So this is fun. The Mariners just spent three days completely dominating the Angels in Anaheim. James Paxton was fantastic. Mike Zunino was amazing. Corey Hart and Justin Smoak looked great. What's not to like right now?
Smoak looks really good at the plate right now, even if it's too early to declare that he's been cured. Maybe it was the net drill Cano taught him that helped. Maybe he really did just need some time to develop as a switch-hitter. Who knows what the real reason for this is but man, he's looked great from both sides of the plate so far.
Stefen Romero had his first two hits tonight. The first was a bloop single, the second a line drive RBI double. While his defense still leaves something to be desired, he could indeed be the right-handed bat the Mariners "needed." But look, the truth is this team has now dominated two left-handed starters two nights in a row despite not signing that big bat many suggested they couldn't succeed without.
Paxton spent the entire game fooling Angel hitters left and right. His cutter was perfect and has really developed into a great weapon for him in such a short amount of time. His curveball was looking pretty nice too and his fastball sat at 95-97 for much of the game and even hit 98 at one point. He left the game with nine strikeouts and zero runs over seven innings. Against a lineup that features players such as Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols, and a whole host of other solid major leaguers. He never lost his composure, even when he was in a jam. Remember when people thought he would never be good enough to be anything more than a reliever?
Just remember that once Taijuan Walker and Hisashi Iwakuma come back, this guy is the M's No. 5 starter. Right now, a rotation of Felix/Kuma/Walker/Erasmo/Paxton looks pretty promising. But let's get down to the chase here: The Seattle Mariners are awesome.
What? We're all thinking it. Rationally or irrationally, the Mariners have stolen the hearts of fans and are already causing many to dream about the playoffs. Is it too early?
Well, why should it be? The Mariners are 3-0 and first place in the AL West. They've not only won, they've won convincingly in each of the three games. They've won with good pitching and good hitting. They've won not just because of one or two players, but because many individuals have stepped up in various different situations.
First it was Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley in game one. Then, in game two, it was Erasmo Ramirez and Brad Miller. Tonight, in game three, it was James Paxton and Mike Zunino. Of course Felix and Cano have been great throughout, and even Almonte has looked solid. Really, the only regular who hasn't been performing well is Kyle Seager, the one position player (besides Cano) who was nearly a lock to have a solid season.
Of course, it's too early to declare a player fixed or another player broken. But is it too early to be optimistic and excited? Certainly not. It's not every year the Mariners start the season 3-0 or with a sweep of a division rival. Of course the Mariners will lose eventually. Of course it's possible they could lose their next 10 games. But why worry about an uncontrollable future that might not happen? If there's a better time to be optimistic about this team I'd really like to know when that would be. If you don't allow yourself to be excited until the playoffs arrive then you've already wasted a season of happiness and joy. And really, that's the reason we're all fans in the first place, right?
The real question may soon arise: are the Seattle Mariners good or are the Los Angeles Angels bad? Right now, it doesn't seem to matter. Either way, from what they've shown so far, the M's don't belong in fourth place like pretty much every projection pegs them at.
Tomorrow they start a series in Oakland against the A's. Seems like anything can happen this year. Will they own the league or crawl back to the basement when all is said and done? Whatever, this is fun.