By Aaron Levine
We start by putting our spotlight on the Mariners – who deserve praise, because it’s now the month of June – and we haven’t written off their season.
In a results-oriented business – and for a team we’ve been highly critical of in the past – it’s fair to say that, so far, they’ve taken a step in the right direction.
Numbers don’t lie – and at 28-and-28, it’s just the second time in the last decade that the Mariners complete June 1st with a non-losing record. Their 28 wins also tie for the most by June 2nd in the last ten years.
Let me be clear: This isn’t us embracing mediocrity. Seattle deserves better than that.
But it IS a recognition of an average team that just might be turning a corner – and one that is still just a game and a half out of the Wild Card chase.
Remember: The Mariners have won 28 games without two projected starting pitchers for most, if not all of the year. There’s optimism that Taijuan Walker and James Paxton can return and give the M’s even more fire power in their starting rotation. And while Robinson Cano’s 327 batting average is impressive, he hasn’t come close to the power numbers we expected with just two home runs. Add that extra pop, and the offense becomes even more dangerous than now.
Safe to say: Roenis Elias and Chris Young have been the unexpected saviors so far.
And for now – for the first time in a few years – we can give GM Jack Zduriencik the benefit of the doubt that the M’s might be turning a corner.
The pressure is still on: It was just three years ago that a 17-game losing streak derailed any playoff bid.
This time, it’s a matter of them proving him right.
Listen, this hasn’t been an easy week for any of us. I thought of coming on tonight and lamenting Steve Ballmer’s purchase of the Clippers, effectively ending any near-term possibility of the NBA’s return to Seattle. I considered ripping the NBA one more time for essentially being responsible for the lack of both professional basketball AND pro hockey in Seattle. After all, the NHL is clearly interested, but the absence of an NBA franchise as a primary tenant in a new arena has thwarted those plans.
But for the sake of optimism and hope, let’s focus on the brighter side of things.
The Seahawks Super Bowl and their upcoming defense of that title.
The Sounders impressive run to the top of Major League Soccer this season.
And for now, the Mariners digging, scraping, and scratching their way out of that enormous hole of mediocrity.
It’s bound to happen – so why not now?