It’s time now

It’s no longer about what should happen. It’s just time to yell.

1) You will recall, or you will not, that in the past we have written some overwrought, and angst-filled words in this space to the effect of what the Mariners making the playoffs would mean to us, and to our surrounds. That was for the 2017 Mariners, a team that slogged through a mediocre, depressing season while watching a division rival vault to a World Series championship, and final slaying of whatever power Sports Illustrated held on the national mystique. It was a very Mariners season.

The death of a Mariners season, however, for once, appears to have left behind something besides the nostril-stinging sweetness of death and decay. The corpse has fertilized the soil, and the 2018 Mariners, a team that by all accounts should be at or slightly above .500, is reaping a generational harvest of good luck and good timing. They are 41-24.  A quick view of the landscape of the American League, and where the Mariners sit amidst it tells a pretty clear picture, although uttering it aloud risks tapping into the vast ocean of ennui, paranoia, and superstition that is rooting for one of the most failure-ridden franchises in all of sports:

The Mariners are going to make the playoffs this year.

2) The truth is that, outside of a happy cosmic accident from 2000-2003, the Mariners have just not been very good. Clearly, there have been misfortunes, bad-timing, busted prospects, and injuries. For fans the slow, steady, geological-event style feeling of the years of same have led to a feeling of something like a curse.

There was no curse, and never has been. While Mariner fans exist in a world where mystical snares and devilish traps lay ready to trip us up the moment we let ourselves relax or expect even a single good thing to happen, those foibles never extended onto Safeco Field itself. The truth is the players were not good enough, the front office not adept enough, and ownership not committed enough to seeing it through. The fact that for thirty-seven of their forty-one and change years of existence the Mariners have not suffered under some gypsy’s vengeful hex, but rather the weight of their own shared failings may provide comfort, or push you further to despair. Which is largely up to you, but face that reality with honesty and courage, because reality it very much is.

3) We don’t really know how exactly the Mariners are 41-24, and will not pretend to have any deep insight into it here. By and large it has something to do with Edwin Diaz ensuring that in every game decided by an eyelash, which is almost all of them, the Mariners are the ones who did the best job getting those babies full and luscious. It involves a group of players that with few exceptions does not do anything spectacular on any given day, but also does not do that most Mariner of things: Horrifically fail. It is a team built upon a generally higher baseline of competence than is typical, and while we are resistant to offer too much credit towards Jerry Dipoto by habit, that is probably by his design.

We do know that this season, regardless of final outcome, represents an experience Mariner fans have not had in a very long time: A mid-season spot in a prime playoff spot, a summer of scoreboard watching, and a very real pennant chase.

There is magic in First Place, and as of the day of this writing, June 12th, the simple matter is that a quick look at the standings in the AL West, when read from top down, starts with “Seattle Mariners”. Beyond that simple, joyous, dopamine-providing exercise, the American League has shaken out to make the Mariners playing a Game 163 a (relatively) simple task. There is one team fewer than five games behind the Mariners in the Wild Card standings, and one other fewer than ten games. That second team, the Cleveland Indians, is also leading its division.

Of all the different Mariner seasons: undermanned, plucky group that stands just outside playoff contention. Spectacular, expensive, old, franchise-crippling failure. Losing season endured at the expense of Playing the Kids, and on, THIS Mariner season represents something so lost to time as to be basically new: The Blitzkrieg. The rapid, dominant, overpowering assault, followed by stockpiling provisions, shoring up supply lines, and praying that it all lasts long enough to ensure victory.

Regardless of where the Mariners are in late September, what happens between now and then is, for the people inside and outside of this organization, virgin, unspoiled territory. And that is a very exciting thought.

4) We are old. That is not a new thought, nor a new fact, but it bears repeating. It bears it because one of the byproducts of age is a narrowing of one’s emotional spectrum. Highs are lower, and lows higher. We imagine that much of the challenge of middle and old age will be trying to keep that spectrum from merging into a single line, but that is not the discussion for today.

