Mariners Roundup: Aim low, slowly move expectations up

The Seattle Mariners have recorded their first series sweep of the 2016 season by defeating the Oakland Athletics 9-8 today.  This means that they now sit one game above the Texas Rangers for first place in the AL West.  Depending on how Texas does against Toronto tonight, that lead may increase or decrease by 1/2 of a game.

The win puts Seattle at 16-11 on the season and so far 27 games in they have exceeded my expectations.  Anything close to .500 would make me happy, but this will definitely do nicely.  There’s still 135 games to go, but a good start nonetheless.  Here’s some additional thoughts.

1.  Cano is hot, Cruz is keeping pace


Robinson Cano is tied for the American League lead in Home Runs with nine on the year.

Robinson Cano has definitely been hitting the bat to the ball really well this year.  Not only is he tied with Josh Donaldson of the Toronto Blue Jays for the AL Home Run lead, but he also leads the American League with 26 RBI’s.  He only has a .273 average, but that should definitely go up with time.

Nelson Cruz may not have gotten off to the hot start he did last year, but he has done a brilliant job contributing despite a slight drop in his numbers.  His 5 homers, .293 average, and 16 RBI’s definitely have helped.  Cruz may not be hitting balls out of the park anymore, but he’s certainly not being passive at the plate.

2.  Seattle is 11-4 on the road, 5-7 at home

That number is a little concerning to me, but the M’s did win the last two series at Safeco Field and one of those was against the Kansas City Royals who are the defending World Series champions.  I was a little irritated seeing them start their first homestand 1-5, but I think their record should only go up with time.

Maybe we should move the Mariners to Idaho because they seem to be doing really well away from the Emerald City.  They have won every series on the road so far, and travel to a struggling Houston Astros squad that is still looking to find its way.  At the rate they’re going at, 2016 may be remembered as the year of the “Road Warriors”.

3.  Felix has looked human, but there are a few pleasant surprises


Taijuan Walker leads Seattle with a 1.80 ERA.

Felix has had a few struggles this year, starting 2-2 on the season, but the rest of the pitching rotation is definitely pulling their weight.  Starter Wade Miley had a brilliant complete game on Saturday against the Royals, and a bullpen that had major struggles last year now ranks fifth in the majors in pitching.

Walker also leads the team with 29 strikeouts, and new closer Steve Cishek is the Anti-Fernando Rodney.  He has eight saves on the year so far.  It’s great to see a team that has made progress from last year.

In the coming months we will see if the addition of manager Scott Servais and GM Jerry Dipoto pays off.  For now it’s safe to say that it has.

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