It has been a brutal season thus far to say the least for the Seattle Mariners. After losing by double digits two of the last three games in Houston, Mariners fans are wondering if it can get worse than it has been so far. When your $240 million investment is hitting below .240, your GM made a trade to bolster your offense which hasn’t worked at all so far, and your Cy Young caliber pitcher couldn’t make it through even one inning in his last start, you have to wonder if this could be rock bottom for a team that was projected to compete for a division title and maybe even more.
This team was built to make a run to the postseason, but through June 14th, it has been anything but a run at a playoff spot. Instead, this team has put their fans through some brutal games and enough false hope to give you a heart attack when all is said and done. The potential the Mariners had coming into this season was off the charts and you have to wonder if that is going to pan out at some point.
If this team is going to turn it around, they have the pieces to potentially make this happen, but players will have to start performing like they were supposed to perform which is what it eventually comes down to. It will have to be a run like the 2013 Los Angeles Dodgers, who pulled off one of the most improbable turnarounds in Major League history.
In 2015, the Mariners through 63 games are 28-35, which leaves them only 7.5 GB of the Astros and gives them a fighting chance, which is truly remarkable. In 2013, the Dodgers through 63 games were a game worse than Seattle at 27-36 and in last place in the division hanging around 9.5 GB from first place.
This Dodgers team wasn’t bad either and had the pieces, just like Seattle does this year, to win around 90 games. Los Angeles had the likes of Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier, and Carl Crawford in their Opening Day lineup and they were poised to lead this team to the playoffs. As stated just before, they couldn’t get anything going. They had a great rotation led by Kershaw and Greinke and it felt like nothing could go wrong, but early on, it probably couldn’t have been worse.
As the season went on, they couldn’t string anything together and lost eight straight games to start the month of May and manager Don Mattingly was hanging on by a loose piece of string. Then, the calendar turned to June and something had to give. They called up Cuban superstar Yasiel Puig and he may have been the trigger-man for the turnaround. Going into their game on June 22nd, 2013 vs. the Padres, they were 30-42 — one of the worst teams in baseball record wise — but that is when things started to turn.
From June 22nd until the end of the season, they Dodgers pulled off one of the most impressive turnarounds in baseball history, posting a record of 62-28 and ended up winning the NL West. It was shocking how a team in last place who barely had a pulse could do this, but it was done.
Now could it happen in 2015? Maybe, maybe not, but it isn’t like it hasn’t been done before. There are a few parallels between these two teams and it isn’t so far fetched. The Dodgers going into June 22nd were 9.5 GB of the lead in the division; the Mariners are just 7.5 GB. The Mariners have a bonafide ace in King Felix; the Dodgers have a bonafide ace in Kershaw.
It’s not so far fetched and with the Mariners being just 7.5 GB right now, nothing is over yet, especially with the Astros having won just two of their last ten even though those two were against the Mariners. You have to expect that these last couple of starts for Mariners pitching where they allowed double digit runs were just a fluke because they have been too good other times out.
What really hurts this year’s Mariners ball club is hitting with runners in scoring position. This will eventually be the be all, end all for Seattle as they have gotten enough men on, but haven’t been able to drive them in which at the end of the day is all that matters.
They have made some moves as well, designating Justin Ruggiano and Rickie Weeks for assignment and trading for a bat in Mark Trumbo, who hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations so far. Seattle has another series with Houston looming over the weekend at home and if they can get this thing turned around, they can make some noise.
I know it’s cliché, but taking this thing one game at a time and stringing together a streak is what it will take. It won’t be easy, but if you ask the 2013 Dodgers, they will tell you that it can be done. Who knows if they can do it in the end, but what is a little bit more false hope gonna do?