Is this for real?
Wade LeBlanc pitches to Max Kepler of the Twins on Saturday 5/26
Don't look now, but Your Seattle Mariners are just one game out of first place. On Memorial Day. While their arguably-best player is out on suspension and their other arguably-best player (really, there are several guys you could argue for) on the DL with a broken toe. After a week when the offense couldn't scratch out more than 2.7 runs per game. It's...unsettling.
Not long ago, you might have looked at the Mariners and said, well, the lineup is pretty decent, but that starting pitching...too many 5+ ERAs, not enough stamina. But when the lineup went south, the rotation stepped up in a big way. Since May 13th, the M's have batted just .235 with an on-base mark of .245. Mitch Haniger's average has dropped 14 points, Nelson Cruz's dropped 29, Seager's 26, Healy's 18. You'd think this would be a slump making everyone miserable, but thanks to starting pitching the M's are 10-4 over that stretch, including four extra-inning affairs. Starting pitchers James Paxton, Felix Hernández, Marco Gonzales, Mike Leake, Wade LeBlanc, and emergency spot-starter Christian Bergman combined for a 2.22 ERA over those 14 games with a minute WHIP of, get this, 0.82. The bullpen hasn't been too shabby, either, with only the now-injured Nick Vincent giving up more than one run in that stretch.
Obviously both the batting struggles and the pitching excellence will change course at some point. But wouldn't it be amazing to see what the M's could do if the lineup and the pitchers both got hot at the same time?
That said, I'll take an alternating cycle if necessary. The pitching has saved the hitters the last couple weeks. If the hitters have to save the pitchers next stretch, that's OK too, just keep racking up the wins.
One game out. So weird.