Mariners Update: AL West lead shrinks ahead of tough series

Jul 1, 2024, 4:16 PM

Seattle Mariners AL West standings J.P. Crawford...

J.P. Crawford of the Seattle Mariners fields the ball against Minnesota on June 29, 2024. (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

(Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

The 10-game lead the Seattle Mariners had just two weeks ago in the AL West is a distant memory now.

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Seattle’s advantage in the division has shrunk again even with the team off on Monday. The reason? The Houston Astros keep winning.

Houston spoiled the Blue Jays’ annual Canada Day game in Toronto on Monday, winning 3-1 led by six scoreless innings from Hunter Brown and homers from Jeremy Peña and Yordan Álvarez. With the victory, the second-place Astros cut another half-game off of the Mariners’ lead, which is now down to just three games.

Seattle is currently 47-39, while Houston is 43-41 after winning 10 of its last 11 contests.

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The Mariners had a 44-31 record entering June 19, which was 10 games ahead of both Houston and Texas at the time. In the two weeks since, Seattle has scuffled through a 3-8 stretch.

What’s next

Making matters even worse for the M’s is the fact that they’re set to open a tough three-game series Tuesday night against the Baltimore Orioles (53-31), who are tied with the New York Yankees for the lead in both the AL East and the American League as a whole.

Offense has been the main issue for Seattle during its recent swoon. The Mariners have scored more than three runs just three times over their last 11 games, which is in line with prolonged struggles at the plate this season. Seattle ranks near the bottom of MLB in most offensive categories, including last in batting average (.218) and strikeouts (877), meaning its strong pitching staff (first in WHIP, second in opponent batting average and sixth in ERA) has shouldered most of the load to get the M’s to the top of the division.

The Orioles, meanwhile, have both a strong pitching staff and lineup. Baltimore is third in MLB in ERA and fourth in WHIP and opponent average, while the O’s offense is tops in runs scored, home runs, slugging percentage and OPS this season.

As for the Astros, they play three more this week at Toronto (38-46) before wrapping up a road trip with three games against Minnesota (47-37). The Blue Jays, meanwhile, will be in Seattle to play the Mariners from Friday through Sunday for the annual raucous series that always features an influx of fans from western Canada.

More on Seattle Mariners and the AL West

Mariners Breakdown: Storylines after fourth straight series loss
AL West Check-In: Angels star Mike Trout eyes late-July return
MLB insider Jon Morosi reports on Mariners’ trade pursuits
Mariners Injury Update: Bryan Woo, Gabe Speier and more
Seattle Mariners reliever Gregory Santos to begin rehab assignment

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