Another year has come to a close, and once again the Seattle Mariners were not an active participant in the playoffs.
You have to tip your hat to the San Francisco Giants, as they pulled off an impressive World Series sweep for their second championship in three years. Is there anything that the Mariners can learn, or is this yet another opportunity to say, “Someday that will be us”?
There are more practical observations from the Giants’ win that may apply to a future Seattle team.
You could argue that the Giants won with pitching in the World Series, but they were not necessarily the best pitching staff in baseball during the regular season. They won 94 games with a staff that was sixth in quality starts, seventh in team ERA and eighth in opponent batting average.
In those particular categories, Seattle ranked 13th, 10th and ninth. In other words, Seattle had a comparable level of talent on the mound. They would probably have been better with more run support.
Of course, you have to score runs. Pitching and defense alone do not win championships. San Francisco was fifth in the league in batting average, and eighth in on-base percentage. They did not overpower teams, but they produced offense.
How was Seattle in those two categories? As you might expect, 30th and 30th. That is why the Giants won 94 games and the Mariners won 75.
Obviously, it is difficult to compare these two teams, but the success of the Giants should give the Mariners hope for the future. It is not about being the most dominant team during the regular season. The Giants were certainly a great team, but in the postseason they found a special momentum that carried them to a title.
Seattle has the pitching. Now they just need some more offense. Granted, that is a tall order, and finding quality bats is easier said than done.
The Mariners continue to be faced with a dilemma: Do they remain patient with the young hitters and hope that they mature just as the hot young pitchers arrive in Seattle? Or will Seattle need to find their version of Pablo Sandoval via free agency?
Still, the San Francisco win is a reminder that anyone can win it all, even if they are not the favorite going into the playoffs. Who saw the Giants sweeping the mighty Detroit Tigers?
For the Mariners to take things to the next level, they have some work to do.
Perhaps a 20-win jump is too much to ask for in 2013. However, 95 wins may be required to win the competitive American League West. Stranger ascensions have happened.
The Giants won the 2010 World Series after finishing the year with a 92-70 record. Two years earlier in 2008, they finished 72-90.
Perhaps the Mariners are closer to the World Series than we think. Someday, right?