Today is about what we want, and have always wanted: We want the next generation of baseball fans in this town to come into its own. Watching the Mariners of the mid to late 1990’s make the playoffs, and the region’s accompanying daily devotion to them, is still, decades later, the cornerstone of our entire fandom of all sports. We found heroes, we fell in love, we made relationships that survive to this day.

We were not alone in that. The powerful, intoxicating effect of those teams, combined with their early 2000’s brethren provided the momentum and voices that have kept Mariners fandom a largely enjoyable experience, despite all the Mariners baseball involved. It has been a long journey, with various factions and figureheads popping up, only to pass on the burden to the next group. For a short while, we carried the banner, and then had to lay it down. It was heavy and, frankly, smelled a bit. We figure Gary left it on the floor of his apartment and let his cat piss on it. That’s a total Gary move.

But now, finally, it’s time. The Mariners are good, one way or the other. The Maple Grove and other fan groups have provided a way for new fans to connect with each other and the team. Safeco Field stands poised to be a summer home for fans, new and old, to congregate and learn to love what we very truly believe to be the best game in the world.

It’s time to imagine. Look at a calendar, and circle October 2nd. Imagine the Mariners ending the Red Sox season in Fenway Park. Imagine watching it with your friends and family. Imagine filling Safeco for a viewing party. Imagine the first pitch. Imagine the final out. Imagine everything in between. Imagine sinking a frankly inadvisable amount of discretionary income into tickets for that first playoff game at Safeco. Imagine the pregame buzz in that place. Imagine trying not to cry.

This is not for us, and never has been. This is for Seattle, and for the future, and all the people who have never done this before. It has been long enough. It’s time, now. The Seattle Mariners are going to the playoffs. Have the summer of your lives, dear friends.

Go M’s.

 

Mariners trade Moore for More Fun

CROOKED HAT BACK!?!?

With the Mariners off to a 29-20 start, and putting out the fire started by Robinson Cano’s suspension only to find twelve million dollars stashed in a safe behind a false wall, the team had to act. While the win/loss record is exactly what the most optimistic projections called for, the method and roster talent were that of the middling, .500-ish teams that SOME assholes (me) pegged them to be all year.

With half the American League existing in 2018 primarily as a feeding ground for any team that can stomach the thought of spending even one (1) American Dollar, the Mariners’ new financial flexibility gave them a chance to strike, and strike earlier in the season than is typically feasible. They have now done so.

From an objective baseball fan standpoint, this trade kind of stinks. It stinks that the Rays are such an abysmal franchise that saving even a couple million bucks by selling off a useful outfielder and above average to good closer for nothing more than Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero, baseball equivalents of a scratch ticket and a megamillions ticket, respectively, is something they are willing to do. Baseball is at its best when as many teams as possible are trying to win as many games as possible, and it’s a shame in 2018 that is not even close to a reality.

For Mariner fans desperate to watch their team in the playoffs this year, many for the very first time of their fandom? Hell, y’all, it’s hard to imagine a sweeter deal than the one they just turned. Colomé is about as consistent as an above average but non-elite relief arm can get, with three consecutive seasons between 1-2 fWAR. He’s off to another solid start this year too, and with Juan Nicasio’s struggles immediately becomes this team’s setup man, and second best reliever.

Denard Span’s skills actually profile as a left-handed version of the player I hope Guillermo Heredia becomes/is becoming. A patient hitter with the capability to play quality corner defense, he’s almost certainly an upgrade to Ben Gamel, who will become this team’s fourth outfielder (probably his most likely role in the major leagues)

Overall, the Mariners had obvious needs at both outfield and relief, and they have addressed both, before June, with zero cost to the team’s few real prospects, for only minor financial cost. Their biggest need was and still is starting pitching, but that is a scarce commodity that frankly I doubt they will be able to find without some sort of major sacrifice in either prospects (ha) or finances (double ha).

