MLB 2012: 3 Reasons to Think Seattle Mariners Will Turn Things Around in June
The Seattle Mariners have looked unimpressive through the first 58 games of the MLB season, and currently sit nine games back of the AL West-leading Texas Rangers, but this team isn't as far off as it appears through a third of the season.
Contrary to what most of the baseball world believes, this Mariners team is still fighting hard and has the capability of turning things around in the month of June.
Here are three specific explanations for why the Seattle Mariners will turn things around this month.
1. They're Not Far Off Statistically
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Though the team's 25-33 record is a bit ugly, the difference in the Seattle Mariners' runs scored and runs given up is not far off.
Seattle has scored 243 runs and given up 247, which is a difference of just minus-four.
The Mariners have lost 16 games by two runs or less, seven of which were by just a mere run. If the Mariners can become a more polished team as the season goes on, those one-run games will begin to go their way, and the team's record will improve.
The "Diff" statistic is a fairly good indicator of which teams are good or bad; for example, every division-leading team has a double-digit positive difference number, and the Miami Marlins have a 31-24 record despite being minus-six on the season.
It is not the perfect statistic in terms of determining which teams are the best in the MLB, but it does indicate that Seattle has been competitive in almost every game played.
2. Solid Starting Pitching
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The Mariners' starting pitching rotation could use some bolstering, but they have been able to keep the team in the majority of its games this season.
Jason Vargas, Felix Hernandez and Kevin Millwood have all been effective and each have an ERA under four, but Hector Noesi and Blake Beaven have really held the pitching staff back and have become somewhat of a liability at the bottom of the rotation.
King Felix has had some struggles of late, as well, but his ERA remains under four, and he is still one of the best pitchers in the game.
The M's will need to look at their minor league prospects as well as the trading block for another, more stable starting pitcher at the bottom of their rotation, as it would create a huge difference in the team's success. Danny Hultzen is a potential starting pitching prospect who has a 5-3 record with a 1.59 ERA through 56.2 innings at Double-A.
With a struggling offense, Seattle's pitching needs to be on point for them to compete.
3. Young Guns
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Five of the Mariners' best hitters, Justin Smoak, Kyle Seager, Michael Saunders, Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero, are all no older than 25.
Smoak has shown great power with 10 home runs on the season, and Seager leads the team in RBI with 32.
There's no denying the fact that all of these hitters have room to improve, as each of them have a sub-.270 batting average, but that is actually a promising fact since they can each develop into quality major league hitters as the season progresses.
The M's have plenty of work cut out for them, but look for the young corps to continue developing and for the overall team to improve through the month of June.