Postgame Spread
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Monday, August 28, 2006

Inside the M's record    

Leading off his piece about the Mariners' sweep of Boston this weekend, Jeff over at Lookout Landing noted:

In the words of a Yankees fan I know: "Imagine what you could do if your team could win one of those 60 some divisional games!"

Yep. Record against non-AL West opponents: 51-37, a .580 winning percentage, which would be good for 1st in the AL West and the thick of the Wild Card hunt. You could make a similar but much more depressing kind of statement (and many people have) about what the record of this team would be without our evisceration of the NL West during interleague play, but consider this:

The only non AL-West teams against which the Mariners have a losing record are Detroit (1-5) and Minnesota (3-5). The record against Toronto and NYY is tied, but would be a winning one in both cases if the world were either fair (7/19 vs. NYY: insane referee call vs. plus exactly one pitcher, our ace closer, having to pitch in a crazy thunderstorm resulting in his first blown save in three months) or sane (7/14-16 vs. TOR: Hargrove bullpen insanity that lost one or maybe both games against Toronto in our losing series against them). And we have a winning record against the rest of the AL. Only upcoming series' against Toronto and Chicago have a reasonable likelihood of changing that, and a winning record against the AL East is now guaranteed.

So, I think it's the record against the AL West, not the NL West, that really stands out here. Most of that is a horrible, horrible matchup problem against Oakland that is probably compounded by team-wide panic about playing them, but it has me wondering...is there something about the Mariners that is particularly easy to exploit for teams that are especially familiar with them? We're a team of free-swingers, but everyone knows that. Our starting pitching has been pretty shaky, but how many times have the teams of the AL East and Central seen Jamie Moyer, or Gil Meche, or Jarrod Washburn? Plenty, right?

So, any ideas? Is there any reason the M's would be particularly vulnerable against their own division? Regardless, I find this more encouraging than discouraging, small sample size theatre though it may be. With a couple of smart acquisitions this offseason, I think the M's are as well positioned to contend in 2007 and beyond as I have all year. Since we're now sure to be rid of this guy.

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