Are Seattle Mariners for Real? — Most Fans Not Sure Despite 3-0 Start
For the first time since the 1995 "Refuse to Lose" season, the Seattle Mariners are 3-0 to start the season with a sweep of the Angels on the road.
Yes, it's early. Even the Yankees are 0-2, having been tooled by the Houston Astros! But the M's have shown some signs of improvement. Robinson Cano, the high-priced free-agent acquisition from New York has provided a lift to the lineup. This 3-0 start is only the third such liftoff in franchise history.
What has surprised fans and critics alike are the M's ability to score some runs in their sweep of the Angels. Justin Smoak, whom many questioned hitting behind Cano, has delivered with a home run and multiple RBI's so far. He is finally starting to show the form the M's have been waiting for the last two years.
Numerous Mariners are hitting the ball well, and even when they're recording outs, they're hitting the ball hard. Felix Hernandez pitched well in his debut, and although it's early, they appear to be improved.
But because it's early, is it for real? I recall a few seasons ago the Mariners were 39-32 heading towards the All-Star break, and were chasing the A's for the lead in the AL West. They then after the break, proceeded to land themselves on the Top 10 all-time longest MLB losing streak by dropping (I believe) 17-18 straight. And consider this: although Pujols is still a dangerous hitter, Mike Trout hit the ball well and Los Angeles did pick up Dan Haren -- a quality pitcher, the Angels are hardly the caliber of the Red Sox, Oakland A's or Detroit Tigers. The signing of Cano surprised many fans, as the M's have a reputation for penny-pinching often. Last season, besides King Felix, and maybe 2-3 other guys, many baseball experts referred to them as 'the best AAA team in the majors.'
This 3-0 start has brought knee-jerk reactions. Facebook is starting to pop up with "10th Man" logos and posts, where fans are aping the Seahawks 12th Man fan idea. That alone is enough to wish ill-will on the M's. But if you're surprised by 3-0, so are most of the Pacific Northwest.
A poll on Northwest Cable News website shows nearly 85 percent of the some 400 respondents so far clicked "I didn't expect this" of their start. The poll just went up today. We will check on it Friday.
With the Houston Astros taking two games convincingly from the aging Yankees, maybe the order of things in the AL West might tweak. The Astros were the worst team in baseball, they're the only thing that kept the M's out of the cellar.
We will check back around Memorial Day.