A month ago it was optimistic but far from delusional to think that the 2013 Seattle Mariner could be a ~.500 club. Flops, injuries, and odd personel decisions have led to a 8-15 record and new levels of frustration within the fan base. But while expectations have not been met, there are fans of other teams who have had loftier hopes sullied or completely dashed.
With the Boston Red Sox collapsing last season and the New York Yankees punting the offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays went all in by acquiring R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera and others to become the talk of the American League. Coming into the season, odds-makers had them right up there with the Detroit Tigers. Instead, they're bringing up the rear in the A.L. East thanks to a slow start from the starting rotation and a severe injury to Reyes, among other things.
Elsewhere in the association, the Los Angeles Angels added Josh Hamilton to Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, giving them three of the most lauded sluggers of recent years. At least one Angels fan believed that their team was the favorite to win the division even in a Worst Case Scenario season, but a vulnerable starting rotation has led them to an 8-12 record. The Neo-Yankees Los Angeles Dodgers have lost Zack Greinke to a freak injury (the freak being Carlos Quentin) and have started 9-11. Even the odds on favorite Washington Nationals are under .500 at this point.
In terms of expectations versus early returns, it could certainly be worse for the Mariners and their fans. But that's not what the frustration is about. It's about "same shit, different day."
The series loss to the Houston Astros could be the kickoff of the death spiral that hijacks the season -- it certainly feels that way -- but a few good breaks could help us back away from the ledge. The 2012 Mariners somehow managed separate eight and seven game winning streaks lasts season, and every team since 2009 has won at least six in a row. The 2012 version doesn't seem capable of such a streak given that they've only won consecutive games once thus far, but it's technically possible. Things would seem a lot more manageable with some wholesale improvements to the win column. It's early yet.
(Of course we know better, but it's a long season so it might be a good idea to find a few things to cling to for at least another month or so.)
Brandon Maurer is tasked with kicking off this winning streak, following his best result of the year in Arlington. Hopefully he can continue to keep the ball low while missing a few more bats. The Angels lineup is righty-reliant, so this could be a good matchup for him and his slow-developing changeup.
7:10 pm PDT - Safeco Field - ROOT Sports