Is it human nature to overreact?
Perhaps it didn’t used to be. Perhaps older generations of baseball fans truly live by the “It’s a marathon, not a race”. Perhaps patience is just something that comes with age, and wisdom.
It’s easy to sit here and think “Here we go again” after watching the last two games. Much has been made of the Mariners newly revamped offense. After struggling with a lefty heavy lineup in 2014, the offseason was dedicated to adding some right-handed balance. Insert Nelson Cruz, Rickie Weeks, and Justin Ruggiano. Yet we watch C.J. Wilson—an average yet serviceable pitcher—blank the Mariners over eight dominant innings. We watch Hisashi Iwakuma drag his end of year struggles into the 2015 season. We saw Nelson Cruz completely ignore the boundaries of the strike zone in order to force a rally. Okay, so it’s human nature to overreact; but let’s not.
The baseball season is five days old. For those of you that struggle with math, the Mariners have 159 games left on the board. Did the Mariners look great these past three games? No certainly not, but neither has the rest of baseball. There have been 13 shutouts so far this season. The pitching has been great, the weather is cold and offense continues its sport wide downward trend. This team is going to be just fine. The offense has produced seven runs in its three games. The Mariners won a game in which their coveted 3-5 hitters combined for one hit. Cano, Cruz, and Zunino have yet to homer and we have yet to see Walker or Happ make their first starts this season. There is plenty to be positive about; one just has to be willing to.
This really is a good baseball team. Am I ready to proclaim a World Series berth as much of the National Media has? No and neither should you. You’ve earned the right to wait and see. You earned that right by sticking with this team 2002-present. You earned it by watching some of the most limp, anemic offenses in the history of baseball. You earned it by tuning in to any game in which Miguel Batista or Carlos Silva started, hoping and praying they’d find a way to win. It’s okay to be cautious, it’d be hard for anyone to expect otherwise. But let us keep a level head. The M’s always look good on opening day. A nine-game win streak and having Felix Hernandez open of the season for you will do that.
Looking forward, the Mariners April consist of series against the Athletics, Dodgers, Astros, Rangers, and Twins. While assuming wins against any team is never a good idea, the Mariners have a competitive edge against three of the five. Now, coming out of Oakland and Los Angeles unscathed is no easy task, but if they can manage they will put themselves in a pretty good position to take advantage of a relatively easy schedule to start the season. As a matter of fact, even if the Mariners lose the series against both Oakland and Los Angeles they can still escape the month with a winning record as long as they take two of three from the rest of the series they play in April.
Still feeling the uncontrollable desire to toss your dedication to the Mariners in the trash?
It’s a long season. The next month will come to wipe away the last. Hot streaks will end and new ones will begin. Mental resets occur. Come July we’ll all feel silly about our reaction to this first series of the season. At least we all hope we will. Go Mariners.