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This is about the time where the wheels start to fall off.
For most of us the idea of the pitching staff holding their own is plausible, but the idea of the once promising youngsters such as Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero, and Justin Smoak taking a meaningful leap forward is another story.
At the same time Nick Eaton at seattlepi.com perhaps put it best when he wrote last week after the team matched their win total for 2011...
"While still not playoff contenders, the Mariners are much improved this year. They may have not been able to translate their improvements into better statistics, but they have been able to translate their improvements into wins.
And wins are what count."
Wins do count and seeing what Oakland is doing down the coast as a team that at one time looked just as downtrodden as the M's leaves you to wonder what could make the difference in taking a team from also ran to wildcard contender?
Did we set our expectations too high or too low for this group?
At the end of the day I still have some hope for the likes of Ackley and Montero to do great things and a spot for a potential long-term role for Kyle Seager, but beyond them I have a hard time selling myself on who or what's left from an offensive standpoint.
Unless that is you really want to take a leap of faith?