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Today's Moderately Encouraging Fact

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God damned baserunners
God damned baserunners

If you've watched any Mariners games this year other than their games against Phil Coke, you've probably noticed that the offense hasn't been very good, and that the run prevention hasn't been very good. A team doesn't end up with the worst record in baseball just by accident. But when you dive into the numbers, you can find evidence that this team might actually be more kind of okay, rather than abjectly bad, as it has so often looked.

An average offense will perform a little better with runners on base than it will with the bases empty, and an average run prevention unit, in turn, will perform a little worse with runners on base than it will with the bases empty. This year's Mariners? Observe!

Hitters Pitchers
Split OPS AL Rank OPS AL Rank
Overall 0.641 13 0.703 6
Empty 0.715 6 0.639 4
Men On 0.548 14 0.777 11


At the plate, they've been respectable with the bases empty and lousy with runners on, and in the field, they've been respectable with the bases empty and lousy with runners on. We're talking about OPS splits of 167 and 138 points, respectively, against a league split of 53.

Unless you think there's something unique about this year's Mariners team that makes it strong with no one on and a nightmare in run-scoring situations, you can expect these splits to regress to something closer to the overall numbers over time. Which means more runs scored and fewer runs allowed. Which means more wins and fewer losses! I don't want to say that these splits are the result of bad luck, but I do find them to be unsustainable.

Will a regressed Mariners team be good? No, of course it won't. That's stupid. But between this and the expected general regression from guys like Figgins, Cust and Olivo, it'll be better. It'll be better, it'll be less frustrating, and it'll be more watchable. Maybe not watchable enough for you to want to watch every day, but it'll be closer to that minimum threshold. Hell yeah.