Hey, so, here’s the thing. The Mariners stink right now. But, you already knew that. You don’t need to see me sitting here piling on. 6-9 is a rotten record, in pretty much any sport. Yeah it’s early, but they all count. Each game is 1/162nd of our final record. We’ve dug ourselves a hole, and while there’s plenty of time to dig ourselves out of it, it doesn’t change the fact that it could have – and SHOULD have – started differently.
Part of our crappy record comes with a mediocre showing against divisional opponents in the early going. The Mariners are 6-6 against the A.L. West. To be honest, I thought it’d be worse, but I must have blocked out that Dodgers series sweep. 6-6 actually doesn’t sound too bad … until you take a look at the rest of the teams in our division. Right now, the only team with a winning record is the Astros, at 8-7. The A’s are 8-8, and the rest sit mired at 6-9. The A.L. West SUUUUUUUUCKS right now. Which makes it all the more appalling that the Mariners haven’t gotten fat off of the 12 games we’ve played against these teams already.
Now, on the plus side, divisional record isn’t nearly as important as it is in the NFL. If the Mariners were to tie for the divisional lead with another team at season’s end, we’d get a 1-game playoff to decide things. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but if the Mariners continue to dog it against intra-divisional foes, it’s probably for the best.
The problem with being so crappy against teams in your own division is that we play them ALL THE TIME. 19 games per team! 76 out of 162 games this year, or 47% of all the games we’ll play in the regular season! If this trend continues and we go .500 in our division, that means we’ll have to go 52-34 against non-divisional opponents (or a .605 winning percentage) to get to 90 wins (which is the benchmark we seem to be using to determine if a team is destined for the post-season). Seems like a lot.
Of course, we have no God damn business being this crappy against the A.L. West going forward. I don’t expect everyone to hover around .500 or below, but I still like our team more than I like any of the others. Nevertheless, it would help if the Mariners could get healthy against non-divisional foes just the same. Pad the wins a little bit.
We play Minnesota this weekend. Losing this series would be a God damn catastrophe. For what it’s worth, anything less than a sweep by the Mariners would be a disappointment. Then, right after this, we play another two weeks straight against our division before taking a long hiatus through the rest of May and much of June. We’ll have a better idea of just where the Mariners are in this thing when we see them play unfamiliar teams. If we continue to struggle, it might be a LONG year. If we start to pick it up, that might be the boost we need to carry us into a pennant-winning season. One can only hope.