangers all year for control of the division. Just as I prophesized before the season began, the Mariners are a good team ready to break the long playoff drought in Seattle.

Much will depend on health and the trade deadline, however. It’s anyone’s guess what Dipoto will do after his long list of jarring moves this offseason, but he doesn’t strike me as someone who will sell the farm for one or two rent-a-players in a postseason-or-bust flurry. I could see Dipoto making a few under-the-radar deals that produce results in areas of need. They could very well add an outfielder, a starter, or bullpen help by the end of July.

So far, it’s been a fun ride for the Mariners. They are scoring runs, shutting teams down in late innings, and their starters are holding their own in the early innings. What will be telling of late-season success will be their trade deadline moves and how they respond to injuries as they come up.

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They have held their own without emerging players like Leonys Martin and Ketel Marte recently, but there will be games missed by Nelson Cruz and/or Robinson Cano at some point this season, too. Hopefully not that many, and hopefully if/when it does happen, Scott Servais and company can recover.