While this move doesn’t suddenly vault the Mariners from fringe Wild Card contender into territory with the league’s elite, it expands options and margin for error. If the team falters through their brutal June and finds itself out of playoff position come mid-July, I see it as unlikely they cannot, at minimum, recoup their talent investment by trading both players to another team. There appears, and as soon as I say this something will go disastrously wrong because I am me and the Mariners are them, to be very little downside potential to this transaction. Tommy Romero could become a real prospect and mid-rotation fixture in Tampa or wherever MLB blessedly releases the Rays to eventually, and Andrew Moore could become a number five starter. Either reaching anything close to that is a longshot, however.

If you’re a person who is sick and tired of the Mariners ceaselessly churning through any low minors player who shows a lick of promise in exchange for an extra 0.5-1 win in the present, well, I hear ya. For whatever reason the Mariners have never shown a serious, longterm approach to building a great farm, the one obvious way baseball gives for teams to build a winner outside of running a top-5 payroll every year. It’s a bit like watching an ostrich run away from a predator. “Wow that bird can run”, you might think, “But why doesn’t the dumb thing just use its wings and fly? That would be so much easier.” Well, reader, you are correct. But the ostrich is never going to fly, and you need to come to peace with that, and with the Mariners having the very, very worst farm system in the game. These are the unchangeable, immutable laws of being.

It’s a great day to be a Mariner fan in 2018. A fun start to the year got a boost which should help the team need less luck to keep from collapsing, and the talent cost was minimal, and likely deferred many years down the road. At some point the bill will come due for the Mariners’ lack of talent development, but it was never going to be a concern to this year’s team, or their general manager, who conspicuously doesn’t have a job after this year. This is a win now move, and the timing, price, and fit were damn near perfect. Good job Jerry.

Go M’s.

The Mariners need a sweep

The Mariners lost yesterday, 4-3. It was a disappointing loss in a few ways. First, losses are always disappointing. Second, watching Felix continue to fight Father Time and his historical first inning struggles is not exactly my idea of a great time. Third, and I don’t have the stats in front of me to back up this claim, but losing to a team on their bullpen day probably isn’t the expected result.

But there’s one more reason to be disappointed, and that’s the lack of a series sweep. Despite the myriad of injuries, lack of pitching depth, and the loss of their best position player for 80 games, the Mariners at this point are, from all indications, still focused on making the playoffs this year. And they’re running up against a hidden deadline.

Since the introduction of the second wildcard in 2012, 60 teams have made the playoffs (for the purposes of this article, we are considering the second wild card a playoff spot, despite it being closer to the March Madness First Four than what I’d consider a real playoff spot, but that’s another article for another day). Of those 60 teams, 44 of them, or 73%, had completed a three or four game sweep by the end of April. Another 12 had done so by the end of May (which puts us at 93%), leaving only four teams. Let’s examine those four.

2016 Blue Jays – First 3-game sweep completed: June 1. OK, technically not May, but close enough.

2012 Giants – First 3-game sweep completed: June 4. Also pretty damn close to May, plus this could easily be a side effect of those strange odd year/even year spells and incantations they were performing during the early part of this decade.

2012 Athletics – First 3-game sweep completed: June 14. This version of the A’s caught fire in the second half, playing .671 baseball in their last 76 games. This is your outlier.

2014 Pirates – First 3-game sweep completed: July 6. Do you remember this team? Cause I don’t. Plus they got blasted in the play-in game getting 4-hit by Madison Bumgarner and losing 8-0. Yikes. I don’t think this is the team we want the M’s to emulate.

I’m not the first person to point out that June has the potential to be a brutal month for the M’s (let’s not talk about August yet, either). After feasting on the soft underbelly of the AL Central, June sees the M’s get seven games against a frisky Rays team, and ten games against the Yankees and Red Sox, the teams with the two best records in baseball. Not to mention two games in Houston, and three against the team that looks to be the M’s main competition for the second Wild Card, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Orange County of the great state of California, USA. If the M’s are going to sweep a team, they need to do it now, at home against a Twins team missing a few key pieces of their own (Mauer, Castro, Polanco, and Santana).

