The Seattle Mariners rank last in the American League in runs and homers since July 1, and have seen their lead in the Wild Card race disappear.
The Seattle Mariners are in a terrible slump, and it could lead to them spending October at home for the 17th straight season.
Since the start of July, the Mariners (63-47) have been among the worst offensive teams in the majors. In July they were last in the American League in runs scored (77), home runs (19) and second last in batting average (.237). August hasn’t been any better so far, as they have scored just eight runs in three games.
As the team collectively has struggled, so have individual players. Jean Segura is hitting .228 since the start of July, Kyle Seager .238 and Nelson Cruz .225. All-Star Mitch Haniger hasn’t homered since the All-Star break after slugging 18 in the first half.
As a result, the Mariners once-promising playoff chances have taken a big hit. On July 1, they led the Oakland Athletics by eight games for the second Wild Card spot. Now they trail the Athletics by 1.5 games. Seattle was just 10-13 in July and has lost 15 of their last 22 games. It hasn’t made the postseason since 2001, the longest active drought in North American professional sports.
Despite the struggles, Mariners players still feel like there is time to break out of their slump and get back to playing winning baseball.
“We’ve still got two more months of baseball. There are peaks and valleys,” said second baseman Dee Gordon after Seattle’s loss to Toronto on Friday. “This game is hard for everybody. We just have to relax. We’re getting away from our identity a little bit. Once we get our swagger back and everyone brings their shoulders down a little bit, I think we’ll be all right.”
Oakland (65-46), meanwhile, has won 19 of their last 27 games to overtake Seattle in the standings. This despite having the third-lowest payroll in baseball, according to Spotrac.
Seattle’s slump continued into yesterday’s game against Toronto. The Blue Jays’ rookie starter Ryan Borucki gave up just one unearned run in eight innings as the Jays won 7-2. The day before, reliever Mike Hauschild held the Mariners scoreless thru six innings in a 7-3 Jays victory.
Following the team’s loss to Toronto on Friday, their third straight in August, the Mariners held a players-only meeting to address their prolonged struggles.
“The only conversation is we’re going to stay together through this,” said pitcher Marco Gonzales. “This is a long season, it’s 162 games. It’s not won or lost on any series or any game, but the way we’ll get this done is to stay together and play together and play like the team we did in the first couple months of the season when we were proving people wrong.”
Despite falling behind Oakland, there’s still time for them to erase the deficit. The two teams play each other 10 times the rest of the season. Seattle will also be getting a big boost to their lineup when Robinson Cano, suspended 80 games for a positive drug test, returns on Aug. 14, coincidentally against Oakland. Cano, however, is not eligible for the Mariners postseason roster.
For that to matter Seattle has to first get to the postseason. And for them to do that, they need to find their offensive rhythm. If they don’t, they will watch October baseball at home, once again.