- The Mariners have rocketed up the odds to win the AL Pennant after opening the season 6-1
- Seattle also enjoyed a strong start in 2018 before tumbling out of contention late in the campaign
- Offseason personnel changes indicate that the Mariners’ focus is on the future, and not short-term success
The Seattle Mariners have emerged as the early surprise of the young 2019 MLB season. Bolstered by solid performances from their starting rotation and offense that has jumped to the early lead in an array of MLB team standings, the Mariners have made rapid gains on the MLB futures during a 6-1 start.
The club has seen its average odds to win the American League Pennant go from +5200 on March 25th to +2800 on April 1st across a number of top online sportsbooks.
2019 American League Pennant Odds
|Team||Odds to Win 2019 AL Pennant at Bovada|
|New York Yankees||+280|
|Boston Red Sox||+365|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+1100|
*Odds taken 04/02/19
Hot Bats, Steady Pitching Fueling Mariners’ Fast Start
The Mariners have been red-hot at the plate during their hottest start to a season since opening the 2009 campaign on a 7-2 run. Seattle leads the Majors in runs, hits, doubles, and home runs in the early going.
Seattle leads the Majors in runs, hits, doubles, and home runs in the early going.
And while part of their early-season dominance on the stats can be attributed to an early start to their schedule, the Mariners numbers remain impressive, with the club’s batters racking up over 7.7 runs scored per game.
6-3 win vs the Angels for the Mariners.
5+ runs in all 7.
A HR in all 7.
Felix Hernandez – 5.1, 7 H, 1 ER, 4 K
— Jarom Jordan (@jaromjordan) April 2, 2019
Seattle’s starters have been steady, earning the decision in five of the club’s first six victories, capped by a promising 5.1-inning, one-run performance by veteran Felix Hernandez in Monday’s 6-3 win over the visiting Los Angeles Angels.
Mariners Enjoying Success Despite Offseason Fire Sale
The Mariners’ solid start out of the gate marks a dramatic turnaround after the club endured a brutal second half to last season, going 31-38 over their final 69 contests, erasing a promising start, and spurring an offseason fire sale that left the club in rebuild mode heading into 2019.
It was a tough offseason for fans of the Seattle #Mariners, as the club unexpectedly embarked on a drastic winter fire sale. Do they have enough talent remaining to reach the postseason in 2019?https://t.co/rFdTHG1gzJ
— SportsBettingDime (@SBD) March 24, 2019
Veterans that left town over the winter include Robinson Cano, James Paxton, Nelson Cruz, Edwin Diaz, Jean Segura, and Mike Zunino. In addition to stocking the prospect shelf, reinforcements arrived in the form of sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Jay Bruce, and Japanese pitching sensation Yusei Kikuchi.
Yusei Kikuchi, Nasty Back Foot Slider. 😨
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 30, 2019
Kikuchi has fulfilled the promise in his first two MLB starts, despite failing to earn a decision, surrendering just three earned runs over 10.2 innings of work, while Encarnacion and Bruce have combined to go long on four occasions.
Are the Mariners a Legitimate Playoff Threat?
But are the Mariners a legitimate threat to challenge for their first AL pennant in their 43-year history? That will be a tough order to fill.
The Houston Astros have endured a slow start but remain the team to beat in the AL West. Winners of over 100 games in each of the past two seasons, the Astros return to action largely healthy, and perched as massive -600 favorites to win the division, and join the New York Yankees as +280 co-favorites on the odds to win the AL Pennant.
The Rays take 3 of 4 games from the Astros to start the season thanks to a 3-RBI day from Austin Meadows!
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 31, 2019
With more realistic sights set on a wild card, the Mariners still face a daunting task just to reach the MLB Postseason. The Boston Red Sox have endured a slow start, complicated by losses in three of four meetings with the Mariners to open their schedule. However, with their World Series-winning lineup largely intact, Boston is a leading candidate to claim at least a wild card, if not outpace the Yankees in the AL East.
The Mariners still face a daunting task just to reach the MLB Postseason.
It will likely be a crowded field chasing the second AL Wild Card. The Oakland A’s will be looking to build on a surprising 97-win campaign in 2018. Sensing the time is now to challenge the Cleveland Indians in the weak AL Central, the Minnesota Twins made a number of short-term signings over the winter, including Nelson Cruz, while the Tampa Bay Rays have shown signs of keeping up with the powerhouses in the AL East during a 4-1 start.
Key pieces of the Mariners rebuild (prospects wise)
OF: Kyle Lewis, Jarred Kelenic, Julio Rodriguez
IF: Evan White, JP Crawford, Shed Long
SP: Justus Sheffield, Justin Dunn
— The Seattle 9 (@Seattle_09) March 11, 2019
Continued steady performances from veterans like Encarnacion, Bruce, Hernandez, and Domingo Santana, will be key to the Mariners’ fortunes this season. However, the addition of promising youngsters like Shed Long, Justus Sheffield, and JP Crawford indicate the club’s focus is on the future, leaving them unlikely to make the last-season moves required to mount a legitimate run for the AL Pennant despite how they are faring in the standings.
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