Will Mariners pull out of funk? And more

The Seattle Mariners were supposed to be one of – if not – the best team in the American League. The boys in the Emerald City appeared loaded for bear during the offseason, signing slugger Nelson Cruz along with veteran Seth Smith. The prognosticators predicted an AL West championship sand perhaps more, putting Felix Hernandez into the postseason spotlight for the first time in his great career.

Instead, Seattle is woeful at 28-35, sitting fourth in the West only above the Oakland Athletics. On the positive side, the Mariners are only 7.5 games behind the Houston Astros, who have every metric in the world saying that they will regress horribly over the last 100 games. However, Seattle wasn’t supposed to be in this position. The Mariners have struggled badly to score with 216 runs, the worst total in the American League.

Seattle showed off its general malaise over the weekend, losing two of three against Houston by a combined 23-0. Cruz has been the lone offensive bright spot, leading the Mariners in all categories with a .323 average and .380 on-base percentage alongside 18 home runs and 40 RBI. Cruz has been a starting-caliber All-Star throughout the campaign, giving Seattle exactly what it paid for when it inked him to a four-year deal.

However, Robinson Cano has been underwhelming at best. The All-Star second baseman is hitting a brutal .239 with two homers and 17 RBI in 61 games, making you wonder if the 10-year contract given to him will prove one of the worst in Major League Baseball history. Even worse, Cano has an insanely pathetic .279 on-base percentage. Cano didn’t hit for much power last year but was well above .300. In 2015, Cano has been an anchor to an offense in desperate need of a life raft.

Only Cruz and Kyle Seager are hitting above .270, with Mike Zunino hitting a laughable .159. If Zunino qualifies by the end of the year, he would have one of the worst averages of the modern era. Dustin Ackley is giving him a run for his money, hitting .190 in 137 at-bats.

Can Seattle turn it around? Perhaps, but it starts with Cano. If he can’t start to play on the Hall of Fame pace he was on, the Mariners are going to be watching from home come October once again.

Cardinals continue to roll

After losing Adam Wainwright for the year back in April to a torn Achilles, many expected the St. Louis Cardinals to stumble. Instead, they turned up the intensity and became a full-blown juggernaut. The Cardinals are 24-7 at home, leading to a 41-21 record and a six-game lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Central.

There are many great franchises across the four major sports, but none with the consistency and class of the Cardinals. Well done.

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