mariners

Breaking down the Mariners’ struggles with the AL Central

Central Struggles

The 2013 Seattle Mariners are not a bad team. In fact, they are actually a pretty good one. Boasting what is likely the best 1-2 pitching combination in the American League with Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, their record of 20-25 is respectable considering the fact that they really don’t have too many impact players on offense.

After a rough start to the season with a 12-17 month of April, the Mariners began to turn it around and really get hot in the late stages of April and early stages of May. As of today they stand 8-8 in the month of May and briefly made an appearance at second place in the AL West.

All their momentum was halted, however, when Seattle headed to Cleveland this past weekend for a four-game series that culminated today with another 10-8 walk-off loss. The series against the Indians was frustrating, annoying, and somewhat similar to what the Mariners have experience against AL Central teams this year: dismay.

While they boast a 17-16 record against all other American League teams and a 1-1 record against National League opponents, Seattle is just 2-8.

Clearly something is up with the Mariners against teams from the Central, so let’s take a look at the series and why they can’t find a way to come away with more wins.

Montero upset at another blast by Cleveland (Getty Images)

Montero upset at another blast by Cleveland (Getty Images)

2012 Statistics

Before moving any further, let’s look at the argument of the Mariners consistently struggling against the AL Central.

From 2009-2012 Seattle went a combined 85-91 against the central during a time when the team was in a rebuilding mode. Though that’s not a terrible record, it’s still not above .500 and doesn’t really merit any consideration of that being a “good” record.

2010 was their worst season against AL Central teams, as the Mariners went 18-26 against that division while going 22-25 against them in 2009, 20-24 against them in 2011, and 25-16 against them in 2012.

Just by looking at last season’s win-loss record against the AL Central you can really point out the fact that Seattle hasn’t really “struggled” with that division.

In fact, they’ve actually played fairly well against all central teams except for the White Sox, who they went 1-8 against in 2012, 2-7 against in 2011, 1-9 against in 2010, and 5-4 against in 2009.

Though 2009′s win-loss record isn’t bad at all, the rest of the years indicate that Chicago has clearly had an upper-hand on Seattle.

Series in 2013

So far Seattle has faced the Chicago White Sox in a three-game series, the Detroit Tigers in a three-game series, and the Cleveland Indians in a four-game series. Losing all of those series, the Mariners went 1-2 at Chicago, 1-2 against Detroit at home, and 1-3 at Cleveland.

Of those contests, five were decided in extra innings while one was decided in the bottom of the ninth. Seattle has been outscored 50-34 but has found themselves losing by just one run four times in their seven losses against the AL Central.

Only two of their games against those teams could be considered big losses, a 6-2 defeat at the hands of the Tigers of April 15 and a 6-0 defeat against the Indians on May 19.

Other than that, Seattle has actually played well against the AL Central but has failed to come up with wins in close contests, losing five games in walk-off fashion.

Analysis

The Mariners have a lowly 2-8 record against the AL Central this year and many have pointed to the fact that they have just performed terribly against that division all season long as well as in past seasons.

But hat isn’t exactly so, as their overall record against the central was just six games below .500 from 2009-2012. And, if you factor out the Chicago White Sox (who have had Seattle’s number in recent years), the Mariners are actually 76-63 against the central, a very impressive number.

The problem that they have this year, as stated above, is that they can’t find a way to win the close games. Seattle has had six losses against the central this year that could easily have been in their favor as well, a big number when you consider that, if they had come away with victories in those contests, they would be 8-2 against the division and flying high.

That is not the case, however, as they have had tough luck against the AL Central teams who can really connect with the ball and send one out of the park at any moment.

With that said, it’s not as if they haven’t shown up to these games. They’ve played well against this division but just haven’t managed to win the close ones.

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About Chris Anderson

NWSB Editor. Chris hails from Eugene, Oregon; home of the Fighting Ducks. If he is not viewing, writing about, or attending sporting events, Chris is running on the trails Eugene offers or out-and-about. Aspirations to exceed expectations. Connect w/ Chris today!
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