Mariners at All-Star Break: Quick look at where Seattle stands

Jul 9, 2023, 3:09 PM

Seattle Mariners...

The Seattle Mariners celebrate after defeating the Houston Astroson July 9, 2023. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The first half of the 2023 MLB season was mostly frustrating for the Seattle Mariners and their fans, but there’s good news: they go into the All-Star break coming off their best stretch of the year.

Sunday: Gilbert, Kelenic help M’s beat Astros 3-1 for big series win

Is it too late for the M’s to get back into the race? Actually, they’re still kinda right in it, and it’s far too soon to write off the Mariners’ hopes of getting back to the postseason for the second year in a row. Not that their 45-44 overall record is going to send shivers down the spines of their competition in the American League playoff race or anything.

Let’s take a quick look at where the Mariners will stand with 73 games left to play when they return to action Friday following the first MLB All-Star Game in Seattle in 22 years.

The standings

With the Mariners’ 45-44 record, they are six games back of the first-place Texas Rangers (53-29) and second-place Houston Astros (50-41) in the American League West. They’re not alone in the middle of the division, as the Los Angeles Angels (45-46) are just a game back of Seattle.

In the race for the AL’s three wild cards, the Mariners are four games out of the last spot. The Baltimore Orioles (54-35) own the top wild card, while Houston and the Toronto Blue Jays are tied for the second and third at 50-41. Both the New York Yankees (49-42) and Boston Red Sox (48-43) are ahead of Seattle in the race.

Click here for the full MLB standings

The latest

Remember how some kept thinking the surprisingly red-hot Rangers would come back down to earth? Well, it may finally be happening. Texas is 5-11 over its last 16 games, and they haven’t won a series since June 19-21 against the White Sox.

Now remember how the Astros and Mariners were expected to be in a battle for the AL West this season? Despite both fighting through injuries to key players, Houston especially, the Astros have shaken off a 17-18 start to go 33-23 since while the M’s have climbed back with three straight series victories against teams in playoff position (Tampa Bay, San Francisco and Houston) to win seven of their last nine.

As long as the M’s can continue with their improved offensive production, it’s looking like it can be a very interesting three-team race in the AL West down the stretch. That means the Aug. 1 MLB trade deadline becomes all that more important as it could mean the difference for the team that makes the best additions.

Which Seattle Mariners are hot?

We have to start with Logan Gilbert, who just had a fantastic week. The third-year starting pitcher tossed his first career complete game and shutout on Tuesday against San Francisco, then turned around Sunday to go seven innings of one-run, three-hit ball to beat Houston. After entering the week with a 4.19 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, he’s driven those numbers all the way down to 3.66 and 0.98, respectively. The WHIP number is second to only Baltimore’s Tyler Wells (0.93) for the MLB lead. Are we sure Gilbert isn’t an All-Star?

Another starting pitcher, George Kirby, has thrown quality starts in five straight outings, and the first-time All-Star is tied for the MLB lead with 14 total this year. He owns a 3.09 ERA and 1.04 WHIP, and he leads baseball in both strikeout per walk ratio (8.90) and walks per nine innings (0.84).

Leadoff man and shortstop J.P. Crawford has looked like a different hitter this season, ranking in the 54th percentile in average exit velocity per Statcast compared to the third percentile in 2022. His eight home runs are only one short of his career-high total, and he’s slugged five of them in his last 18 games. That’s not all, though. Crawford owns the highest on-base percentage (.362) among all shortstops in MLB, and in fact has a 16-point lead over Toronto’s Bo Bichette, who ranks second. He’s also been playing Gold Glove-caliber defense once again.

Tom Murphy may not play every day, but lately when the veteran catcher’s name has been called he’s been up to the task. Over his last eight games, he has a .429/.469/.929 slash for a 1.397 OPS with four home runs, two doubles, three walks, five runs and seven RBI.

Mike Ford has given Seattle a much-needed boost from the designated hitter position, slashing .277/.330/.614 for a .944 OPS with eight home runs in 31 games since being called up from Triple-A. He was especially good over the final seven-game road trip of the first half, going 10 for 23 (.435/.500/.870) with two homers.

What’s next for the Seattle Mariners?

The Seattle Mariners will return to action at 7:10 p.m. Friday when they begin a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers (39-50). That will kick off a 10-game homestand that will also include series against Minnesota (45-46) and Toronto (50-41).

Oh, and there is that whole All-Star business. For more info on that, click here.

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Mariners at All-Star Break: Quick look at where Seattle stands