For reasons both deserved and undeserved it often feels like the Seattle Mariners can be the butt of a lot of jokes around the MLB circles, however this season the Mariners have shown they are no laughing matter after starting the season off with a 9-8 record including a 4 game win streak over the course of April 10th to April 14th. While the most recent series against the powerhouse Houston Astros didn’t go as planned (the Mariners lost 3 of 4 games, failing to score over 2 runs in any contest) the Mariners have a chance to send a message over their upcoming 10 game road trip.
Road trips are always a true test of a team’s mettle and at this point in the season where the contenders start to separate themselves from the pretenders the Mariners desperately need their bats to wake back up if they want a chance to remain competitive in the playoff picture. While legendary Mariner and town hero Ichiro may have turned back the clock on this particular home run saving catch the fact of the matter is he is not playing anywhere near his past levels. As a 44 year old, this is excusable, but his .212 batting average and 0 runs batted in rightfully have Seattle fans worried about the role of Ichiro moving forward this season. On the other side of the spectrum, Dee Gordon has been red hot for the Mariners nearly hitting a .300 average and already nabbing 8 stolen bases. This is Gordon’s first season playing for the Mariners and in the early going of the season so far he has already likely won over the fans with his electric speed and quick bat. If the 29 year old outfielder continues to play at this level do not be surprised if the Mariners front office puts Gordon as the cornerstone of the organization’s plans moving forward.
These next ten games will really be a bellwether for how serious the Mariners are about contending this year, and while it is a long season fans should be watching eagerly to see how this particular team responds to the long road stand. While the pitching has been above average so far, the rest of the team’s hitters need to follow in the footsteps of Gordon and start knocking in some runs and stealing some bases — if that happens who knows what these Mariners are capable of.