It's been pointed out a few times this year (here, and in other places) that the Mariners have faced a better collection of pitchers than the rest of the league, that where one team may draw another team's 3-4-5 starters in a series, the Mariners are getting the 2-3-4 or 1-2-3. Not only is this just lousy luck, but it also makes the offense look worse than it really is. Here's a table of adjusted numbers, where individual hitters have their current numbers corrected to account for quality of pitchers faced by normalizing to the league average (.262/.326/.411). Minimum = 30 plate appearances:
As you can see, not even having faced the toughest group of pitchers in the league for anyone with 30+ PA's can explain away Greg Dobbs' struggles. Reed's adjusted line is almost identical to what I predicted in January (one of the few I may have gotten right). Sexson's numbers end up in line with his career, when you consider the Safeco effect on top of all this. Beltre still sucks. Et cetera.
The important thing is this - look at the "TEAM" line at the bottom:
Current: .692 OPS
Adjusted: .716 OPS
Continued over a full season, facing pitchers a few percentage points better than the league average would cost the Mariners about 53 runs, roughly a run every three games and five wins in the standings. That's fairly significant, and it's just one of the many breaks the team hasn't had go its way so far. These tough pitchers have already cost the M's about 17 runs through two months of the season. Given that the AL West doesn't exactly have a bumper crop of pitching this year, look for these numbers to balance out a little bit over the course of the summer, and for the offense to pick it up as a result.