Yesterday, The Mariners (23-28) suffered another loss last night at the hands of the Texas Rangers (23-23) by the score of 5-3. Thanks to another moonshot at the hands of Joey Gallo, the AL leader in WRC+ and OPS, the game was pretty much finished in the bottom of 7th. This was the fifth loss the Mariners have endured in their last 6 games, which has now dropped them firmly into dead last in the AL West. A staggering 11 games behind the juggernaut that is the Houston Astros.
It has only been 3 and a half weeks since the Mariners were sitting atop the division, a mere 21 games from where they are currently.
I’m not sure if you remember, but the scrappy Seattle Mariners were sitting with an MLB best, 13-2 record not too long ago. If you so happened to be following this historic stretch of games and have watched what has ensued since April, you know Twitter has had a field day with this unfortunate team…
But, how did this all happen exactly? What caused this well-oiled-machine to completely fall apart in such a frustratingly small amount of time? Let’s look at some key series and stats that have played into what has happened so far.
The Sizzling Start
After winning their 6th game in a row on April 11th, the 13-2 Mariners were feeling really damn good. Taking 3 out of 4 games from the 2018 World Series Champs in Seattle’s first series at home, and having 3 starters with an OPS over 1.000 had Seattle baseball fans loving life. I’m sure there were baristas, bloggers, and homeless people alike in the Seattle streets losing their minds over the M’s dominance during the first week of baseball. And who could really blame them? Chris Sale got tagged for SEVEN runs in 3 innings in his opening day start, which in case you were wondering, was an amount of earned runs that had literally never happened to him the year prior.
Fast forward past Seattle’s demolition of the White Sox and Royals, and the Mariners were prepping to face the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians for over a 6-game homestand at T-Mobile Park.
After making the Red Sox look more like the Portland Sea Dogs a week prior, you would think that the two aforementioned teams wouldn’t stand much of a chance against the roaring Mariners. You would also think that the Mariners would be able to keep scoring the *roughly* 7.67 runs/game they posted in the first 15 games of the season too.
What would end up happening over the next 6 days was the beginning of the end of the Mariner’s 2019 MLB domination.
11 Games Over .500 to 11 Games Out Of First
15 runs in 6 games. That’s how many runs the Mariners scored at home over the course of those 2 series that went down. If you don’t count their opening loss to the Astros where they lost 10-6, their run total drops to an abysmal 9 runs over 5 games. No surprise after dropping that knowledge, the M’s got clapped and took 6 L’s in a row, dropping their season record to 13-8.
Now, 13 wins is still great for any team only 12% into the season. In fact, despite the 6-pack of L’s the Mariners were dished, they were only a half-game behind 1st in the division. Any baseball fan with half-a-brain knows that the Houston Astros are stacked in every way you can imagine. The fact that the Mariners were within a single game’s reach of the baddest team in baseball after this onslaught, is a testament of not only how good the Mariners were, but also how awful what I’m about to share with you is.
After the Mariners were swept during the entirety of their mid-April homestand, they bounced back on the road against the Angels to win 3 in a row, (16-8 record) and retook the lead for 1st in the AL West. But over the course of the following month of games, the Mariners decided that winning just wasn’t for them anymore.
The Mariners have proceeded to go 7-20 over the last 30 calendar days…
Despite the Mariners’ current record, and extremely depressing 5 wins in the month of May, they lead the entirety of the MLB in team home runs and RBI’s, are 5th in hits, and are 2nd in runs scored. The Mariners in all honesty, are a great offensive baseball team that have sadly just been plagued with losing a shit ton of games lately.
To be fair, the Mariners have had one of the toughest schedules this month. Having to face the Cubs, Yankees, Twins, and Indians in such a short span isn’t ideal for any team in baseball. Even though you would expect at least a few more wins against these teams considering Seattle’s offensive production, this honestly could all just be a spell of bad luck and tough scheduling.
If there is one thing to be very happy about with this club, it is the development of the absolute unit himself, Daniel Vogelbach.
Dan the man, who didn’t even have 150 plate appearances before the start of this season, has been blasting baseballs in 2019 to the tune of a 1.040 OPS and 1.5 WAR. He is by far my current favorite to win AL Rookie of the Year, and boy is it fun to watch him hit the ball. Oh by the way, did I mention he is also leading the MLB in AB/HR?
If Vogey can continue his phenomenal hitting and become a leader on this ball club, the Mariners are going to end up having a stud for years to come. Unfortunately, an all-star season from the 26-year-old rookie isn’t going to be the sole thing that scrapes Seattle out of last place. Additional games this month against ball clubs over .500 is probably going to equal more losses for the mighty Mariners; and it almost seems like their record setting start is now a thing out of an old Kevin Costner movie.
All things considered, the Seattle Mariners are likely to stay in the bottom portion of the AL West for the foreseeable future. Houston, Texas, and Oakland are all winning games like its a bad-habit, which is only going to drop the M’s further down into the inferno. Best case scenario, Mariners go 84-78, end up getting a few key players in the offseason, and try and build upon the success they found and lost so abruptly back in April.