Three things to watch for during second half of the Mariners’ season

Photo Credit: Tim Warner/Getty Images – LookoutLanding

While the first half of the season was disappointing, the Mariners are still technically in the middle of the playoff race — although the odds of them making it into the wildcard game are shrinking. As we get ready for the second half to start, Seattle is four games out of the second wildcard spot and the team’s playoff odds currently hover round 10%.

Seattle struggled with consistency during the first half of the season. The Mariners would rip off a multi-game winning streak and then follow it up with an even longer losing streak. This included the team finally surpassing .500 after a six-game win streak with about a week and a half before the All Star break, only to squander it away and go into the break with a 43-47 record.

As the second half of the season starts today, it’s pretty clear that the general manager Jerry Dipoto needs to make a move to shore-up the patchwork pitching staff — which got significantly harder with the trade that sent Jose Quintana to the Cubs. The questions is what pieces can Dipoto offer up to improve his aging roster.

3) What’s going to happen with Danny Valencia and Jarrod Dyson?

The fates of Valencia and Dyson are closely going to be tied to how the team starts playing in the first week after the break. Both players are in the last years of the contracts and are in the middle of pretty average offensive seasons. Valencia is hitting .273/.335/.420 while posting a wRC+ of 106, while Dyson is hitting .2 58/.340/.391 with his wRC+ at 100. Neither player is putting up massive offensive numbers this season, but most of their value has been tied up in their defense.

If the poor level of play, and the losses, continue in the first week or so after the break, there is going to be a market for solid to good defensive players whom are average at the plate. That means that Dipoto could have a wide variety of potential trade partners for these two players. While neither Valencia or Dyson would bring back franchise altering prospect packages, both (or one of the players) could bring back nice high level pitching depth…which is something the franchise desperately needs.

2) Sam Gavigilo, Andrew Moore and pitching depth

Gavigilo has done wonders this season as a FIP breaker, despite his bad start before the break. He’s been a pleasant surprise in his 10 starts this season and he’s done an admirable job filling in at the MLB level for a team that has been desperate for starting depth. The 27-year old is averaging 5.6 innings per start, which takes some of the pressure on the bullpen, and keeps the game within reach of the M’s offense…which is all they need him to do.

As for Moore, the 23-year old rookie has been one of the more highly valued pitchers in the Mariners’ farm system. So the organization only planned on pulling him up when they felt like he was ready, not because they needed pitching depth. The rookie has not disappointed as he’s gone seven and eight innings respectively in his two starts while only giving up three runs.

While Seattle’s two rookies have been decent-to-good so far, it’s likely that major league hitters will figure them out…and that could mean the M’s already thin pitching depth will be stretched even further.

1) Consistent performance from series to series

The six game win streak two weeks ago was fun, the following losing streak (at home) was not so fun. That’s been the frustrating part of watching these Seattle Mariners, as they’ve struggled with consistency from series to series. Now a lot of that has had to do with the inconsistency performances the team has gotten from starting pitching so far this season; but the offense has also gone cold at inopportune times as well — for example, Moore’s second start.

Seattle is going to get hot during the second half of the season, what’s important is that they don’t follow those up with losing streaks…or those weeks where they lose seven of ten. And that’s not going to help them get back into the playoff race.

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