Season Salvaging Time
It’s May 4th, and believe it or not, the Mariners season is on the verge of extinction. They currently stand six games behind the Angels (who are winning 4-2, which would push the deficit to six and a half games) with 130 games to play. That sounds like a lot of time until you realize just how large of a hole that really is.
To win the division, the Mariners would have to outplay both the Angels and A’s by a significant margin. To put some context to this, here are the winning percentage pairs from here on out that would lead to the M’s ending up with just one more win then Los Angeles (ignoring the A’s for right now), ranging from 89 wins to 95 wins for the Mariners.
Angels – .527 – Mariners – .585
Angels – .535 – Mariners – .592
Angels – .543 – Mariners – .600
Angels – .550 – Mariners – .608
Angels – .558 – Mariners – .615
Angels – .566 – Mariners – .623
Angels – .574 – Mariners – .631
The Angels have played .594 baseball through their first 32 games without John Lackey or Kelvim Escobar and with Vladimir Guerrero off to the worst start he’s had in years. Even assuming they aren’t going to get Escobar back this year, Lackey takes a while to regain his previous form, and Guerrero doesn’t rebound all the way back to his prime levels of production, it’s still hard to see this Angels team playing much worse than .550 baseball the rest of the way.
A .550 winning percentage is an 89 win pace over a full season, and that’s about what I expected the Angels to finish with before the year started. If the Angels playing .550 ball from here on out, they’ll finish with 91 wins, and the Mariners would have to play .608 baseball to end the year at 92-70. No team has played a full season of .608 baseball or better since the 2005 White Sox and Cardinals won 99 and 100 games respectively.
It’s really freaking hard to play .608 baseball for any sustained period of time, even if you’re a truly excellent team. And let’s be honest, this Mariners team isn’t excellent. For a team of this quality to play .600 ball for five months is almost unheard of.
So, the M’s simply have to start winning, and doing so soon. They need to beat up on Texas, the White Sox, and the Padres, who they play their next 13 games against. They need a 9-4 or 10-3 stretch to make up some ground or else it just becomes too prohibitive to think they can close this gap.
It’s May, but it’s getting late for the Mariners. They don’t have any more time to struggle. They have to start winning, and they have to start tomorrow.