Most preseason predictions had the Mariners missing the playoffs. Despite a strong first two months, those projections still have the team on the outside looking in. If they want to finish the Cinderella story they’ve begun writing these first two months, they’ll need to start the same way Cinderella did.

Get to sweeping, M’s.

James Paxton threw a no-hitter, and is still nicer than you

On the Mariners newest ace pitcher

1. This is a story of tears. Not mine, certainly. I was raised with the tired and foolish notion that tears show weakness. My emotions can get plenty stirred, but years of that foolish notion have dug a pretty deep pit for me to keep them, so it takes quite a bit of turbulence to get them so agitated and bubbly that they actually come out. When James Paxton threw the sixth no-hitter in Mariners history last night, I silently put my arms over my head. My wife patted me on the shoulder, and said congratulations. Then we went back to our game.

It’s not about your tears, either, and I don’t say that as a rebuke. There are approximately fifty million things about our world today that could bring a person to tears, and almost all of them also require us to avoid that actual release of emotion. They require us to protect ourselves. Baseball’s beautiful, simple stories provide a wonderful exception to that, and if you found yourself with wetness trickling down your face while watching Paxton and his teammates jump up and down on the mound well congratulations you’ve found a way to use sports in a potentially healthy manner. I’m envious, really.

But still, the tears in focus here, the ones that purchased last night’s history, are those of a kid in his backyard in British Columbia. He’s a pudgy guy, one of those kids on the playground who becomes “it” in tag and can never catch a classmate, growing increasingly red, sweaty, and embarrassed as they remain forever just out of reach until he either quits, or the bell frees him.

He’s in the backyard, and he’s running, and he’s tired.. He wants to play sports, and he’s committed to get in better shape. His mother, watching all this play out in front of her, goes out to tell him “James, honey, you can come inside. That’s enough.” But he stays, and he runs, and he hates it, and he’s crying. When I think about that kid, and his tears, and flash back to last night, and this:

Pax No no

Well let’s say a better man would at this point add his tears to the party. I won’t, but I get mighty close.

2. I’m the jackass who, years back, in an effort to make up a nickname equal parts catchy and biting, coined the “Dadgut” term for James. Over time I’ve realized how insecure James may have been about his non-typical for an a professional athlete physique, and the very real harm in the idea of body shaming. James may never have heard that nickname, and he almost definitely won’t read this but still, James, I’m sorry for that. That was wrong of me.

3. It’s hard to define when exactly the listening/viewing experience of a no-hitter goes from the casual, background noise of another evening at home to “holy shit everyone shut up no I will not turn it down go play in your room”, but in this case it was exactly when Kyle Seager threw out Kevin Pillar.

The impressive thing isn’t the stop. It’s not that the ball was hissing and spinning and hopping like a demon on that hateful turf, actually getting past Seager before he snatched it out of nowhere like Rose’s sister the bomber pilot grabbing the detonator at the beginning of The Last Jedi. It’s not even really the throw either, which he accomplished without pausing to even look at first base, trusting that a decade of fielding hundreds of groundballs every day had built in the necessary motor memory to make actually seeing his target an unnecessary indulgence. No, for me, the most amazing thing about that play is what happens between the stop and the throw.

Do me a favor here, and go lay on your stomach, and stretch one arm above your head. Are you doing it? I don’t know how if you’re reading this still but if so thank you. Now, I want you from that position to see how long it takes you to stand up and be ready to do something else.

Did you do it? Wow you’re very compliant I’ll ask for your social security number next time. Anyway, the point here is neither Seager’s stop nor his throw matter at all if he doesn’t exert some incredible, kung-fu Matrix-level nonsense getting from one to the other in the time it takes to snap your fingers. In Seattle we’re spoiled by third base greatness but given the context game situation and speed of runner that is just about as fine a play as you’ll see a third baseman make.

Seager said afterward if the ball had gotten past him he wouldn’t have been able to sleep, because Kyle Seager’s mechanism for greatness is not a press towards success, but an eternal, endless-runner style flee from failure. We are sympatico in that way. I love Kyle Seager.

