In continuing with the 2015 tradition of One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, the Mariners just took a step forward with their 3-game home sweep of the A’s. That brings us to a record of 14-17 and sets us off on a month’s worth of games against opponents we haven’t seen yet. Some things are starting to shake out.
The Astros are the real deal. But, you already knew that. They’re 20-12 and showing no signs of slowing down.
The A’s and Rangers are God-awful. One would think the A’s might have a chance to turn things around – because they can be annoyingly streaky like that – but you have to wonder if they’ve dug themselves too big a hole.
The Mariners haven’t proven a damn thing yet. We’ve got a -20 run differential which is more indicative of a few well-blown games and a lot of close defeats, but it nevertheless doesn’t look good on us. Over the weekend, the Mariners won by a 7-2 margin, which was our largest margin of victory of the season. Indeed, it was the only game the Mariners have won by more than 3 runs. On a related note, this bullpen is majorly taxed.
Also on a related note: the Mariners are 10-2 against the combo of the Rangers and A’s, and 4-15 against all other teams. Those teams?
- The Angels – 0.5 games ahead of us
- The Dodgers – best record in the West
- The Astros – best record in the A.L. West
- The Twins – 4 games over .500
Granted, we haven’t played a TON of teams, but I’m getting a nasty trend out of this: great against the dregs, terrible against any teams that are even REMOTELY good. So, this next month will go a long way in determining what we really are. The Padres and Red Sox are decent. Same goes for the Orioles, Blue Jays, and Rays. The Indians are off to a crappy start; the Yankees are off to a terrific start. We play those seven teams a total of 29 games before we get saddled with the Astros again. I anticipate the Astros will still be pretty good by then, but I also anticipate they will have cooled off some and be in a stretch of more or less .500 ball. They’re the team we’ve got to catch, though, so they’re the team we need to be concerned about the most.
We HAVE to be a better baseball team in 30 games if we expect to hang with the Astros. Now, there are a lot teams in the next four weeks who are pretty much right at our level. We’ve proven we can beat the very worst; next up is beating the teams who are our equal. You can say what you want, but I believe the season hangs in the balance in this next month. We’re 3 games under .500. By the time we play the Astros again, I’d like to see us 3-5 games over .500. Best way to do that? Go 18-11, to get us to 32-28. If we can be 32-28 by the time we see the Astros again, I’ll start to believe in this season again. It’s not asking a lot, but I hope it’s not asking too much.