The team is 11-15, losers of four straight and in last place of the AL West. They also look terrible at the plate, our DH combo is unchanged and awful and Milton Bradley might be headed for some time off. The Mariners right now are more frustrating than that guy at work who keeps taking phone calls on speaker (get a hands-free mic, Steve! Here, I'll even buy one for you!) so how about a quick diversion?
Both Graham and I have covered BaseRuns before (links here and here) and I like using it as my sanity check on how well a team is performing on a wins-per-162 basis. It's a lot better than taking actual runs scored and allowed on faith since teams, especially over just one month, can get quite lucky on hitting with runners in scoring position and other areas that dramatically affect run totals.
I used a simple BaseRuns model to get some expected runs scored and allowed figures for our division to date (listed in the below table). I then plugged those run figures into pythag and projected the resulting winning percentage over 162 games to generate the following standings chart of how BaseRuns would expect 2010 to finish if teams continued playing at their current level of performance.
|Projected AL West Standings|
The entire AL West has been locked in a duel to out-mediocre each other so far and so the Mariners still look like a team that's right in the hunt to end up on top. Of the division that is. They also look like a team that's right in the hunt to end up on top of the "Who can be most mediocre?" contest, but that's bad, not hopeful.
Yes, they've blown a chance to build a meaningful early season lead, but so has Texas and Oakland. The Mariners have problems and they're fixable. For now, they've played some awful baseball at times but find themselves just 2.5 games back and both BaseRuns and regressed wOBA are saying the team's been unlucky.
Also, remember the Mariners were once 2-6 and then ended up 9-7. This team is going to be susceptible to streaks given how tight their games are likely to be. They play in a division clearly lacking a good team. It may seem like it with their recent spate of play, but this season isn't over yet. Not by a long shot.