After a strong start to the season the Mariners seem to have hit a bump in the road and have struggled heavily in the recent weeks. Will they be able to turn it around?
The day was Saturday, April 2. The Mariners just wrapped up a win over the Boston Red Sox and gave them at least a series split against the team with the best record in the American League. This win also moved their record to 13-8, giving them a half a game lead over Boston for the best record in the American League. Things were good and it was looking like this might be the year the Mariners finally turn it around and make the postseason for the first time in 20 years.
But, like they always do, this Mariners team slowly came back down to Earth and have struggled mightily during the past few weeks. So, what has gone wrong and what will need to change if they want any chance to make a run at a postseason berth?
At the time this article was written, the Mariners as a team are batting .198 which at this point in the year is almost unheard of.
They also made history by becoming the fifth team since 1900 to be no hit twice in one month. It was cool watching the first one happen but just plain embarrassing to see it happen again and now every night the rest of the season they will be on the verge of making history as the first ever team to be no-hit three times in a season.
The couple bright spots in the lineup have been the resurgence of Mitch Haniger who is among the league leaders in home runs currently with 13. Kyle Seager has done what he has always done: hit for an average of around .240, hit a few home runs a month and come up with clutch RBIs.
The biggest concern with this team for me thus far is the lack of improvement from the young core of players that are supposed to develop and help this team turn around for the future.
Reigning rookie of the year Kyle Lewis began the year on the injured list and has not been able to get it going since returning, only hitting .227 and three home runs. He also has been swinging and missing at an alarming rate but when he does, he isn’t hitting the ball very hard. The hope is that he is still getting back into the swing of things after being injured, but it is important that he gets the bat going.
2020 Gold Glove winners Evan White and JP Crawford are once again stellar in the field but have struggled at the plate. White is still striking out way above the MLB average and is currently on the injured list. A stint in AAA Tacoma may be in the future for him to help get his confidence back and work out his issues.
For Crawford, this may be his last year in Seattle if he is not able to figure it out at the plate as management may choose to bring in a free agent. This is Crawford’s third year of not showing much improvement and he will need to get hot for the rest of the year.
Three of the Mariners top prospects made their debuts this year but have not had the expected starts to the season. Taylor Trammell won the opening day left field spot after a hot spring training but was sent back down to AAA after an ice cold start to the season. His replacement was the No. 3 prospect in all of baseball, Jarred Kelenic, who has not fared much better since his call up. Logan Gilbert, who was the Mariners top pitching prospect, also made his anticipated debut and has been hit hard in his first few starts.
The team was also hit with a COVID case which put four players out for at least 10 days. This was bound to happen as the Mariners are the team with the lowest number of vaccinated players, a big cause for concern moving forward.
Overall, the start to this season has been mostly a disappointment. But the positive is that his team is still young and has the potential to be really good. They just need to start showing it or else people will begin doubting the whole rebuilding process and it may be time to make some bigger moves if the postseason drought is going to end.