By Jordan Wevers @JordanWevers on August 21, 2014
To some, the M's seem primed to make the playoffs in 2014. They have made great strides since 2013. Under first year manager Lloyd McClendon, they are only three games shy of last year's wins total. They have the likeliest 2014 AL Cy Young recipient in their rotation and they play impeccable defense. If Seattle comes up short in 2014, one or more of these five reasons will be the culprit.
The Mariners just recently managed to get their home winning percentage above .500, now at 34-32. They have been much better on the road (34-25) in 2014. If they go back to struggling at Safeco Field, the club could fall on hard times.
A right-handed one, specifically. Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager are legitimate middle of the order threats, but the M's have lacked an impactful righty capable of crushing left-handed pitching all season. Kendry Morales is not the answer, but rather a gamble. He is slashing only .207/. 280/.329 since coming back over 22 games ago from the Twins. Morales is hitting .264 from the right side of the plate against lefties in 2014.
A team's leadoff hitter sets the tone for the game in his first AB and every time the lineup turns over. The M's made a trade for Austin Jackson, acquiring him from the Detroit Tigers. Currently, his OBP (.280) is where his AVG (.229) should be since coming over. He has struggled mightily, with his WAR dropping from 1.5 while with the Tigers to 0.1 right now for the Mariners.
Seattle is tied for the 19th most HRs in all of MLB. Cano was regularly a 30 home run threat during his time in pinstripes. With only five weeks left in the season and 11 HRs, he is terribly off that pace. After him, Seager and catcher Mike Zunino, no one else on the team has reached double digits when it comes to going deep.
The Athletics and the Angels are the two best teams in MLB. They also happen to be AL West rivals to the Mariners, so winning the division is probably out of the question. With that factored in, Seattle needs to hold onto that coveted second wild card spot with teams like Detroit, Cleveland, Toronto and the NY Yankees relentlessly nipping at their heels.
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