4. As an American in 2018 the idea of national pride is a thing I view with increased cynicism. We are a nation in many ways at war with ourselves over who are, and who we want to be. As such the concept of being the first Canadian to throw a no-hitter on Canadian soil in the major leagues is an achievement difficult for me to fully grasp. The sight postgame of Paxton looking into the crowd, pointing at his maple leaf tattoo, was something I would and do scoff at when I see Americans do similar things. Perhaps patriotism is something best experienced from the perspective of an outside observer, because this, this felt pretty damn cool to see. The crowd loved it, James loved it, I loved it.

5. As he continues to write what is increasingly becoming a story very worth telling, the tale of James Paxton is going to come back to the first half of 2016, and a start in San Diego when he got hit to hell. 3 2/3 IP, 10 H, 8 R is not the kind of line you point to and say “that’s the birth of a star,” but it was. Paxton struck out seven, and walked one. His delivery, once a confused mishmash of half ideas and awkward pauses and springs, was smooth and unencumbered. His arm slot was slightly lower. His command was improved, and oh by the way, the threw one hundred miles an hour now.

Since that time, the only thing that has stopped James Paxton from being one of the ten best starting pitchers alive has been health. He has taken everything, the bad nicknames from bad bloggers, the speculation that he profiled as a reliever, the arduous journey from the University of Kentucky to the big leagues, losing out on a rotation spot at the beginning of 2016, and he has done what aces do. He has shoved. He has shoved, and so far this year the Mariners have shoved right along with him. He stands now as one of the American League’s best pitchers, fully formed, a looming terror for any opponent every fifth day. He has thrown a no-hitter. He has bought it all with tears, seen and unseen, and no one can touch him now.

Go M’s. Go James.

 

Breakfast & Biz 4/12/18 – Something to Break

LIMP BIZKIT (1999)

I’m in a bit of a rush this morning, so this already intentionally spartan series will be extra light today. My apologies, but also, I do not apologize.

Perhaps in the end all the off days, as frustrating as they’ve felt, have been a blessing for this team. They have allowed for as few games as possible missed by Ben Gamel, Nelson Cruz, and Mike Zunino. With April’s final off day happening today, the reinforcements are arriving precisely when the Mariners need them most.

It’s a credit to the team they survived the opening stretch without calamity. A poor start doesn’t doom a season, but can make it very difficult for all but the most talented teams to overcome. You’ll recall that last year’s team, after a 2-8 start, went 76-76 the rest of the way. Flip that start around, and the Mariners win 84 games.

It’s still incredibly early, but something is about to break, and we’re going to learn a lot about the 2018 Mariners between now and May 1. They are about to play seventeen straight games, and the next ten against the AL West. They will use a fifth starter for the first time this year. Their bullpen depth will be tested in a way it has not up til now. There will be days when Edwin Diaz will throw two straight, or three of four days, and Scott Servais’ ability to weigh the short and long term will be heavily tested.

Breaks, of course can be good or bad. What the Mariners need, what they have desperately needed for so, so, so long, is to have a good player or two turn into one of the best players at his position. I just mentioned Edwin Diaz, and it’s not an accident. The Mariners may very well be on the verge of having one of the best relief pitchers alive.

Diaz’s stuff, of course, has always been plus plus. But youth and/or consistent command has largely held him back from true greatness. Major league hitters are very, very good and very, very smart. If they don’t think you can throw strikes, they will wait you out. Now, at least thus far, Diaz’s command has been present almost the entire year. The results are comical. He has a 66.7 K%. He has not walked a man, or allowed a run. Only on Opening Day did he seem threatened by the demons of youth, hitting two batters and balking the tying run into scoring position. Otherwise, he has been God’s Righteous Justice made manifest, and all have sinned.

The Mariners are 6-4. They have staved off catastrophe, and are about to get far more healthy. To surprise, they need breaks. They may just be on the verge of getting a big one at the back end of their bullpen. But seventeen straight days of games will test them, and teach us a lot. The season is about to kick off in earnest, and we’re going to learn a whole lot. Something’s about to break.

