To say the 2017 Mariners have started out flat is putting it nicely.
With all of the Seattle Mariners offseason moves (I blacked out after the Dyson acquisition from pure excitement) for them to come out and start off this 2017 campaign the way they have has people just a little worried. Did I say worried? I meant absolutely PANICKED. If you hop on Twitter and pop “Mariners” into the search bar, panicked would almost be an understatement for what you see. The fans are absolutely LOSING IT. After a 1-4 start it is only expected that Twitter blows up with negativity towards this club. Don’t you Seattle fans worry though, I have some answers. (I hope?)
The team that showed up.
The weakest part of this 2017 club that was talked about the most this offseason was none other than the starting pitching staff. After these first five games, the rotation seems to be the least of this clubs worries. Felix Hernandez started the opener, giving up 2 ER through 5 IP. He had to exit the game due to groin tightness after a play covering first base. He was throwing well, two mistakes left over the plate lead to him giving up two solo homeruns. It was a breathe of fresh air to see Felix command the strike zone and have a big ZERO in the walk column. As long as that groin injury doesn’t linger, I think Felix will have a great year. Oh, and if you haven’t noticed. He is in the best shape of his life. I am thinking maybe an SI swimsuit cover coming up for him during the summer. If it isn’t in the works, somebody get ahold of his agent for me.
Hisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton followed in the rotation and both earned themselves quality starts. Iwakuma had some bad luck and was supported with absolutely no run support and ended up with the loss in game two of the season. Paxton went a strong 6 innings, only allowing 2 hits with 1 BB and 5 K’s. He was absolutely lights out and had the lead 2-0 when he exited the game. The bullpen couldn’t hold and he got stuck with a no decision.
Ariel Miranda and Yovani Gallardo also threw well in their two respective starts. Miranda threw a solid 5 IP while giving up 2 ER with 3 walks and 4 K’s. He threw well but just left a couple mistakes over the plate that got hit. If he can get his command under control I am expecting good things to come from him. Gallardo threw the fifth game of the season and went a strong 5 IP. He wiggled out of trouble a couple times only giving up 3 ER on 8 hits while striking out 4. The issue with him as well was command of his fastball. He couldn’t locate the firm stuff so it made it a little easier on the Angels hitters to sit on offspeed.
The surprising part about all this, is that this WAS supposed to be the weak spot of the club. Though its a small sample size, the rotation these first 5 games has given this club a chance to win every game.
The “Big 3” just haven’t showed up.
While looking at the Mariners opening day roster and lineup, the names that really stand out are the guys who hit 3-4-5 in the order. Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager are the names you will see.
People around Seattle have dubbed them the “Big 3” and for good reason.
In 2016 Cano hit a scorching .298 with 39 HRs (career high) and 103 RBIs. He was followed in the lineup by Cruz who hit .287 with – wait for it – 43 HRs and 105 RBIs. No that isn’t a typo, he hit 43 home runs while having his home park be Safeco Field. IMPRESSIVE.
And to round out the “Big 3” was Kyle Seager, who had the best offensive year of his young career. He hit .278 with 30 HRs while knocking in 99 RBIs. All were career highs for Kyle.
It is safe to say that Seattle fans expected these guys to come into 2017 and produce. Well, over the first 5 games they are a combined 8-55 with 17 strikeouts while hitting for an absolutely abysmal .145 average. Anyone that knows baseball at all knows that this trend will not continue but for a city that hasn’t seen postseason baseball since 2001, this start by these guys is not what they wanted.
As for this Mariners club starting 1-4, it is far from the end of the season. Slow starts happen around the league. Just look at the 98′ Yankees for example. They started out 0-3 and then went on to do some pretty amazing things. Things like – you know – become the 98′ Yankees. I included a hyperlink so you guys can check out the 98′ Yanks if your baseball history is escaping you.
So if you’re sitting at work in Seattle, looking out your office window at all the amazing rain that is coming down. I am sure your Twitter fingers are ready to destroy the Mariners tonight if they don’t have a great game. Just remember that the “Big 3” are proven and extremely professional hitters. Once they find their groove and this lineup starts clicking, the wins will start rolling in.
If I could preach one word to Seattle Mariners fans right now it would be: PATIENCE.