Friday, June 3, 2011

Now we know it's for real

I caught most of last night's and tonight's spanking of the Devil Rays.  It's fun to watch great pitching and good defense, but night after night it's hard to watch the Mariners struggle to scratch out a run or two.  It's frustrating to watch any of the M's starters turn in a great performance, but lose because the offense couldn't score three runs to win 3-2.
Miguel Olivo homered into a stiff wind to contribute to the M's 7-0 win over the Rays
Beyond that though is the frustration I feel when I look at the team stats.  According to ESPN, the Mariners are in the top five in MLB for all the four major team pitching stats.  They're in the bottom five for the four major offensive stats.  It's difficult to be optimistic about the team's chances in a pennant race when the team can pitch but can't score.  Even tonight's seven run outburst, aided by three homers, tallied only four hits.

 However, one statistic I was thrilled to see was in run differential.  For the first time in years, the Mariners runs scored actually exceed the runs allowed.  Even in 2009, when the M's were 85-77, largely because of good pitching and defense, they were a -52 in run differential.  Admittedly we're only 57 games into the season but tomorrow the M's are a +3 in run differential.  That's largely because they play pretty close games, and recently have been winning lots of them.  The last two nights detonation of Tampa Bay pitching has given them a +13 run differential in this series and allowed the M's to move into positive territory for the first time in, well, years. The last time a Mariner team finished the season in positive territory was in 2003, when the Mariners finished out of the money with 93 wins.

 Do I think this will continue?  My fingers are crossed, but I doubt it.  The pitching will remain solid, but I can't imagine them keeping up this home run eruption, and there aren't enough guys who can hit in this lineup.  I'm still looking forward to Ackley and maybe Carp coming up to the big club.  Count me among those who is opposed to a major trade this year--unless they're able to stay close and make a good deal on a one year player.  This team needs to hang on to as many chips as possible, and keep getting younger.

No comments: