Today on 710 ESPN Seattle, Brock and Salk were doing some radio math (always a scary thing) to try and figure out the M’s win total at the end of the season. Right now, this time is currently on pace for a 102-win season…that doesn’t seem sustainable with this starting staff or without Robinson Cano.
Brock thought the team would finish with around 87 wins at the end of the season, which is ten more than he though during spring training and is exactly where I had them prior to opening day. It sounded like Salk agreed they’d be some where in the 87 win range, also an increase from his spring prediction.
As for me, I see they’re win total increasing from 87 wins to between 92-95 at the end of the year and that’s simply because of how many wins they were able to pile up during the middling and tanking teams in April and May. If the M’s play .500 ball from here on out, they’ll finish with 88 wins. If they play at a .550 clip the rest of the way — which currently seems entirely sustainable — Seattle will end the season with 92 wins.
The emergence of Marco Gonzalez and James Paxton finally becoming the consistently dominant ace we all expected him to be has improved my confidence in a starting staff that appeared to be the team’s biggest weakness…and really still is since general manager Jerry Dipoto went out and added more depth to the bullpen by trading for Alex Colomé. It’s unlikely that Wade LeBlanc will continue to be as effective as he has, but he can still be a really good No. 5 stater; especially if Félix Hernández continues to use his sinker less and rely more on his off-speed pitches.
But the biggest boost to this team is going to be the return of Robinson Cano from his 80-game suspension. Bringing back an All Star caliber bat and defender — whom is still third among position players in fWAR accumulated despite missing nearly three weeks — is going to provide an immense impact to the roster. The line-up will be lengthened as Haniger will be able to slide back in behind Nelson Cruz and the offense will (hopefully) see less of Ben Gamel’s BABIP fueled peaks/valleys with Heredia moving back to left to platoon with Denard Span.
There’s a lot to like about this Mariners squad, and you can thank their ridiculously hot April and May’s for the excellent position they’ve put themselves in.