A World Series winner can be the blueprint for Mariners

Jul 10, 2024, 12:07 PM

Seattle Mariners Julio Rodriguez San Francisco Giants 2023...

Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners bats against the San Francisco Giants in 2023. (Kavin Mistry/Getty Images)

(Kavin Mistry/Getty Images)

The first-place Seattle Mariners find themselves in a unique situation, with a dominant starting rotation that’s among the best in baseball and sputtering lineup that’s among the worst.

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In recent MLB history, has a similar type of team ever been able to make a deep run in October? Guest host Ryan Rowland-Smith posed that question to MLB Network colleague Jon Morosi during Tuesday’s edition of Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob.

Morosi pointed to the 2010 World Series champion San Francisco Giants, whose elite starting rotation of Madison Bumgarner, Jonathan Sánchez, Matt Cain, Barry Zito and former UW Huskies star Tim Lincecum carried the team to October glory. Mariners fans might hear some striking similarities to those Giants based on Morosi’s recollection.

“Duane Kuiper on the Giants broadcast famously called it torture,” Morosi said. “The classic score of that entire season was 1-0. It was Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, Jonathan Sánchez, Barry Zito sometimes – and they were winning games 1-0 and 2-1.

“They were, to be fair, a better offensive team than the Mariners are … but they were winning games with Lincecum dominance and then the occasional homer from (Buster) Posey or (Aubrey) Huff or Pat Burrell. And that was basically how they won. They did not have what I would describe as a fully functional offense, and they were World Series champions.”

The 2010 Giants led the majors with a 3.36 ERA and ranked fourth with a 1.27 WHIP. The 2024 Mariners, meanwhile, currently rank third in the majors with a 3.54 ERA and have an MLB-best 1.08 WHIP.

As Morosi mentioned, while the 2010 Giants were not a good offensive team, they were still better than the 2024 Mariners have been. They ranked 17th in runs per game, 15th in batting average, 19th in on-base percentage, 13th in slugging percentage and 17th in OPS. The Mariners are currently 27th in runs per game, 30th in batting average, 26th in on-base percentage, 28th in slugging percentage and 28th in OPS.

However, the 2010 Giants could provide a roadmap for what level of offensive production the Mariners need to truly contend for the World Series. With the Mariners’ elite starting rotation, they don’t need an elite offense. But as the 2010 Giants showed, Seattle likely does need an offense that’s producing somewhere near league-average.

“The pitching of that (Giants) team was great, and that’s why they won the World Series,” Morosi said. “The pitching of this (Mariners) team, if you line them up, they’re gonna be able to beat starter for starter just about any team in baseball. So you’ve got that piece. In some ways, you’ve figured out the hard part. Now you’ve just gotta bring in (hitters).

“Make some moves and go for it, because the moment in time in which your pitching is dominant and healthy is always fleeting. It is fleeting. I don’t know how long it’s gonna last, but it won’t be forever. … They’re in a unique spot and they’ve got something special with this rotation. Don’t waste it.”

Listen to the full conversation with MLB Network insider Jon Morosi at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. Tune in to Wyman and Bob weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

Seattle Mariners and the trade deadline

• Salk: Mariners have two types of hitters to target at trade deadline
• Insider: Deep, young farm system gives Mariners ammo for deadline
Seattle Mariners Trade Target: A hot-hitting infielder from Reds
• Which prospect is Seattle Mariners’ best trade chip? MLB insider explains
• Could Seattle Mariners lure a star away from Blue Jays in trade?

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