Home » Blog » Mariners have day in the sun during dismal year

Mariners have day in the sun during dismal year

The Seattle Mariners are the biggest disappointment of the 2015 Major League Baseball season. Seattle was loaded up in the offseason, signing Nelson Cruz to bolster a previously weak lineup, placed alongside Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager. Then there were the young guns in the rotation to go with Felix Hernandez and Hasashi Iwakuma, namely James Paxton and Taijuan Walker.

Everything was lining up to put the Mariners in the World Series for the first time since the franchise came to be in 1977. Instead, Seattle stinks again. The Mariners have not made the playoffs since their magical 116-win season of 2001, when they ultimately fell to the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series. Since then, the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics have largely dominated the American League West.

However, Seattle did get something to cheer about on Wednesday afternoon at Safeco Field.

Iwamura made his 11th start of an injury-filled campaign against the Baltimore Orioles and spun a gem to remember, notching the fifth no-hitter in club history. Iwakuma walked three and struck out seven, using 116 pitches to navigate one of the more powerful lineups in the league. The 34-year-old was brilliant, needing few extraordinary defensive plays to complete the feat.

Even though the season is a lost year, the Mariners can at least add a game to the highlight reel which can be shown for decades. Iwakuma has been one of the more underrated pitchers in baseball over the last few years, toiling on a bad team in the great Northwest.

The Japanese import has been nothing but steady, totaling a 9-5 mark with a 3.16 earned run average over 30 appearances (16 starts) in his rookie year of 2012. Iwakuma really burst onto the scene in 2013, amassing a 14-6 mark with a 2.66 ERA and a 7.0 Wins Above Replacement. Last year, the Tokyo native had a 15-9 record and a 3.52 ERA.

Unfortunately, there will be no October for the Mariners barring a miracle. Seattle is 54-61 and eight games behind the Houston Astros for the division lead. While the games behind is not an insurmountable task, the Mariners’ record shows that this team doesn’t have much capability for long winning streaks.

The shame of this campaign is that Cruz and Hernandez are playing like MVP-caliber machines. Cruz is leading the team in almost every offensive category with a .324 average, .389 on-base percentage, 34 home runs and 70 RBI. Meanwhile, Hernandez is adding to his Hall of Fame resume with 14 wins, a 3.10 ERA, 145 strikeouts and a 3.9 WAR.

The main problem has been injuries to Paxton and Iwakuma, a bad season from Walker, and incredibly mediocre performances from Cano and Seager, who have combined for 28 homers and 96 RBI. Add in the averages of Mike Zunino (.168), Logan Morrison (.220), Brad Miller (.251) and Austin Jackson (.252), and you have a mostly-punchless lineup and a rotation spurting on three of four nights out of five.

At least the 2015 Mariners will almost have Iwakuma’s gem.

  • 100%