Of late, everyone has been talking about how terrible the Mariners are.

“Chone Figgins is a bust.”

“Jose Lopez can’t play defense.”

“Ken Griffey Jr. should retire.”

These are some of the printable examples of what fans have said on the Internet over the past couple of months.

After winning 85 games last season, they got rid of their weakest starting pitcher in Carlos Silva; acquired an outfielder they hoped would provide them with offense in Milton Bradley; and acquired one of the best lead-off men in the game, and one of the top free agents, in Chone Figgins.

Yet, things are worse than they were before.

47 games into the season Seattle is 19-28, six-and-a-half games behind the AL West-leading Texas Rangers.

No one has anything good to say about the Mariners—at all.

There was so much hype about the Mariners’ offseason moves: from stealing Chone Figgins from a division rival, to acquiring former Cy Young award winner Cliff Lee, to signing several players they believed would jump-start their awful offense.

These were all great ideas, which is why several people jumped on the, “Mariners winning the AL West,” bandwagon.

Last season, the Mariners were dead last in the American League in runs scored, on-base percentage (OBP), and on-base slugging percentage (OPS).

They were second-to-last in hits, batting average, slugging percentage, and total bases.

Take out those categories, and which meaningful categories do you have left?

Stolen bases? Okay, Seattle was middle-of-the-pack (eighth out of 14 teams) in stolen bases.

Strikeouts? Seattle was eighth out 14 in that category, too. Home runs? 11th.

With 640 runs scored, and 692 runs allowed, the Pythagorean winning percentage theory estimated that the Mariners won only 75 games, 10 games less than they actually won.

I think it’s safe to say that the Mariners’ offense didn’t carry them to a 24-game improvement.

What really won the Mariners all those games was their phenomenal pitching staff.

Rick Adair, and John Wetteland have done a very good job coaching the Mariners staff, and they have one of the best pitchers in baseball with Felix Hernandez on their side.

However, it took more than just King Felix to lower the team’s ERA to 3.87; they were first in the league in that category.

Jarrod Washburn, for example (a career 4.13 ERA pitcher before 2009) was 8-6 in 20 starts, and had a career-low ERA and WHIP.

It doesn’t end there as Ryan Rowland-Smith, finished with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.183 WHIP.

Erik Bedard was even better, posting a 2.82 ERA, a 1.193 WHIP with 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

I also failed to mention, King Felix’s 19-5 record, 2.49 ERA, 217 strikeouts, and 1.135 WHIP (all career bests), which earned him enough votes for second place in the AL Cy Young voting.

If you thought their starting rotation was good, take a few seconds to reflect on their bullpen.

David Aardsma was the new closer, and really impressed with 38 saves in 42 opportunities. He really improved his game, and cut his ERA down by over three runs.

Mark Lowe was his set-up man, and did very well during the last four months of the season. Sure, he blew a few leads and had a rough beginning and end of the season, but he was almost unhittable during the entire summer with a .176 opponent batting average, and a 2.06 ERA.

Sean White had a very good season as well, and Shawn Kelley was good backup middle reliever during his rookie season.

Now that everyone remembers the key reasons why the Mariners were so good last year, one might wonder, “Why aren’t they doing just as good? Even though they still have an atrocious offense, they still have the pitching.”

The answer is simple.

How easy is it for Seattle’s pitching staff to repeat their incredible season? Not very, to say the least.

The Mariners are still doing well when it comes to pitching, but not AS well. 

They’re second in ERA so far this season (3.72), but they still need a catalyst outside of pitching to propel the Mariners forward.

On top of that, the Mariners have resembled an infirmary from the get-go.

Eric Bedard is on the 60-day DL, Cliff Lee injured himself in a Spring Training game, Josh Bard (Seattle’s most productive catcher) was recently placed on the DL for the second time this season, Adam Moore (another catcher) has a bruised left heel and a jammed left knee, and infielder Jack Wilson is dealing with a hamstring injury.

The advice I have for Mariners fans, or for anyone who follows the Mariners, is to stay positive. This is a long season and the Mariners are 19-28, six-and-a-half games behind the Texas Rangers in a division where anything can happen, in a league where anything can happen, and in a sport where anything can happen.

The reason I say this is because anyone could’ve said the same thing about the Mariners last year (without the hype in the beginning of the season,) when they were 21-26, and seven games out of first in their first 47 games.

All one can hope for is a more productive offense (like last year), quick healing for those on the DL, good pitching to continue, and more wins.

All I know is, that I don’t think the second-best hitter on any team should be a 36-year-old designated hitter.

No disrespect to Mike Sweeney, because he’s doing pretty well for himself, but the Mariners need to rely on someone else for their offense; someone younger, and more versatile.

Good pitching (all around) is the key to a successful season, and the Mariners proved that last year.

However, to become a successful team, everyone has to pitch in. It doesn’t look like the offense or defense has done much to help Seattle yet, aside from Ichiro.

Incredible pitching is what got Seattle above .500 last year, and there’s still plenty of time for these guys to get out of their slumps.


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