In 2001 the Seattle Mariners won 116 games which tied the major league record that was held by the Chicago Cubs. The Mariners then followed their record season with a win in the ALDS against Cleveland. Going into the ALCS it was the best chance the Mariners have ever had to go to the World Series. But they were facing the Yankees who had Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte as their one two and three starters. That year the Mariners had Freddy Garcia, Aaron Sele and Jamie Moyer in those three spots. (Not the best match ups for the Mariners).
This year the Mariners have one of the best pitching rotations in baseball. Felix Hernandez is their ace, Cliff Lee is their 2 starter (he would be an ace on most other teams) and probably Erik Bedard as their three (if he is healthy). If you had a pitching match up between the 2001 top three and 2010’s top three I think 2010 would win. (In the playoffs you normally only use three pitchers).
I know this is really looking into the future and predicting on feeling not fact but just say the Mariners make the playoffs. I think that those three guys mixed together could beat anyone they play in the AL except maybe the Yankees. Say they do play the Yankees again, game one would be Felix vs. C.C. Sabathia. They are both very good pitchers but I think that Felix is just a little better (even if the Mariner lineup isn’t.). Game two would be Cliff Lee vs. AJ Burnett, I think most people will agree the Cliff is the better pitcher in that match up. Finally game three would be Erik Bedard vs. Andy Pettitte. I personally do not like Bedard much (as you can tell from my last article) but Andy is getting up there in age and if Erik is healthy I think he would win in this match up. And then the match ups would start over again.
I believe that the Mariners will win the AL West and that if they win the ALDS that they have a good chance at going for the franchises first ever World Series.
We have seen recently (with the Saints) that the underdog that’s going into their first championship, can come out on top since there is barely any pressure and I believe that the Mariners can do so.