The Mariners, up until about a month ago, had no reason for anybody to be excited. This past month, though, there are reasons to be excited, and here are a few of them, that probably mean nothing, but could mean something.
1. The Mariners Record sits at 61-64 - The Mariners have won 48.8% of their games this year, and if they continue at that pace, they would post 79 wins. Since 2004, over the past 8 seasons, this would be their third highest win total, managing to get 85 wins in 2009 and 88 wins in 2007. Since 2004, not including this year, they had a winning percentage of 0.441. The Mariners have a better record this year than notable teams such as the Miami Marlins (2008 Mariners, much?), The Blue Jays, The Phillies, The Brewers and the Red Sox. The Phillies won 102 games last year, the Blue Jays broke even and Boston won 90. We have a better record than Boston! I bet their faces are so red.
2. Since May 29, the Mariners are 40-34 - That's a 0.541 Winning Percentage over 74 games -- nearly half of a season. If you look back a bit further, they are even 45-40 since May 18, starting back with a sweep in Colorado. That's over half of a season of 0.529 ball, which would average out to about 86 wins over a season. If the Mariners could somehow hypnotize people into believing that the season started on May 29th, and that the trip to Japan never took place, they wouldn't be too far behind the rest of their division. Since May 29th, the division looks like this.
Oakland 45-29 (.608 WP)
Texas 41-33 (0.554 WP)
Seattle 40-34 (0.541 WP)
Anaheim 39-35 (0.527 WP)
All teams have played 74 games since May 29. All teams have won more than half of their games. Seattle has won one less game than Texas, one more game than Anaheim and Oakland has been Oakland. Either way, that's ridiculous!
3. The Ichiro Effect - I love Ichiro, but this is just too good to not bring up. In games that the Mariners played with Ichiro Suzuki, they had a record of 41-54, meaning that they have won twice as many as they have lost to a tune of 20-10 when playing without Ichiro. The 21 run game against Texas was when Ichiro wasn't in the lineup. If you want to be even more arbitrary, In games that the Mariners have played without Ichiro on either team, taking out the four losses and two wins against the Yankees, they have a record of 18-6! Three times as many wins as losses! The Ichiro effect is real, folks.
4. John Jaso and Miguel Olivo are complete opposites - In games that John Jaso started in, the Mariners have a record of 32-29. In Miguel Olivo starts, they have a record of 29-32. They have an opposite record, one bats left while the other bats right, one makes contact while the other strikes out, one gets on base while the other doesn't, and one is good and the other isn't. I wonder how many of Jaso's losses came with Olivo playing.
5. Chone Figgins is still a Mariner - I forget he's on the team all of the time. Just yesterday I was wondering if Wedge would pinch run for Seager after his double, but couldn't think of anybody to play third base until I realized after about thirty seconds that, hey, Figgins can sort of play third and he can even run! Wedge didn't pinch run, possibly forgetting that Figgins existed, either. The Mariners' record in his starts is a hideous 14-27. He has somehow played in 60 of the teams games. Since May 29, when the Mariners have been winning, he has only started in 13 games and made 59 plate appearances.
6. Super Saturdays, - The Mariners have the best record in the American League on Saturdays, posting a 15-5 record. On Fridays, however, they are only 6-14.
If next year, Seattle doesn't play Ichiro, Figgins and Olivo at all next year, plays Jaso more often, and can convince MLB to start the season on May 29 and only play on Saturdays, the Mariners will clearly win every single game. It's right there. In all seriousness, the Mariners are giving us plenty of reasons to be optimistic, and if they handle the off season correctly, contention doesn't seem too impossible for next year with the results we are getting from what is not on the field. Oh, and get everyone on that weird rubber band thing that Michael Saunders did last off season.