After one week of play, the 2016 season is off to a rocky start for the Seattle Mariners. The teams has lost its first four games at home, while scoring a grand total of 7 runs during that stretch. It’s been frustrating to watch as the team is unable to capitalize on having runners on base, especially with the guys this team has in the middle of the line-up.
The Mariners in ability to knock runners in, so far, stems from hitting the ball right at defenders. After 275 plate appearances, the teams batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is a MLB worst .234. It’s hard to string hits together when, and therefore put together big innings, when the ball isn’t finding gaps in the defense; if the team isn’t stringing hits together consistently, it’s hard to put up big innings like we saw in the first series in Texas.
Watching Robinson Cano and the rest of the line-up smash the ball over the walls at Globe Life Field was extremely entertaining, and helped lead to a near benches clearing brawl, but it isn’t how the M’s offense is going to find success this year. Seattle has to string together good at bats that aren’t homer or bust; of the seven runs scored in the opening home stand, five have come from home runs. As the weather warms up, the marine layer is going to have less of an impact and that should lead to less fly balls (or line drives) getting hung up; giving fielders less time to get under the ball.
These offensive struggles come despite the fact that Seattle is having a fairly decent job of getting on base so far in 2016. The Mariners have the 10th highest walk percentage in baseball (9.1%), and an average on base percentage of .309. But the team needs to find away to appease the BABIP gods if they’re going to score consistently this season.
But the good news is that it’s early, the M’s have only come up to the plate 265 times this season; for comparisons sake, Seattle recorded 2,407 plate appearances in 2015. The team’s poor BABIP isn’t going to remain that low throughout the season, the offense will turn around, and they’ll start scoring with more consistency. It’s just going to take some time for the team to get acclimated to the new season.