Surprising nobody, the Mariners have descended from their record-breaking 13-2 record into reality once again. As of May 9, they have settled into a respectable 20-20 record, which places them at second in the AL West, just two games out from the second wild card spot.
Seattle’s fall from grace began on April 12, a time Mariner fans fondly reminisce about. Two three-game series at home against the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians brought the Mariner homestand to an end without a single win. Who cares? The Astros look like title contenders, and the Indians were off to a blazing start. Mariner fans continued to have high hopes after Seattle recovered and took three of four from the Angels in their next series.
Emotions were high in the following weeks. The San Diego Padres swept the Mariners’ two-game series in San Diego. No matter, the Padres did the same last year, and they weren’t considered the better team then either. A 14-2 win against Texas the next day was all Mariner fans needed to hold their heads high, as they were rewarded with another 5-4 victory.
That was the end of it. The future of the Seattle Mariners would no longer be streets of solid gold brick or archways of sparkling World Series rings. All that awaited the fans was pain and suffering, which they should be accustomed to at this point. The Rangers bounced back in the series, taking a 14-1 and 15-1 victory over the Mariners. They went from the best run differential in the Majors, to barely being at even over the course of two days.
The Mariners stuck it out at home for two more games against the Chicago Cubs. After a narrow 6-5 defeat, Seattle took another setback, as Chicago took a dominant 11-0 victory to complete the sweep. In shambles, the Mariners marched slowly to Cleveland to face the Indians. The Mariners lost the first two games. A 10-0 victory in game three was a shallow win for the Mariners, but a win is still a win.
If there was any pattern the Mariners could take away as they headed into a 4 game series against the Yankees, it was that they couldn’t string together wins against the top teams. And despite all odds, the Yankees’ horribly injured roster was one of the top teams. The initial 3-7 loss left a sour taste with fans, as Felix Hernandez got blown up early. The following loss was even worse. The Mariners entered the bottom of the ninth with a 4-2 lead, looking to regain some ground until Gio Urshela tied it with a two-run home run, and DJ LeMahieu walked it off with an RBI single. In a pleasant turn of events, the Mariners prevented a sweep in a 10-1 victory the following day, giving Yusei Kikuchi his second win of the year. All good things must come to an end, however. The Yankees took the fourth and final game of that series to solidify our spot as nothing more than an average team.
Looking back, nobody should be surprised. We were never going to be contenders in our rebuilding season. We took on the World Series champions in the first series and blew them out. It looked great, but even now the Red Sox look like little more than an average team themselves. The rest of May should theoretically be easier, aside from a series against the Minnesota Twins. With any luck, the Mariners should have a winning record coming out of the month, but with a bullpen that continues to disappoint and a starting rotation that nobody has any idea of their quality, it’s hard to have much faith.