The MLB season may be young, but the Seattle Mariners cannot afford to stay a mediocre team if they want to have any chance of being a serious contender when September rolls around and the race for the playoffs heats up.
The Mariners slid to 7-10 on the season after being blanked by Henderson Alvarez and the Miami Marlins, 7-0, at Marlins Park on Saturday. Alvarez was excellent on the mound as he went the distance, allowed only two hits and no walks while striking out four in a comfortable outing. The Mariners were out of sorts the entire way through and are looking soft.
The Mariners have a great pitching staff led by Felix Hernandez and a team E.R.A. of 3.37 before Saturday’s game that ranks 10th in the majors. That ranking will only improve when Hisashi Iwakuma eventually returns and makes the staff that much better.
There are some concerns with the bullpen because no one should ever hope to have Fernando Rodney closing out games, but that is where the Mariners currently stand. It is likely Rodney will lose his job sooner rather than later if his struggles continue, but finding someone with the stuff and mentality to take over the role is usually easier said than done.
However, all of that aside, the Mariners still need someone, anyone, to step up at the plate and become a force. There was obviously a lot of hype behind the signing of Robinson Cano, but he has only one home run and eight RBIs to his name. Dustin Ackley is the team’s leading hitter with a .293 batting average.
The Mariners also have the disadvantage of playing in a division with the league’s best player in Mike Trout, one of the best rotations in the Oakland Athletics and a team that looks to be rounding into form in the Texas Rangers.
The road will not get much easier for the Mariners and if the team does not start to string some wins together, it will be a long summer that turns into an early fall.