BY SPNW Staff 02:04PM 07/17/2013

Mariners: What Do You Expect In The 2nd Half?

The Mariners (43-52) are nearing the start of the second half (Friday at Houston). What are your expectations as the season nears the dog days? Vote in our poll here.

Michael Morse, out with an injury since June 20, has 11 home runs and figures to be a big part of the Mariners’ second half. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

The Mariners reached the All-Star break riding the biggest uptick of the season, sweeping the Los Angeles Angels in a rousing three-game series at Safeco Field and demonstrating during a seven-game home stand (also vs. Boston) that, when all meshes, the club can be competitive and entertaining.

Question now is, what’s next? Given developments (or lack of) for much of the first half, a 95-game stretch that mostly only added to decades of ennui, a Mariner fan might see reason for optimism based on the recent trend. Certainly, though, oddsmakers do not.

According to Bovada (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV) only three teams — Miami, Houston and Milwaukee, are less likely to win the World Series than the Mariners, listed at 500-1. Only the Astros (1000-1) and White Sox (500-1) are less likely to win the AL pennant than Seattle, 250-1.

But here’s the real nose-rubber: Although the Mariners (43-52) are only two games behind the Angels in the AL West and lead the season series 7-6, www.Bovada.lv makes Seattle a 150-1 shot to win the division, but lists the Angels at 10-1.

The Mariners did some good things — compared to previous forgettable years — in the first half. They posted a .500 record at Safeco Field, held a lead in 22 of 52 losses and recorded 14 comeback wins. They also produced improvement (43-52) over last year through 95 games (40-55).

The Mariners also finished the first half with 115 home runs, tied for second most in the majors, and reached the break having hit home runs in a franchise-record 22 games dating to June 20. That streak is the longest in the majors since the Atlanta Braves hit homers in 23 straight in 2006.

More impressive, since Nick Franklin, Brad Miller and Mike Zunino became lineup regulars, the Mariners are the No. 1 team in the majors in home runs (37), slugging percentage (.481), OPS (.822) and runs per game (5.50).

Had the pre-Franklin/Miller/Zunino Mariners not suffered 14 defeats in their opponents’ last at-bat, dropped six walk-off games (including three in a four-game series in Cleveland), endured an eight-game losing streak (May 17-25), lost five times to the lousy Astros, or hit as badly with runners in scoring position, they would not be 13 games out with seemingly little to play for other than third place in the division.

RISP was the killer number. The Mariners ruined chance after scoring chance by batting .225 in the clutch, tied with the Astros for last in the American League (in two stretches, they went 0-for-28 and 2-for-32).

With a .453 winning percentage, the Mariners are on pace for 73-74 wins. Last year they won 75 (.463). To win 81 and reach .500, the Mariners will have to win 38 of their remaining 67, or .567 percent. The Mariners have not had a .567 or better second half since 2001 (52-22, .707). Fact is, they haven’t come close.

That brings us to expectations, namely yours, for the second half. Will the Mariners build on their late, first-half flourish and finish close to .500, or will they find a way to flounder as they traditionally do? Will you be satisfied if the Mariners play .500 ball or close to it, or do you subscribe to the notion that playing .500 is nothing to celebrate?

Since 90 wins is clearly out of the question, will the Mariners win between 80-89 or between 70-79? Does it even matter? Please take a moment to take our poll and leave a comment.


YourThoughts

  • Joe Fan

    When does Seahawks training camp start!?

    • Steve Rudman

      Nice.

  • jafabian

    I’m expecting 70+ wins. I do think Ackley will turn things around but probably not until late August or even September. The club will call up Hultzen and Walker in September and trade Morales before the trade deadline.

  • Effzee

    … “the club can be competitive and entertaining” … which is all that
    is being asked of them by the upper management. when was the last time
    you heard anyone in the front office say their goal is winning a world
    series? never. sometimes they talk about making the playoffs being the
    goal. but really, they care about attendance figures and “being
    competitive” and that’s all. i expect at least one forehead-slap-inducing trade, and a lot of meaningless wins against shoddy pitching on other bad teams that will get them close to 80 wins and give the uppers an excuse to preach more delusional progress nonsense in order to justify their continued existence to their own minds.

  • http://www.facebook.com/guilty.bystander Guilty Bystander

    Jack, you gotta let me know:
    Will I stay or will I go?
    If you say you’ve got a reason,
    I’ll stay ’til the end of season.
    So you gotta let me know:
    Are you gonna let me go?

    I always tease, tease, tease…
    Those sliders bring me to my knees.
    One day I’m fine, next day disaster.
    So if you want me off your roster,
    Well, come on, Jack, let me know:
    Will I stay or will I go?

    Will I stay or will I go now?
    I’m hitting just .190 anyhow.
    If I go you’ll have no troubles,
    If I stay you’ll drink more doubles.
    Next year I’ll be in Tokyo,
    So come on and let me know!

    This indecision’s bugging me;
    If you don’t want me, set me free.
    Where exactly can I go?
    To Tacoma? Maybe no.
    Come on, Jack, and let me know:
    Will I still be in The Show?
    (with apologies to The Clash)