The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Eric Umphrey
THE TIMES 

Are the Seattle Mariners for Real?

 

April 11, 2019

Howard Umphrey

Howard Umphrey, brother of Times sportswriter, Eric Umphrey, visited the Mariners during spring training and snapped this back-shot of Kyle Seager (#15) stretching out with the split squad.

After series wins over the A's, Red Sox, Angels, and White Sox, the Seattle Mariners find themselves at the top of the AL West with the best record in baseball at 9-2. The hot start has been punctuated with a record number of home runs (27) through the first eleven games. Looking at the American League leaderboard will help you become familiar with some of the new players the Mariners picked up in the offseason.

Tim Beckham and Domingo Santana are all over the hitting leaderboards. Jay Bruce may only have seven hits, but five of them are home runs. The offense has been averaging a mind blowing 7.73 runs per game during this stretch.

However, before getting too excited about the season you should consider a few things. While the offense has been off-the-charts-fantastic, the defense and pitching have not. With third baseman Kyle Seager on the injured list, Dylan Moore committed three errors in a single game. Tim Beckham has five errors at shortstop and Ryon Healy has four at first base in the early going.

The pitching staff is giving up 5.09 runs per game. Playoff teams tend to score around five runs per game in offense while allowing around four runs on defense. While the pitching staff could improve a little, it is also likely the offensive will slow down considerably.

The next three opponents for the Mariners are the Royals, Indians, and Astros. While the Mariners are favored to win in each of the games against the Royals, they aren't favored in any of the matchups against Houston or Cleveland. Both Houston and Cleveland are expected to be playoff teams this season and are giving up 3.2 runs per game. These should be the first real tests of the season as the combined records of teams the Mariners have played so far are 16-26.

If the Mariners are still playing at a high level after fifty games into the season, I'll be cautiously optimistic about their outlook this season. Projection systems at both Fangraphs and FiveThirtyEight have already upwardly revised the number of wins they expect from the Mariners. FiveThirtyEight even gives them a 34% chance to make the playoffs which is up considerably from the start of the season. That's great when you consider this is supposed to be a rebuilding year.

 

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