Go M’s.

The AL West WARs

We did a spreadsheet for you. It’s our second one today. We are tired.

With this afternoon’s good news that the Mariners are approaching something resembling full strength, it feels like an opportunity to look forward a bit. While last night’s 10-0 loss in Kansas City was a bit much, overall the Mariners have cobbled a 4-4 start through injury and snowstorm. The blistering start you always hope for hasn’t materialized, but neither has the catastrophic one you fear.

I had a bit of free time at work (do not tell work. I work very hard and make many widgets for Big Widget. Widget is all. Widget is life) so I started playing around with Excel and Fangraphs’ Depth Charts projections a bit.

My focus was on the positional side. There’s no reason re-hashing my issues with the direction the Mariners have gone with their starting pitching. Through eight games it has been disastrous. If it doesn’t get better, it won’t matter how well the position players play. I don’t think this is a controversial stance. If you do, this post and my thoughts on baseball are probably not for you, and that is ok for us both.

No, the intrigue for the Mariners in 2018 is what is possible on the positional side. I went through and compared their remaining Depth Charts projections at each position with those of the other AL West teams. What I found was, ah…..

Angels Astros Athletics Mariners Rangers Mariner Ranking
C 1.6 2.9 2.9 2.7 1.9 3rd
1B 0.4 1.5 2.3 0.2 2.2 5th
2B 2.7 4.7 1.9 3 1.6 2nd
3B 3.3 3.4 3.7 3.5 3.5 2nd
SS 3.7 6.1 2.2 1.9 2.5 5th
LF 2.5 1.3 1.4 0.4 1.6 5th
CF 7.8 3.2 1.2 2 0.9 3rd
RF 2.2 3.1 1.2 2.4 1.7 1st
DH 0.9 0.7 1.7 2.5 1.2 1st
Total 25.3 26.7 18.5 18.6 17.1 3rd

There’s actually some really cool and fun bright spots here. Mitch Haniger is, as of right now, projected to be the best right fielder in the division! An under-30, cost-controlled star in the making, just like I’ve always predicted him to be, that’s Mitch. Also Nelson Cruz is currently the best designated hitter alive. It will forever be a tragedy what happened to his home planet, but we are blessed he made it out before the cataclysm struck and that his spaceship found Earth.

Overall though, as a great man once said, “YIKES!” The Mariners are projected not only to have the worst position in the entire division at first base, their left field is second. Perhaps most surprising is that, at least by this methodology, the Mariners shortstop position ranks last in the division as well.

A lot of the failures here can be attributed to a lack of depth. This system of projection is spreading the production of players like Luis Valbuena in LA, and Marwin Gonzalez in Houston, liberally over various positions, allowing for a healthy buffing over whatever, say, Zack Cozart and/or Alex Bregman may produce.

Still, the numbers aren’t great. The Mariners look like the AL West’s third place team this year. That’s not exactly a revelation. Our preseason predictions largely had them there. More interesting, and certainly much more depressing, is that, at least by this one projection system which you are free to disagree with for various reasons, the Mariners are middle class leaning far closer to poverty than they are to wealth. The gap between the Mariners and the Rangers is a win and a half. Seattle and Houston? Nearly seven.

None of this is a surprise, and if you’ve read or followed Dome and Bedlam for any length of time you know we aren’t particularly optimistic about the team this year. This is just one exercise. The truth is what it has always been. The Mariners need their positional starters to collectively hit something like their 80-90th percentile projections for health and productivity. They absolutely cannot afford to lose any starter for longer than a few weeks, and they desperately, desperately need Ben Gamel to be the 1st half of 2017 batting champion contender rather than 2nd half of 2017 present day Dustin Ackley impersonator.

I may use Depth Charts later this week to do this exercise with pitching but, really, my guess is you’d rather I not. This team is living and dying with what it does when its best players have the bat in their hands. So go forth and rake, boys. It’s the only way.

