Question marks loomed over the Seattle Mariners as Opening Day approached on March 28. In the midst of what front office management deemed a “step-back,” countless fans prematurely forfeited a 2019 season after the team traded away their best talent.
Boy, were the fans wrong.
In what was doomed to be another year of mediocracy for the Mariners, the team shocked all of baseball en route to a scorching 12–2 start. While the Mariners now sit atop the American League standings, a fan base that once considered 2019 as a throwaway season is now reignited with excitement for the future of the team.
What made the start most impressive was Seattle’s strength of schedule, and the ease in which the Mariners took care of their opponents. After sweeping the Oakland Athletics in two games to commence the season, Seattle took three of four from the defending champion Boston Red Sox.
If it weren’t for the scrappiness of their young hitters, the Mariners would likely dwell below their divisional rivals in the standings. To reach the 12–2 plateau, Seattle banked on their explosive offense to bail out inexperienced pitching. In both losses, relief pitchers blew leads of at least two runs.
But through nine games, Seattle led the league in runs scored, runs per game, home runs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
When asked about the elite start, shortstop Tim Beckham praised his teammates and their ability to score runs.
“We have really good hitters that control the strike zone well,” Beckham said. “It’s a good ball club. The energy is real right now.”
Beckham has been at the forefront of the Mariner hit parade — batting .400 through his first 11 games with four home runs. He was awarded the American League Player of the Week for his performance throughout March.
But to counterbalance the club’s incredible offensive start, defensive blunders have haunted the Mariners early throughout the season. Though no specific mistake has cost Seattle a win, their 19 errors lead all of baseball by a wide margin.
While scoring seven runs per game is not sustainable in baseball, the Mariners continue to crush opposing teams as they leave fans wondering when the offense will inevitably cool.
If Seattle can strengthen the bullpen and clean up their sloppy defensive play, the Mariners will continue to scare opponents and leave fans wondering if the team isn’t a fluke after all.
Maybe the Mariners will continue the hit barrage. Maybe the Mariners will tweak the pitching staff and fix the defensive mistakes. Maybe the Mariners will contend for a playoff spot that was once considered a pipe dream.
Just maybe — these guys are for real.