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The Mariners and their below average offense

If only they could score more runs!

Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

The beauty of baseball is that even when things seem to be so terrible that it doesn't seem worth looking into, you can find some new stat or new way to look at something and take that dead horse, skip the slaughterhouse, and just turn its bones into gelatin right on the spot.

I've been a little obsessed with the Mariners' offense in June, or their lack thereof as well. Part of it is because the team seems to leave me less and less each day to actually be interested in, and I am left to my own devices to find something interesting about them.

Those devices like to look at worthless stats and draw some sort of meaning out of them, and, since the Mariners are doing so bad, those devices keep looking at different ways that the Mariners continue to do so bad this season.

What I was interested in finding out was how often the Mariners' offense has been below average this season, and basing this just solely off of runs. Runs, despite being such a simple number, are still the stat that determine who wins or loses a game. On the season, as of before all the games were registered on Tuesday, June 30, the average number of runs scored in the league was 316 in 76 games, or approximately 4.16 runs per game.

The Mariners, of course, are below average, and have mustered on average 3.36 runs per game on the season. The question though, is how below average are the Mariners? The offense has definitely been there at times, even in June, as evidenced by a 7-0 win over the Royals, a 9-3 win over Cleveland and a 8-1 win over the Astros.

If we just round down and say that four runs per game is the average amongst MLB teams this year, than let's take a look at how often each team has scored three or less runs in a game.

team # of games record percentage
Angels 40 12-28 .300
Astros 37 7-30 .189
Athletics 33 4-29 .121
Blue Jays 31 3-28 .097
Braves 37 11-26 .297
Brewers 43 5-38 .116
Cardinals 36 17-19 .472
Cubs 36 10-26 .278
Diamondbacks 30 5-25 .167
Dodgers 40 10-30 .250
Giants 35 9-26 .257
Indians 38 7-31 .184
Mariners 47 14-33 .298
Marlins 42 6-36 .143
Mets 43 11-32 .255
Nationals 37 12-25 .324
Orioles 29 4-25 .138
Padres 34 6-28 .176
Phillies 43 5-38 .116
Pirates 36 10-26 .278
Phillies 43 5-38 .116
Pirates 36 10-26 .278
Rangers 40 10-30 .250
Rays 40 14-26 .350
Red Sox 32 7-25 .219
Reds 36 5-31 .139
Rockies 26 2-24 .077
Royals 33 8-25 .242
Tigers 35 8-27 .229
Twins 39 12-27 .308
White Sox 40 7-33 .175
Yankees 29 5-24 .172

Go Mariners! We are finally winning at something! We lead the league with 47 games in which we have scored three runs or less. That is bad of course, because it is hard to win games when you just score three runs, but in an interesting turn of events, the Mariners have the sixth best record when scoring three runs or less (not that that really means much at all). In fact, the Mariners not only lead the league in games of three or less runs, but they lead the league in games where they've only scored three runs.

# of runs leading team # of times # of times M's have MLB rank
0 Padres 12 7 t-4
1 Marlins 13 6 29
2 Angels 19
18 t-2
3 Mariners 16 - -
4 Phillies 15
10 17
5 Rockies 17 9 13
6 Astros 14 2 30
7 Athletics 10 3 25

All those numbers right there truly mean nothing outside of just being numbers I could pull up. So let's look at the kicker. If the Mariners score a league average of four runs or more this season, they are 20-9 on the season. According to Fangraphs projected playoff standings, for the Mariners to reach the playoffs, based on projected wins, they would need to finish with 84 wins for a wild card spot. As of now, the Mariners will have to play 50-36 ball the rest of the season, good for a percentage of .581 ball. The Mariners, when they score an average amount of runs per game, are 20-9, or .689.

That is a small sample size, of course, and just saying all the Mariners have to do is score a league average amount of runs and they'll make the playoffs isn't that easy, because obviously the Mariners struggle to do so. And considering that they have scored three runs or less in 61.8 percent of their games, it would be a fools errand to think the Mariners will decide to score four runs or more in 70 percent of their remaining games. The Mariners are close to digging themselves a grave they wont' be able to climb out of in the second half the season. But, as last night showed, there are still signs of life in this team.

All I know, I'm excited that June is over.