Inside the 2017 Seattle Mariners Rebound
Bouncing back, but are they better than before?
If I told you, after Week 1, that the 2017 Seattle Mariners would make the top ten in the MLB Power Rankings this season, what would you say?
Anyone but the most ardent M’s fan might have assumed I am insane. They are correct anyway, but nevertheless, this is what has happened. In yesterday’s rankings (since updated), the Seattle Mariners moved to 10th for the first time this season.
When the season began for the playoff-starved Mariners, things looked bleak. The M’s opened at 1-6 and got as low as 21-29 on Memorial Day weekend. This low-water mark came on the heels of back-to-back shutout defeats.
Since then, Seattle is 36-27, and competitive in the AL wild card race. The AL West was lost long ago, as Houston isn’t coughing up a 15-game lead. This remains a major turnaround for a team that stunk up the proverbial joint in the first 50 games of the season. How did the Mariners come around this year?
2017 Seattle Mariners: Bracket Yard Power Rankings
2017 Seattle Mariners: Flipping A Switch
The flippant baseball commentator might say, and I quote, “DUH, they doing better cuz they is winning more!!!1” No shit, Sherlock.
First, Seattle’s offense came to life. In June, when the rebound began, they scored 160 runs for an average of almost six per game. It was the first month they hadn’t been outscored this season. Robinson Cano, who’s making a lot of scratch to hit dingers, had six for 23 RBI with a .287 average that month.
The pitching didn’t start improving until July, when Seattle truly began to climb the rankings. That month, they allowed just 107 runs, or a little over four per game. James Paxton has been a big part of the picture overall. The M’s are 13-6 in games he starts, and his 2.70 ERA is one of the best in the AL. He, not King Felix Hernandez, is staff ace. Scott Boras is his agent, so you know he’ll be looking for big bucks down the pike.
Finally, the M’s started winning more of their one-run games. Since their low-water mark in late May, they are 10-3 in games decided by a single run. To be fair, Seattle wasn’t terrible before that at 8-7, but all of their walkoff losses to date came before Memorial Day. Credit the bullpen and timely hitting.
2017 Seattle Mariners: Devil’s Advocacy
You know, the 2016 Seattle Mariners were ten games over .500. They had a lower team ERA then (4.00) than now (4.45). Seattle hit a ton of homers last season (223) and aren’t on pace to come near that in 2017 (183). What the hell gives?
Everything is relative. The 2017 Seattle Mariners are probably not better than the 2016 edition. Yet, they’re in similar wild card stalking position — if not a little better — because of the state of the American League. If the Mariners played in the NL West, they’d be dead as a doorknob. In the AL West, they won’t catch Houston, but no wild card contender is even 10 games over .500.
Seeing that everything is relative, how’s this:
- The 2017 Seattle Mariners aren’t a better team than the 2016 team.
- This season, the AL wild card contenders also aren’t better.
- They are playing better lately, and even getting back up to average is a huge improvement.
Check out how the Mariners look now in our Major League Baseball playoff picture.