Are the Mariners a contender? The Oakland A's have fallen fast, Anaheim Angels can't buy any runs, and the Texas Rangers are under-performing. These results have allowed the Mariners to be a couple games back from first place in the AL West.
The Seattle Mariners are hard to read because of their inconsistency and previous years have made fans skeptical of their recent success and their chase for the top of the division. Their batting average has hovered around .230 which is last in the American League and bottom five of Major League Baseball while their pitching ERA, Quality Starts, WHIP, and opponent batting average all rank top 5 in American League. They've gone on five and six game winning streaks as well as six and seven game losing streaks. It has truly been a roller coaster year so far.
Reasons to believe the M's can stay in the hunt:
They won six straight series from the end of May into June against teams like the Rays and Yankees.
The great team chemistry seen on the field, in the dugout, and discussed in interviews.
Youth. M's have gone young recently by calling up Mike Carp, playing Peguero often, and calling up Halman.
Adam Kennedy hitting over .280.
Ichiro hasn't even hit his hot streak yet.
Dustin Ackley is waiting for his call-up which could happen sooner rather than later.
Eric Wedge is in control and the M's finally have a strong leader in the clubhouse.
Reasons to believe the M's cannot stay in the hunt:
The team's starting pitching can't keep going at this pace and will eventually get closer to their career averages.
Chone Figgins is terrible! He's under .190 for his batting average and has shown a lack of effort and energy at third base. He just looks defeated out there.
Ichiro is struggling and was recently benched ending his 255 games started streak.
Strength of schedule gets harder in June and July.
This week is a great week to gauge the Mariners as a team. They will play the Anaheim Angels and the Philadelphia Phillies and it will be against some of their better pitching. The M's will face Harden, Weaver, Oswalt, Hamels, and another star to be named later form the Phillies' rotation. Needless to say, this will be two tough fought series at Safeco, and if they do win the series against the Angels, do well against the Phillies, I will 100% believe this team has the capability to be a contender. If Jack Z also finds the right pieces before the trade deadline while adding Ackley, I'll go as far as saying this team will start reminding me of the 2010 Giants by their level of pitching and scratching in runs.
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