Mariners have a lot of soul-searching to do

The Mariners have picked the wrong time of the season to got into a slump, leading to ask how much they want it when it comes to making the playoffs?

It’s crunch time in the regular season with a playoff spot on the line, but how much do the Mariners want it? This is a relevant question, with a four-game losing streak seeing them fall out of a wild card position.

The Mariners have experienced four-game losing streaks before during the 2023 season, but it’s different now. After doing so much during a magical August to put themselves in a favorable position, are they now going to throw it all away?

This is not hyperbole – not with the Mariners losing seven of their previous nine games overall. So how much do the Mariners want it?

Top-level pitching is struggling

There has been many a baseball analyst and media member who’ve called the Mariners’ pitching the best in the AL (particularly the rotation). That they would be tough to compete against in the playoffs.

However, this isn’t worth a damn if you don’t even make the playoffs. Besides, the pitching has been having its own issues of late.

On the season, the Mariners pitching staff has indeed been magnificent. In this respect, as of Tuesday morning they rank second in the Majors in ERA, tied-second for WHIP and tied-fifth in batting average.

However, per the Mariners’ recent sump it’s been a different story in the past 15 days. During this time, they are ranked just 17th in ERA, tied-17th for WHIP and 22nd in batting average.

It doesn’t help that there have been games where the starters have pitched well but the bullpen hasn’t, and vice versa. This is not the type of team effort and contribution the Mariners need right now!

Offense can’t quite pick up the slack

The offense has been better during the second half of the regular season. However, it’s still not been able to produce consistently enough to overcome the pitching struggles.

Monday specifically, was a case where usually you’d expect five runs to be enough to secure a Mariners win. However, they couldn’t overcome 12 hits and eight runs from the Angels, albeit in 11 innings.

What makes this particularly galling, is that the Angels achieved this without Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout. Harsh or not, this is quite simply unacceptable, especially at this stage of the season.

The shame is, this is all happening at a time when Julio Rodríguez is living up to his billing as the superstar he was destined to be. He had four hits on the night, and became just the fourth player in Major League history to reach 30 homers and 30 steals in a season at age 22 or younger.

Jarred Kelenic made a long-awaited return from his infamous broken foot. He had just one hit in five at-bats, although he should improve as he gets back into the swing of things.

Not all bad news for Mariners

If we’re looking for positives, the Mariners are only half-a-game back of a wild card spot despite their recent fall from grace. They are also just 2.5 games back of the division-leading Astros in the AL West, with the season tie-breaker and three more contests remaining against them.

Mariners manager Scott Servais discussed Monday’s 8-5 extra innings loss and about what could have been. He said:

“A lot of plays you can look back at in this game. ‘If this would have gone that way,’ or ‘I would have done this a little bit differently or better,’ and we probably win the game. That’s what happens in these games. And it’s going to continue to happen over the next two and a half weeks.”

In this respect fate is still in the Mariners’ hands, but again, how much do they want it? For better or worse, we’re going to find out over these final 18 games of the regular season.

What’s your vibe like surrounding the Mariners and their current position? Do you predict they will ultimately qualify for the playoffs or not, and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

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