Why Aren’t The Mariners Winning Against Good Teams?


With the Seattle Mariners coming off a road trip that saw them drop two out of three to the New York Yankees and then two out of three to the Baltimore Orioles, a disturbing narrative has emerged. Nearing the halfway point of the season, game eighty-one with the Tampa Rays will take place on Friday at T-Mobile, the Mariners are an impressive 25-12 against teams who currently own a losing record but have an astonishingly abysmal 12-27 record against teams above .500. That’s a 68 percent winning percentage against sub .500 teams compared to a 31 percent winning percentage against teams above .500. In other words, the Mariners beat the teams they are “supposed” to beat and lose to everyone else in the league who rosters a winning team.

To punctuate this point with a single example, the Mariners are 7-0 against the historically bad Oakland (soon to be Las Vegas) A’s. Subtract the A’s from the Mariners’ schedule altogether, and the mildly disappointing 37-39 Seattle record becomes 30-39, an alarmingly lousy record for a team hoping to repeat a playoff appearance. To make matters worse, in years past, the Mariners could’ve counted on twelve more games against the hapless A’s. But this season, MLB has “balanced” the schedule, effectively diminishing opportunities to gain ground within a team’s division. Now, the Mariners will only face the A’s six more times. Of course, the inverse is true with the division-leading Texas Rangers. The Mariners sport a 1-5 record against Texas but only have seven more opportunities to make up ground with them in direct competition, all of those games coming in September, including four games to close out the season.

The bottom line is that the Mariners must start taking series from good teams. Based on the standings heading into the home series with the Washington Nationals, the Mariners will have forty-six more opportunities to face winning baseball clubs, starting with the Tampa Rays on Friday. If the Mariners continue to play 0.308 baseball against teams with that profile, the season will slip away quickly. However, if they can turn it around, there’s plenty of time to make up ground and push into the playoff picture. The first chance to change the narrative begins this coming weekend. Let’s see what the Mariners do with the script.