SEATTLE – Mariners … we get it.
The first 15 games of the season were an aberration. The 2019 “step back” was interrupted by a Beamon-esque leap forward that gave you guys MLB’s best record.
We knew it wouldn’t last. Anyone who pays attention to baseball knew it wouldn’t last.
But this? This is just overkill.
The Cubs hammered Seattle 11-0 on Wednesday as the Mariners hammered home a point. They made it that much clearer to those hoping for a rebound that this is, indeed, a rebuild.
Just before leaving for what might be the most challenging road trip of the season, Seattle laid an egg and put up a bagel. Will it get better? Probably. But only because it can’t get much worse.
“We gotta get back to playing better baseball,” M’s manager Scott Servais said. “No way to sugarcoat it.”
Since starting the season 13-2, the Mariners have lost 13 of their past 18 games. No team in baseball has been as bad over that stretch.
They have been swept in four of their past six series, have been outscored 46-7 over their past four games and are on pace for 187 errors, which would be the most in a season in at least 30 years.
If there was any positive from Wednesday, it’s that Seattle had just one error, which brought down its average for the season. The negative, however, is that that would have increased every other MLB team’s average.
This isn’t some kind of epic collapse or anything. M’s general manager Jerry Dipoto said it would be a rough year before the season began. Most fans would have taken an 18-15 start, but almost nobody could have predicted the first month would have been so all over the place.
So far, the Mariners’ 5.7 runs per game are the second most in MLB – and their 5.66 runs allowed are the third most.
Basically, Seattle games have produced more runs than any other team in MLB.
Eleven times this season, we’ve seen at least one team in a Mariners game score at least 10 runs. And though the M’s were producing most of those double-digit totals early on … things have definitely tumbled.
Wednesday, it was starting pitcher Marco Gonzales’ turn to send baseballs to their death. He gave up six runs in 1 2/3 innings and walked two batters home. It was the first time all season that Gonzales – who entered the game with a 2.80 ERA – had been pulled before the fifth. Then again, the baseball gods have been sniping Mariners one by one lately.
From Edwin Encarnacion to Mitch Haniger to Domingo Santana to Ryon Healy to Tim Beckham, the guys who starred through mid-April are now skidding in early May. Wednesday, Healy was the only guy to get a hit off the Cubs, who got seven innings from Jon Lester.
Awaiting the Mariners over their next 10 games are the Indians, Yankees and Red Sox – the first two have winning records, and the third is the defending World Series champion. To worry they will come home under .500 is not an irrational fear. True, at 11-4, the Mariners do have the best road record in the league, but that’s another elevated stat likely to come back to reality.
For what it’s worth, the Mariners have been a long way from boring and will probably avoid that adjective for most of the season. They entered Wednesday with 10 more home runs than any other team in baseball and 13 more errors. These haven’t been 5-1 snoozefests where the highlight of the day is an IPA at Edgar’s. Winning or losing, the M’s have been doing both spectacularly.
But based on the roster – and, of course, the past few games – we’re probably going to see a lot more of the latter coming up. The M’s aren’t just coming back to earth, they’re free falling back.