After Felix Hernandez’s opening day gem, the Seattle Mariners went on to lose three straight games.
Reading articles and posts of fans who respond to them, as well as listening fans who call in or test to sports radio shows, I get the sense that this city is having a panic attack.
I suppose some of that can be attributed to all the hype that has been heaped upon the Mariners with many folks predicting they will go to the World Series. Even I made the bold prediction they will win 93 games. I still stand by the prediction and I am not going to change it after only seeing them play five games.
This is baseball. This game has highs and lows that are going to occur during the course of a 162 game season. Granted, it would have been nice to have the Detroit Tigers or Kansas City Royals 5-0 start. But last time I checked, no major league baseball team has gone undefeated.
This Seattle Mariner team is going to be in the thick of it. And let’s all remember they need to do well enough to make the playoffs, where every team, regardless of what they did during the regular season, start the playoffs with an 0-0 record.
Mariners are stacked with a good, solid pitching rotation, anchored by Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez and two veteran pitchers in J.A. Happ and Hisashi Iwakuma. Also in the mix are two young rising starts in Taijuan Walker and James Paxton.
The bullpen, one of the best in baseball last year, is back with essentially the same staff of Danny Farquhar, Charlie Furbush, Yoervis Medina and closer Fernando Rodney. New additions Carson Smith and Tyler Olsen will only make them stronger.
The line-up is stronger despite what folks think of the first five games. Gone is Michael Saunders, Justin Smoak, Nick Franklin and Kendrys Morales all who were supposed to bring the pop the Mariners have been so desperately seeking.
Mariner front office made the commitment last year to Robinson Cano and that signing told Mariner fans they wanted to build a winner. GM Jack Zduriencik, who had been under fire, had to breathe a lot easier when the team won 87 games last year.
This year, they deepened their commitment and started to build around Cano. The signed budding superstar third baseman Kyle Seager to a long-term contract and brought it last year’s home run leader Nelson Cruz from the Baltimore Oriels.
The rest of the team is pretty solid with Dustin Ackley and Logan Morrison. They are still a little weak in right field with the platoon of Justin Ruggiano and Seth Smith. And I am still not convinced that Austin Jackson is the true lead-off hitter they need. He’s more of a number two guy but as of right now, Mariners don’t have a solid lead-off guy they can depend on so Jackson is it.
The point of all this? This town cannot expect the same type of energy each and every game as they do for Seahawk games. If they do, then the Mariners will be done before June.
What we can do is keep supporting them and understand that it’s a long season and anything can happen. And I suspect there is some magic in this team that will surprise all of us.
Keep the faith and relax…The Mariners are going to be just fine.