Monday, May 6, 2024

Bryce Upon a Rotation


A first place team whose starting pitchers allow 1 or less runs per game. I'd say that's pretty good.

There's been this narrative the past few years, 'what do the Mariners need to do to get past the Astros/Rangers', and it's always been nearly insurmountable. Every year it's 'they didn't hit well enough' or 'they ran out of steam late' or 'they just didn't have the roster depth'. Last year was kinda depressing, because they were right there, had the team for it, had the Astros on the ropes, and because of the lopsided schedules of both teams, the Astros ended the season in 1st place with a team that didn't really deserve it.

And now here we are, a Mariners team that's ahead of the Astros AND Rangers thanks to having the best rotation on the AL, some great hitting from people who didn't look like the heroes heading into this year, and one of the best bullpens in the game right now. I'm kinda surprised it's taken off like this, but I'm insanely relieved. 

Bryce Miller, after an incredible start to his career last year, has been responsible for some of the Mariners' best starts of the year. Famously, he held one of the best teams in baseball, the Atlanta Braves, to zero hits for the majority of the game. Right now he's got a 2.61 ERA with 42 Ks in 7 games. It was clear that with no Robbie Ray or Marco Gonzales this year, the brunt of the work would land on Miller's shoulders, and he's taken it like a pro. I think Mariners fans thought George Kirby would be in the spot Miller's in, and while Kirby's been a lot better recently, I think Miller has, and deserves, a big role in this team's rotation going forward. 

But yes, having Luis Castillo, George Kirby and Emerson Hancock leveling their ERAs by just refusing to give up runs. There was a stat the other day where they've allowed 20 runs in their last 20 games, and that's insane. That's...extraterrestrial behavior. And add Andres Munoz still being a great closer and the bullpen rarely missing. Nobody can really hit this team right now.

Which does make things difficult for the rest of the team, seeing as, besides Cal Raleigh, Josh Rojas and I guess Julio, not a lot of these guys are hitting. Polanco and Haniger are producing, yes, but not hitting. Garver wasn't worth the deal, at least so far. There's not a lot of offensive production, and while people can show up enough to make this a 1st place team, the pitching is doing most of the work. And that is not ideal, especially considering Julio Rodriguez is here. I dunno, maybe he'll heat up as we go, but it's worrying.

I'd love for the Mariners to stay in 1st for a while, even if feasibly the Rangers are probably the better team. The Ms rotation might still be unbeatable, though, and will guide them a long way if they all hold up.

Coming Tomorrow- A World Series hero struggling to get his team out of the doldrums of the division.

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