Seattle Mariners: 2014 First-Half Report Card
Perfect? Not quite, Mariner Moose. But the boys wearing northwest green have had a pretty decent first half to their campaign so far. There is still quite a ways to go in the 2014 season, but overall, Mariners fans should be pleased and feeling optimistic regarding the second half and things to come.
Give Lloyd McClendon credit. This is his first full season as a bench boss since being with the Pirates in 2005. He has constantly juggled an at times mediocre lineup, dealt with a rash of injuries (Iwakuma, Paxton, Walker, Morrison, Hart, Smoak), and has to play in a very tough AL West division. Pitching Coach Rick Waits has also done an excellent job with his pitching staff.
Hernandez is a legitimate AL Cy Young candidate. Two other starters, Iwakuma and Young, have eight-plus wins and sub 3.50 ERAs, with James Paxton and Taijuan Walker waiting in the wings for their chance to make an impact. The M's rotation looks pretty darn strong. It will be interesting to see what the trade deadline brings, but being top 10 in the league in wins, ERA and IP is no reason to complain.
No team in MLB has a collective bullpen ERA lower than the Mariners', which presently sits at a microscopic 2.39. Brandon Maurer has yet to allow an earned run since being sent to the pen in late June. Joe Beimel, Dominic Leone and Fernando Rodney all have ERAs under 2.00. Rodney himself is leading the AL in saves with 27. In fact, the only regular reliever in the bullpen sporting an ERA over 3.00 is Charlie Furbush at 4.00.
The figures are good, but not great. The home/away splits are rather ugly. At Safeco Field in 50 games, the M's are batting .235 (26th) as a team and have scored only 173 (23rd) runs. They are slugging a pathetic .368 (27th) as well. On the road, there is a decent spike. In 45 contests, Seattle is hitting .255 (eighth) with 205 (12th) runs scored and a .385 (13th) slugging percentage. They sent two position players to the All-Star Game, though.
Left fielder Dustin Ackley is one of only seven OFs in all of MLB who have registered 600-plus innings and has yet to commit an error. Ackley has a perfect 1.000 FPCT across 631.1 innings logged. As a team, the M's rank third in MLB with a collective FPCT of .987, having committed only 45 errors all season.
Of all the divisions in MLB, only the NL Central teams have more collective wins (245) than teams hailing from the AL West, with 243 total wins. But, the AL West also boasts the only two teams (OAK and LAA) in MLB with a winning % of greater than .600. For the Mariners to currently have a hold on the second AL Wild Card spot is an impressive feat at midseason. A blockbuster trade could help to preserve that status for as long as possible.