The trade deadline has now come and gone and this the team the M’s will have as they attempt to end the playoff drought. As of this morning, the M’s are 2.5 games back of the 2nd wild card spot held currently by the Royals. A brutal August schedule in terms of games on the road is under way. Despite only 6 games at home, the M’s do not have the toughest of schedules and it should be reasonable to expect them to go 16-11 in the month. This would be a drastic improvement compared to their 22-26 record on the year on the road thus far and would be the best month of baseball for the club.
Despite Paxton having an unreal month in July and showing why many see him as a #1 starter, the M’s starting pitching will not be striking fear in any of these teams when Ramirez and Gallardo are on the bump. Jerry attempted to combat this by dealing a couple of prospects for David Phelps in an attempt to bolster the bullpen and Diaz appears to have righted the ship with a great month on July (0.951 WHIP and 13.8 SO/9). If Pazos can regain the command he had in April and May and Zych continues to throw heat, we could have a chance to make up for shaky starts from the back-end of the rotation. But no matter what we do, what is going to carry the Mariners to the playoffs is their bats.
The M’s have one of the best 1-2-3-4-5 lineups in the MLB. Cruz, at the age of 36, is having a season similar to his other two in Seattle with an 130 OPS+ and is on track to have more RBIs than any other year. Segura is setting the table for these guys while matching the year he had last year in AZ, with .322 BA and over 100 hits thus year. Seager and Cano are there usual selves, hitting for average and power. And the new kid on the block, Gamel, continues to hold his own out there with a .333 OBP. Even the of the lineup is holding up well for the team.
One of the things I believe the team can change when it comes to their approach, is to be more aggressive on first pitches. After 400+ plate appearances, the Mariners are batting almost .370 on first pitches. This is in line with the over .380 they batted last year on first pitches.
If the Mariners can go 16-11 in the month of August, it will set up for a fun month of September baseball in the AL West with all but 3 of their games against inter division opponents. The Astro’s will be the run away winners of the division but there will be fight for the wild card spot and I expect another AL West team to be right there for it. I hope it is the Mariners and we are watching meaningful baseball in October.
Photo from The Seattle Times