 

The Mariners are not taking advantage of BABIP splits

The Mariners have had some good luck! It, uh, hasn’t helped much

The beauty of baseball is that the season is so long it is hard to take anything seriously for the first month or two.

In football, with its limited season, you can generally start to draw some meaningful and educated conclusions by Week 3. Basketball, with its 82 game schedule, usually is ready to go after the first month. In soccer, which apparently never ends, you just constantly made judgements year round. But baseball is its own beast. We get so excited for it to start, and then we have to wait a quite a bit of time to deliver any informative takeaways.

Luckily, no one said we only have to deliver informative takeaways. The small sample size is beautiful because is it a useless and fun exercise into a vast treasure trove of data, which at the moment, ultimately means absolutely nothing.

Which is why the headline up there also means nothing. In a couple of months, maybe it will mean something, but eight games does not make a trend in baseball. In other sports, perhaps. In baseball, not even a something worth writing about.

Right now (or prior to yesterday’s game), the Mariners had a rather interesting statistical split of sorts. The Seattle Mariners are No. 1 in BABIP, at 0.333. The Mariners pitchers are holding their opponents (aka the Cleveland Indians, the San Francisco Giants, and the Minnesota Twins) to a 0.249 BABIP, the fourth-best mark in the league. That vast spread equates to phenomenally uninspiring run differential of negative one, good for No. 15 in the majors.


team runs for BABIP runs against BABIP against run differential
Braves 62 0.325 33 0.276 29
Astros 47 0.317 25 0.298 22
Pirates 58 0.314 39 0.285 19
Diamondbacks 45 0.311 27 0.259 18
Mets 39 0.321 22 0.260 17
Red Sox 41 0.285 26 0.272 15
Angels 55 0.286 41 0.236 14
Yankees 54 0.281 44 0.300 10
Cubs 35 0.283 26 0.265 9
Blue Jays 49 0.276 42 0.283 7
Twins 31 0.282 26 0.230 5
Tigers 37 0.282 32 0.276 5
Phillies 42 0.302 40 0.296 2
Cardinals 35 0.284 35 0.315 0
Mariners 32 0.333 33 0.249 -1
Dodgers 25 0.262 27 0.292 -2
Giants 24 0.289 28 0.296 -4
Indians 26 0.181 32 0.262 -6
Nationals 44 0.270 50 0.317 -6
Rockies 37 0.283 47 0.271 -10
White Sox 37 0.291 47 0.273 -10
Athletics 44 0.307 57 0.292 -13
Padres 28 0.278 42 0.284 -14
Royals 15 0.238 30 0.236 -15
Brewers 33 0.294 48 0.305 -15
Rangers 35 0.287 51 0.327 -16
Orioles 36 0.270 54 0.303 -18
Rays 27 0.267 49 0.286 -22
Reds 25 0.293 49 0.290 -24
Marlins 28 0.286 58 0.314 -30

(for a better view and sorting click here for the Google doc)

Now what can we draw from this? Literally nothing! It has been only seven games!

But, if we were to be bored in the beginning of the season and to slightly extrapolate on this, it is a bit odd that the Mariners have the luckiest bats, some of the luckiest pitchers, and haven’t been able to translate this to much of anything.

Other teams with such wildly positive differences between BABIPs, have run differentials exactly how you would expect. Just take a quick look at the table above, paying close attention Mets, Diamondbacks, Braves, and Pirates. Those teams, like the Mariners, have pretty severe differences between BABIPs, yet their run differentials are much higher, in the case of the Braves, 30 runs higher than Seattle.

In the grand scheme of things that seem very “Mariners” to do. Being lucky at hitting, lucky at hitting, and doing very little about it seems right in line with the local legend of this team’s constant futility. If anything, if you want to take away one iota of meaningless information from this dumb exercise, the one thing the Mariners appear to be doing right: the negative one run differential currently equates to a roughly .500 record. That appears to be right in line with how baseball should operate.