The Seattle Mariners are a little over a week away from wrapping up the first half of the season, and the M’s have taken their fans on a roller coaster ride so far. Countless injuries and stretches of winning streaks followed by losing streaks have toyed with the emotions of their loyal supporters.
KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel says that one of the biggest factors in the up and down stretches is the countless amount of injuries the Mariners have had, especially to their pitching.
Pitcher Drew Smyly was acquired over the offseason, hasn’t pitched a single pitch this year, and has an injury that will keep him out for at least 18 months.
Hisashi Iwakuma also has a lingering injury that could keep him out the rest of the season, and ace Felix Hernandez has already been on the disabled list twice.
Thiel also said that depth is a problem, for multiple reasons. First, when someone gets hurt, they don’t have the quality talent in the minor leagues to replace that person. And second, they don’t have a lot of currency in the way of players to trade to other teams in order to acquire talent.
The Mariners have been fortunate with better than expected offensive play from Mitch Haniger, Ben Gamel, and most recently Mike Zunino to compliment consistent hitting from Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano, but it hasn’t been quite enough to overcome the pitching issues.
Thiel says that he gives the Mariners about a 30 percent chance of winning a very competitive playoff spot, and says that the best chance they have of getting that is by staying healthy, and adding another pitcher to the starting rotation.