The Mariners improve with time

Another week has gone by and with it another week of me trying not to get excited about the early success in the Seattle Mariners’ season. Sitting at a nice healthy record of 14 wins and 10 losses as of the evening of April 26, they still remain third in the AL West Division behind the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels.
The last week sparked the first big road trip for Seattle, as they went and played the Rangers in Texas, the White Sox in Chicago and ended on a four-game series against the Indians in Cleveland to round out the month of April. This road trip was prefaced by a brutal loss to the Astros, where the Mariners scored just six runs in the four games. A successful road trip was necessary for the morale of the team as a whole.

And a successful road trip it has been so far. The series in Texas started with a bang in a 6-2 victory, as many runs as was scored in the past four games. The next day on April 21 again was a 9-7 victory, and the Mariners looked good. Granted, we lost the third and final game of the series 4-7 but it was a series win overall and it was what we needed.
The series in Chicago started on April 23 and while Seattle lost the first game 4-10 in one of the harder games I have ever had to watch, the next two were wins of 1-0 and 4-3 respectively. As of writing this the Mariners had only completed the first game in the series versus the Indians but that was also a solid 5-4 win, meaning the Mariners were on a three-game winning streak going into the rest of the series.

One thing to be noted is the relative strength of the Mariners’ relief pitchers. Five Mariners pitchers have an earned run average of 3.00 or below, Altavilla, Pazos, Bradford, Miranda and Diaz are all putting up fantastic numbers. Edwin Diaz in particular has posted incredible numbers. At the time of writing he has posted 11 saves across 11 save opportunities, the best in the majors. He has also only allowed one run in his 13 innings of play. He also has 25 strikeouts and recently became the fifth fastest pitcher to get 200 career strikeouts.

Other big news is that catcher Mike Zunino made his debut on the road this season. Out from an injury, he returned and filled that gap in the lineup that Marjama and Freitas were not able to fill. While his defensive prowess was second-to-none, his batting started off poor. However, he managed to get better and better with time. While his batting average only stands at 20 percent, most of his hits have been in the last few days, with two of them being home runs on back-to-back days. On a similar note, Nelson Cruz has looked better by the day. His ankle injury early on in the season kept him on the bench and when he did play he looked like he was practically walking. However, while he hasn’t been slamming home runs every game, he has been getting on base more and more, with multiple extra base hits to show that he’s capable of running at normal speeds.

The rest of the lineup is looking hotter and hotter. Gordon, Seguar, Cano, Seager and Haniger are just constantly putting up good numbers for the Mariners and it’s been a joy to watch. Mike Haniger has put up RBI numbers that are tied for second in the Majors. The only thing the Mariners need to really improve on right now is their starting rotation. Each of their starting pitchers is at over a 5.00 ERA and while they’re improving they’ll need to continue that trend if the Mariners can really surge into a top tier team.