With the MLB season fully underway, fans of every team find it their personal duty to overreact to the first few weeks of the season and make judgments on a very long season. The hottest team in the MLB, the Seattle Mariners, currently sit at 13-2, while America’s favorite Chicago Cubs are struggling early at 3-8
So the question remains: are either of these starts important, and will they last?
First the hot-start Mariners. Currently with 117 runs through the teams first 15 games, the Mariners are on pace to score roughly 1,170 runs this season which would surpass the Cleveland Indians 1999 record of 1009 by 161 runs. Basically, their hot offensive start which includes 15 straight games with a homerun, is not sustainable for the M’s.
Pitching wise in 2019, the Mariners sit smack dab in the middle of the pack, which is exactly where they sat in 2018. With the only starting staff change being Yusei Kikuchi, who has a 4.15 ERA through 4 starts so far, the overall body of work for the Mariners looks to turn out about the same in 2019. Additionally, the bullpen has been suspect at best so far this season, using a closer by committee approach and mostly relying on the offense to carry the team to victory. Once the scorching bats cool down, the bullpen most likely will be exposed.
With stars Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano being shipped off to the Mets, the Mariners look more like a team looking to gain experience for their younger players, not one pushing to climb above the AL superpowers. With a AL West division loaded with offense and power from the Astros and A’s, the Mariners hopes of grabbing a playoff spot in the dominant AL are slim.
Now the good ole Chicago Cubs, oh the Cubs. When Joe Maddon is caught on TV cursing out his own bullpen during a game against the Brewers, there is reason for concern. First let me say, this 3-8 start does not signal the end of success, however it does signal a little bit of trouble in paradise. History shows that in baseball, pitching and defense win championships. And while a defense led by superstar and MVP candidate Javy Baez is decent, their pitching has been absolutely awful.
The Cubs in 2018 were top 10 in the MLB in hitting and 3rd in ERA, and so far neither of those have translated to 2019. But many factors still need to be accounted for. Through 11 games in 2018, Chicago was 6-5 losing the series to a lowly Miami team, and winning the series against the Brewers. This start caused a lot of confusion and fear among fans, as there is now, and the team finished 95-68 and made the playoffs, albeit after a depressing finish against the NL Central champion brewers.
With a team that for the most part remained the same from last year to now, Cubs fans should not be overly worried. The lineup will produce a lot of runs without hitting for a lot of average, and the aging rotation and suspect bullpen will do their best to keep the team in games for Javy to slug them to victory. A few deadline moves could throw the Cubs right back into contention for a deep playoff run, so don’t fret. Settle in, grab some popcorn and enjoy 151 more games.