66 To Go
Here we are at the All Star Break, and it’s time to look back at some of my Seattle Mariner’s predictions for the last month.
Let’s start with the Mariner’s schedule.
I predicted in the July 1, Seattle Mariners: July Preview article, that the M’s would go 8-5 between the start of July and the ASB. Here we are two weeks later, and guess what? The M’s went 8-5. I may have faltered on the exact games that would be won and lost, however I did accurately predict a sweep of the Los Angeles Angels.
Don’t think that’s a big deal? Well think about this… that was the first series sweep for the M’s all season. They were primed for a great series going into the break, and they delivered.
While I still do not think the Mariner’s make an actual run on a wild card, it is great to see real progress out of some of the younger guys on the team. As lights-out as Raul Ibanez (24 home runs) has been playing, his current pace and performance can not be counted on as a realistic, long-term contribution.
No, this team needed to find its identity from the younger guys, and it has done just that.
Of all the young stars, no one on the Mariners has made as complete of a turnaround than 1b Justin Smoak. In my June 18 article, Just Smoak is Returning from Injury… and that’s a Good Thing, I predicted Smoak’s resurgence.
At the time, he had been hitting .240 over 46 games and was just coming off the disabled list. His performance this season was far below fan expectations, and his time with the team was seemingly over.
Since his return on June 18th, Smoak has been a different player. In the 22 games since, he is batting .333 with 5 HR and 14 RBI. If you isolate his stats for the month of July (only 12 games), Smoak is batting .386, has an on-base percentage of .460, and is slugging .659.
To put that in perspective, the young Dodger’s phenom who has taken the sport by storm, Yasiel Puig, is only hitting .300, with a .333 OBP and .420 SLG over the same number of games in July.
And people wanted Puig to play in the All-Star game?
So what does all this mean going forward? Not much, unfortunately. Baseball is a game of streaks and cycles. The key to success is finding consistency. The Mariner’s are a long way from being called successful, however I do believe they are on the right path.
The Mariners may not be looking at the post season, but there is still a lot to play for the rest of 2013.
Going forward, if my tea leaves yield any other gems, I’ll be sure to share them with all of you. However, I bet right now all the Seahawk fans are hoping my analysis is baseball-centric only, after reading this bold prediction.