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The trinity of awesomeness we have all been waiting for

Cruz, Cano and Seager are finally hitting the ball together in a way that makes it hard to quit this team.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Common sense says that the Mariners will most likely not make the playoffs, yet again. Painfully, statistics are painting another picture perfect year of mediocrity and despair. And although the Mariners supposedly have around a 10 percent chance of even making the playoffs (down quite a ways from pre-season World Series potential), many of us keep tuning in -- and with good reason.

We tune in, because on paper, this Mariners' lineup should be a lot better. This is a team that was rolling out Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager every night. This is a team whose lineup was designed to make a complete mockery of opposing pitchers with crafty platoons and a power mashing middle of the order that would be one of the best in the major leagues.

But things didn't really go like that, especially in the middle of the order. That power mashing trio? Here is how they fared.

avg obp slg wRC+
Cano .252 .292 .374 84
Cruz .322 .372 .724 204
Seager .266 .322 .405 103
Cano .250 .298 .317 75
Cruz .346 .407 .607 186
Seager .276 .333 .533 141
Cano .212 .240 .343 61
Cruz .239 .323 .307 81
Seager .232 .282 .358 78

Each of these three players has struggled a bit as the season wore on -- Cano especially. We are talking Seager with his career wRC+ of 116, Cano at 126 and Cruz at 122 all having a some issues. Cruz is a bit off the hook because of his torrid start, but his June was as wretched as the best of ‘em. There were few players who couldn't shoulder a bit of the blame for the first half of the season as the Mariners trekked further and further down into the AL West cellar, but when your three biggest name hitters aren't able to carry the weight of the offense (or any weight at all), it is going to be a tough go.

But this team, on paper, is so tantalizing. And it looks like that the Mariners were just like the rest of us -- all they need is a few days off and everything is rainbows and unicorns in the office. Since the All-Star break, Seager, Cano and Cruz have been clobbering the ball and then some.

since ASG avg obp slg wRC+
Cano .348 .434 .739 222
Cruz .314 .386 .647 191
Seager .296 .333 .519 140

And yeah, yeah, yeah, small sample size I hear you. But at times we need to relish these small sample sizes and know that if this small sample size turns into a slightly larger sample size, the Mariners, in some twisted way, might actually have a chance to compete for a playoff spot. These three guys are just hitting the ball in the month of July. Cano has 33 hits (sixth most) and Cruz and Seager each have 31 (tied for 8th), and when your middle of the order is actually hitting the ball as predicted, the positive effects tend to trickle throughout the rest of the lineup.

And yeah, yeah, yeah, the Mariners are still basically playing .500 ball since the All-Star break, and that isn't a good enough. But also consider that the Mariners pitching staff hasn't been as sharp, giving up nearly one run more per game. That staff also opened the second half with 10 straight games against the Yankees (fifth best hitting team in baseball), Tigers (third best hitting team in baseball) and Blue Jays (top hitting team in baseball).

As Andrew pointed out earlier, Mike Zunino is also on the up and up, which means that as much as we (or at least I) want to stick a fork in this team and declare them overcooked to the point of the compost bin and now ordering shitty take out as an improvement for dinner. I'm not quite there yet. The paper aspect of this team -- as flimsy, wet and pathetic as it has been -- looks like the sort of tax return that allows you to buy those audiophile quality speakers you have always wanted.

This team sometimes looks dead on arrival, but it doesn't *feel* like it is all over yet. That is enough to keep me tuning in.