Don’t Look Now, But The Mariners Are In First Place

I know, we’re not supposed to look at the standings at the beginning of May, BUT THAT’S WHY I SAID DON’T LOOK NOW, YOU FOOLS!

Feels different, though, doesn’t it?  You know what’s stood out to me so far?  The Mariners are not only hanging in there in games they have no business competing in, but they’re actually WINNING these games!  There was that game last week, against Houston ace Dallas Keuchel, or if you’ll permit me, their Jaws vs. our bucket o’ chum that was Nathan Karns; and what happened?  The Mariners got to Keuchel for 5 runs in 6 innings en route to an 11-1 victory.  Last night, same deal:  Oakland Ace Sonny Gray – someone who has just put the screws to us time and time again – against Hisashi Iwakuma, who has been markedly mediocre against the Athletics in his career.

So, what happened?  Oh, you know, the Mariners only scored 7 runs in 7 innings against Gray, en route to an 8-2 victory.

These are the types of games in the past you didn’t even have to watch.  Why bother?  You know the Mariners are going to be in a huge deficit by the fourth inning, at which point it’s just sitting there miserable, listening to Dave Sims and Mike Blowers go through the motions for a million hours.

But now?  I won’t say it’s appointment television, because while it’s too early to be obsessing over the standings, it’s also too early to watch every single inning; I mean, who has that kind of concentration?  But, I will say that MAYBE don’t give up on these games before they’ve even been played.

Last night’s game was pretty cool.  2 hits, including a homer for Cano; 2 hits, including a 2-run homer for Martin; 2 hits, including a 3-run homer for Seager; 2 hits and a fabulous start to a double play for Marte; 2 hits and a run scored for Clevenger; and to top it all off, 7 innings of 1-run ball for Iwakuma.  AND, as an added bonus, Mayckol Guaipe and newcomer Steve Johnson each pitched an inning of relief (Johnson making his Major League debut, in the lowest possible leverage situation, up 7 runs).

I don’t know how much you really glean from a game like that.  Regarding Iwakuma, I guess we caught him on one of his good nights.  This does feel like something of a statement game from our offense, especially when you read quotes about how Gray felt better than he has all season last night.  One concern – VERY minor, for the moment – is that it seems like the Mariners are scoring a large percentage of their runs via the homer.  Those tend to come and go in waves, so it would be nice to see the team find other ways to score when the chips are down.  But, again, I can’t complain too much when the team scores 8 runs.

Today, the King is on the mound against some no-name.  Coming into this series, anyone who knows anything about baseball probably predicted this to be a Mariners win, while they might have predicted losses in the first two games.  So, you know, get ready to be disappointed!

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