Barring a minor miracle, the Seattle Mariners are going to miss the playoffs for the 12th year in a row. The M’s have given their fans little to cheer about since that magical 116-win season in 2001, but how can they salvage this season to make it one that provides the organization with some excitement for the future? What is a mark the team could set to make this year less of a failure than years past?
How about 49 wins.
A 49-38 record in the second half would put the Mariners at 82-80 overall, giving them their first winning season since 2009 and some hope that the team is on the rise. 11 games over .500 in the second half will be a challenge, but if they can close out the month of July strong, it makes things much more manageable.
These next 10 games are huge for the Mariners. Picking up seven or eight wins over the next 10 games against some very beatable teams can give Seattle some serious confidence heading into a brutal August that includes road trips to Boston and Baltimore, and later Tampa Bay, Texas and Oakland. September will be tough as well, but September also brings additional roster spots, and the possibility of prospects Taijuan Walker, James Paxton or Danny Hultzen being called up is something that could provide some serious motivation for the club to finish the season as strong as possible.
A sweep of the Astros would be ideal to start off this important stretch, as Seattle will call on their three best starters in Joe Saunders (8-8), Hisashi Iwakuma (8-4) and Felix Hernandez (10-4).
49. That’s the Mariner’s magic number for the second half of 2013. It’s the number that will satisfy fans, motivate players, and maybe even keep manager Eric Wedge and GM Jack Zduriencik around for another season. Maybe.