The Seattle Mariners began the second half of the season with a 41-48 record, far below the level of play expected from them before the year began.
Despite their disappointing results thus far in 2015, manager Lloyd McClendon remained as upbeat as ever regarding his club on Friday, before they opened a three-game series with the Yankees in New York.
As Howard Megdal of USA Today Sports wrote, McClendon stressed the ability to put the first half in the rear view mirror: "One of the things I pointed out to the club is that we had a bad first half. One of the great things about the second half is you can put the first half behind you. It’s like a new beginning."
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McClendon even called the M’s first half struggles a stroke of fortune, considering the context in which they sit in the standings: "I think if you really look at the big picture, we’ve been very fortunate. We haven’t played baseball that’s amounted to much of anything in the first half. To be where we are, and still within striking distance, not only in our division but certainly the wild card, we’re very fortunate."
The balance of how good the Mariners ‘should’ be and how good they have been has been a narrative around the team all season long. That they wound up losing two of three to the Yankees this past weekend and enter play Monday in a virtual tie with the Oakland Athletics for last place in the AL West doesn’t help their place in the standings, though. If anything, it emphasizes just how much the Mariners need to get on a roll and dig themselves out of the whole they’ve dug.
Slugger Nelson Cruz, as quoted by Megdal, still believes in his club’s ability to rise to the occasion: "We’ve played much better the last few weeks. And we expect, in the second half, to be a lot more consistent. We have pitching, we have offense, and we have a great bullpen. We just need to put it all together."
It’s getting to the point that the Mariners need to make good on all this promise and start winning games.