Well, if the Mariners still want to change the course of their season ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, they’ll have a shot at doing so right off the bat as we kick-off the post-All-Star portion of the schedule. As mentioned yesterday, the Mariners this season have the pleasure of 19 games against the Houston Astros — a team on-pace to lose 105 games this season.
The Astros would be on-pace to drop 109 games if not for the Mariners, who somehow have managed to go just 4-5 versus Houston thus far. If that’s ever going to change, now is the time for the Mariners to step up to the — ahem — plate.
This Seattle group have been bouncing around the 8-10 games below .500 mark for two months. One way to jump that gap in a hurry would be to do what it is supposed to — with its three top starters on the mound — in Houston starting tonight. Sweep this series, the Mariners sit six games under .500.
And all of a sudden, there is plenty that can happen from there.
But again, it has to happen soon. The Mariners play a home set against the Cleveland Indians right after and then get the terrible Minnesota Twins for a four-game weekend set.
Going 8-2 against those three clubs I just mentioned is hardly inconceivable.
That would get the Mariners to three games under .500 with just a couple of days to go before the trade deadline.
Three games under with two months to go changes the entire outlook of the season. Right now, at nine under .500, it doesn’t seem all that possible. And it won’t be if the Mariners make it to August still in a mode that sees them seven or eight under. The schedule in August gets plenty tough and it won’t be as simple to whittle off those games below the break even mark.
But right now? I can’t put it any nicer. The Astros are on-pace to lose 105. The Twins have just a .375 winning percentage away from home (a 102-loss pace over a 162-game schedule).
The Mariners all year have looked for a winning streak to offset the eight losses in a row they suffered back in May after road trips to Cleveland and Anaheim. If not for those, they’d be on about a .500 pace.
Well, this is it. This is their chance. They’ve already won three in a row. Take care of business here — they don’t even have to sweep the Indians — and they have a shot at winning something like 10 or 11 out of 13. Of making up for that one severe losing stretch.
I’m not saying they’re going to do it. All season long, the Mariners have seemed poised to make a run of some sort, only to fall flat.
But, well, they say that now, things are different. So, let’s see it. They can make up a whole lot of ground in a big hurry the next 10 days. Do that, it will give all of us a reason to turn around and start re-evaluating.