If you're one of the many that wrote the Seattle Mariners off weeks (months?) ago, you may have missed the fact that over last few weeks, they've been playing arguably the best stretch of baseball in the Major Leagues. As recently as six weeks ago, the M's had the worst record in the American League, were tied for the worst home-record in the Majors, and were scoring about as frequently as a bed-wetter at a home-schoolers convention.
Over the last month and a half, however, Seattle has gone 25-12, good for the best record in baseball over that stretch. There are still a lot of folks who don't believe in the Mariners' chances at a playoff spot (currently 7 games out), and likely even more that still think of them as a crappy team in general, but I am not one of them. The Mariners played a really bad three-and-a-half months of bad, mostly boring baseball and, consequently, slipped completely off the radar of all but the most die-hard fan.
For those of you who have stuck with them, however, your patience is being rewarded. Instead of toddling toward another top five draft pick, the Mariners have put together a remarkable run highlighted by consistent pitching, sensational defense, and ~gasp~ timely hitting. It's a win binge that no sane human could see coming, and yet here they sit: hotter than Channing Tatum on eating salsa in a solar flare and within shouting distance of a Wild Card spot.
What follows is a series of facts about the Mariners, presented (mostly) without commentary.
~Prior to July 26th, the Mariners had played 48 games at Safeco Field
~They won 19 of those games.
~Since July 26th, the Mariners have played 16 games at Safeco Field.
~They have won 15 of those games.
~I still believe everything I said HERE.
~In 2012 the Mariners' UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating, a widely-used defensive metric) is #1 in the Major Leagues.
~The Mariners make one error every one hundred fielding chances they have.
~Their .990 Fielding % is also #1.
~Brendan Ryan has the highest UZR of any infielder in baseball.
~There are only six shortstops whose UZR is even half of Ryan's 13.3
~Dustin Ackley has the 2nd-highest UZR among Major League second basemen.
~Many scouts said there was no way Ackley could stick at second base in the bigs.
~The Mariners have allowed 2.05 runs/game over their last 37 games.
~It's not even close.
~Seattle has played the 5th-hardest schedule in the Majors.
~They have outscored their opponents by six runs overall. For the season.
~The Mariners have two 8-game winning streaks. In the past month.
~The next nine items on this list (10 if you count this one) will be about Felix Hernandez.
~Felix Hernandez leads the Majors in innings pitched.
~His WAR (Wins Above Replacement) rating is 1st among all pitchers.
~Felix Hernandez leads the American League in FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching, a metric that I, and many others, believe is far more indicative of performance than ERA).
~He's 2nd in ERA.
~When Felix won the Cy Young Award in 2010, his FIP was 3.04
~His FIP in 2012 is 2.83
~Over his last nine starts, Felix is 6-0 with a 1.38 ERA
~Felix Hernandez threw a perfect game.
~Felix Hernandez is a Seattle Mariner.
~Over the last six weeks, the Mariners have won roughly 68% of their games with a roster that contains Miguel Olivo (-0.1 WAR), Munenori Kawasaki (-0.2), Justin Smoak (-1.0), and Chone Figgins (-1.0).
~A negative WAR means a player is performing worse than the established standard worthy of occupying a Major League roster.
~John Jaso has an OBP (On-Base %) of .403 and a WAR of 2.6.
~Miguel Olivo has an OBP of .232 and a WAR of -0.1.
~John Jaso has 33 fewer at bats than Miguel Olivo this season.
~The Mariners have the worst On Base % in the Major Leagues.
~Eric Wedge apparently values things differently than I do.
~The Mariners have two pitchers (Jason Vargas, Felix) in the top 10 in the AL in both WHIP (Walks+Hits allowed per Inning Pitched) and OBA (Opponents' Batting Average).
~Seattle's pitching staff ranks in the top 3 in the AL in ERA (3rd), WHIP (2nd), OBA (2nd), Walks Allowed % (1st).
~The M's are scoring over 4.6 runs/game on the road.
~Only seven teams are averaging at least 4.6 runs/game on the season, overall.
~The Red Sox' payroll is $174.5 million. The Phillies' is $173.2 million. The Mariners' payroll is less than half of either of those teams' ($81.9 mil).
~The Mariners have the 7th youngest team in the Majors, despite carrying Kevin Millwood.
~Things are looking up.
~You should start paying attention to this team again.
~There's still plenty of room at The Safe.
See you in September.