I’m about to do something I absolutely hate doing.
I cannot stand when journalists, pundits, or fans spout off after five games about how a team is either royally screwed or undeniably flawless. Five games out of 162, just a meager 3 percent of the season is up for scrutiny or praise.
Regardless, I will do both in critiquing the Seattle Mariners who have completed their first five games of the season and stand just a hair above .500 at 3-2.
Sure, the Mariners are just 3-2, and they’ve showcased some of their most vulnerable attributes in crushing losses to both Texas and Oakland, but they have impressed on a level we haven’t seen in years. Since their return to normalcy stateside, the Mariners have spouted off averaging more than six runs and 12 hits per game.
While you may chalk this up to serendipity, I am far more optimistic.
Before you concede to another year of dreadful offensive ineptitude, first consider this team is not the team you remember.
It isn’t the team that left irreparable wounds so damaging they’ve scarred every last tissue of forgiveness. Five of the nine starters from last year’s club have been replaced with newcomers. Remember the devastating power duo of Jack Cust and Milton Bradley?
They’ve been replaced with the intriguing combo of Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero. How about the worn-out bats of Jack Wilson and Adam Kennedy? Plug in the red-hot Kyle Seager and perhaps a revitalized Chone Figgins and you’ve got yourself something watchable at the very least.
The transformation happened swiftly, but this team is the sleeker, younger Mariners.
Call them the Mariners 2.0.
You can’t expect seven runs a game out of this bunch, but they are a group that will at least add excitement to the listless and lethargic lineup of last season. It’s a refreshing change Mariners fans have been in desperate thirst for.
Before the season Mariners Head Coach Eric Wedge emphasized the fact that this team will hit:
“I’m sticking my neck out a little bit, and I don’t mind doing it — I feel this should be the year we really take a significant step forward offensively.” Wedge said. “We’ve had some down years, but we have a lot of talent in our lineup. Right now, we’re just scratching the surface, but as we settle in, you’re going to see that these young men are going to be a very good offensive ballclub.”
Now I’m not sure how much you want to read into a coach’s take on his team, but frankly I think Wedge has a point. As it stands, the middle of the order hasn’t made much of an impact at all, and yet the team continues to hit.
Though I might be falling into the pitfall of early-season optimism, I feel this new-look lineup can provide more of a spark going forward. They aren’t going to bash the ball like the Rangers or Yankees, but they might just have the right blend of meticulously savvy hitters to keep things interesting in what has been deemed another ‘rebuilding’ season.