Why Mariners are in position to ‘separate’ themselves in AL West

Jun 5, 2024, 12:04 PM | Updated: 12:21 pm

Seattle Mariners players celebrate after a win...

Seattle Mariners players celebrate after beating the Los Angeles Angels during a 2024 game. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

(Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

The first two months of the MLB season are in the books, and the Seattle Mariners have the largest cushion of any American League divisional leader.

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The Mariners (35-27) are a season-high eight games above .500 and 5 1/2 games in front of the second-place Texas Rangers. Their division lead on the first of the month marked the first time that had happened in June in 21 years. So it’s been a pretty successful start for a franchise that’s made just one playoff appearance in the past 22 years, especially when considering the offensive woes and the fact the Mariners entered Tuesday having played MLB’s seventh-toughest schedule, per ESPN’s Relative Power Index.

There’s reason to believe Seattle could extend its AL West lead even further during the month of June, as ROOT Sports Mariners color analyst Mike Blowers explained Tuesday when he joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob.

“Their first couple of months was pretty tough, especially when they had to go back east for 10 days (a trip that included the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles),” Blowers said. “… But the encouraging part for me is just looking at the schedule and the way it’s turning. They have an opportunity to really separate themselves over here in the next month of June.”

An easier road ahead?

The Mariners’ schedule is indeed lightening up considerably. It started with their three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels, who hold the worst record in the AL West. Now they’re in the midst of a 10-game stretch that began Tuesday against the Oakland Athletics (24-38) and ends with four games against the Chicago White Sox. Chicago is an MLB-worst 15-45 and on pace to win less than 50 games.

Seattle also plays three games later this month against the Miami Marlins, the holder of the National League’s worst record at 21-40. Other below-.500 teams on the June schedule include the Rangers (29-32) and Tampa Bay Rays (30-31). In total, 18 of Seattle’s 27 June games are against teams with below .500 records.

Additionally, the Mariners have the softest remaining schedule in MLB for the rest of the season, per Tankathon.

Wyman and Bob co-host Bob Stelton asked Blowers how players view stretches like the current 10-game one Seattle is on, and if they feel they need to win a certain number of games.

“They’re aware of their schedule. They know what’s in front of them, and I think they’re probably excited about the opportunity,” Blowers said. “But on a day-to-day basis, they’re not thinking that way at all. I think in the short term, they’re thinking about winning this series.”

Listen to the full conversation with color analyst and former Mariners third baseman Mike Blowers at this link our in the audio player near the top of this story. Tune in to Wyman and Bob weekdays from 2-6 p.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

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