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Checking the temperature

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Twelve minutes into the day-long slow cook, I lift the lid.

Just a couple future HOF'ers.
Just a couple future HOF'ers.
Elsa/Getty Images

Impatience is one of my defining qualities. It's part of my essence, along with lavender, Texas cedar wood, and a hint of Tahitian vanilla. I cannot remove it from me. To be honest, it's a poor quality for someone who covers a baseball team. The season feels like it's been going for long enough to start making assumptions. Real scores have been made, teams have won and lost. Maybe it is the millenial in me that just wants to start judging things. I need to start watching reality TV. This is all to say, if you're like me, and I'm sure some of you are, you get over-invested in baseball. I have to actively take breaks to keep it from affecting my constant mood.

If Dae-Ho Lee didn't walk us off on Wednesday, and we rode a six game losing streak to New York, I'm not sure if we would have all made it to today. And that's sort of the amazing thing about baseball, and about following a team that I think we all are expecting to matter. Every game has a weight to it, yet we've only had twelve. The emotional sample size is so small that I can remember every single game so far. Yet, last week about this time, I have never seen the Mariner Fan Community, or whatever you deem it, so, damn angry. I wondered why. I know I was, but I have higher expectations than most. We like to think we're sane, rational, educated fans of the game. But baseball makes us crazy.

And what a difference a week makes. Fresh off a series win in New York that, admittedly, tastes a little worse due to the most recent contest being a loss, the team heads to Cleveland. Here, as we documented last night and I'm sure you can remember many other occasions, is a place where Mariners Hopes have often gone to waste. We'd like that to change. So, before the series opens later today, I think it's time for a temperature check. I always like to have one when flying to Cleveland. That's a burning river joke.

I want to talk about pieces of the team that had questions around them, and in this too-early time of the season, briefly evaluate them. Let's start with an easy one.

The Bullpen

Well, Nathan did an excellent job writing about Montgomery and Zych just yesterday, but let's think of the other pieces, too. Joel Peralta, Steve Cishek, and Joaquin Benoit seem to be Scott Servais' early favorites for high-leverage guys, but this is likely to change. With Vidal Nuno also pitching in some instances that have not been "long relief", the 'Pen usage so far has been unexpected from how it all appeared breaking camp. Look, it's hard to say much about it with something like 30 total innings here, but I think this group, and especially the healthier Furbush, Cook, Scribner potential version come July, is much steadier than hoped. The early returns, minus a few fluky solo homers, have been acceptable.

Karns and Miley

The two offseason additions to the starting staff were by no means huge, high profile signees, yet both seem to be holding their weight just fine. Across the board, the starters have had trouble going deep into games, and that should change, but the staff looks strong. Nathan Karns is so far allowing a BABIP of nearly .400, while posting a K/9 of nearly 12 and stranding 85% of his runners. It's early, these numbers are all crazy, but you'd like to see the walks go down. Most teams would kill to have him as a fifth starter.

As far as Wade Miley goes, his numbers are even crazier. He's yet to allow a walk, is putting out a K/9 of 10.5, and has managed an ERA over 8 while stranding 42% of his runners. Wade Miley is allowing a BABIP of .429, which is obscenely poor luck. Once again, it's twelve innings of work. He's given me no reason for concern.

Ketel Marte

The two errors in two games to start the season was a poor beginning to the sophomore year for Ketel. What's worse is that .195 BA certainly isn't storming out of the gates. It's 45 PA's, but the BB% is below 5% and the K% is about 20%. The BABIP has dropped off, considerably, to .242. To be honest, he's the offensive player I have already started to worry about. Just last week, Ketel looked fully lost at the plate. I think he's a talented player, but continually have to remind myself of his age. His weight transfer is totally changed for the worse right now, but when he's hitting well, there's flashes of Cano's swing from the left side. It's too early to call him busted, or needing replacement, but it's something to keep an eye on.

The First Base Platoon

Well. We have Adam Lind.

And Dae-Ho.

Chris Iannetta

I don't have a lot of words here, but doesn't it feel just amazing to not feel like catcher is a dwarf planet slowly being pulled into a black hole? Mike Zunino is absolutely mashing in AAA, and long may that continue, but also, let's hope Chris keeps us from looking down too often, as he has so far. This may be a deal that really proves Jerry's moxie.

Leonys Martin

We'll have more on him later from Grant this week, so to keep from spoiling that I'll just say that I am so, very happy with having Leonys Martin on the Seattle Mariners Baseball club. What an absolute treasure it is to watch him play center field.

...

Look, as of this morning, the Mariners have the 9th ranked pitching staff and the 19th ranked offense. I think there is a legitimate case to anticipate both of those numbers going up. It's a good place to be. It's so early in the season (I'm mostly writing that to remind myself) that Mark Trumbo and Trevor Story would maybe show up on an MVP ballot if the season ended today. Cleveland has always been its own hell, both for the Mariners and most people, but you have to like how the team showed in New York. Forget the crazy, BABIP flukyness of the Rangers series and the two, one-run losses of the A's series and this team just feels different from last year, in a good way. Five and Seven. Here's to fighting off some demons in Cleveland.

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