The Mariners have not had the most solid start to their 2014 campaign, which has led to fans saying that these guys are the “Same ‘ol Mariners” from years before. Personally, I think that this statement is completely baseless and inaccurate. While it is true that the Mariners have not started at their best, I feel that it is tooearly to relate them to the team in years past. There have been a number of problems that the Ms have had to deal with early that have hindered their results.
The biggest problem has been the starting pitching situation. Going into spring training, the starting pitching rotation looked really strong. However, there have been a number of injuries to the staff that has caused the team to lose three of their five starting pitchers. The first was Hisashi Iwakuma. Iwakuma was the second runner-up to the American League Cy Young Award in the 2013 season, so people expected him to come back this year and bring a dominating force to the rotation right behind King Felix Hernandez. However, he hurt a ligament in his hand during spring training, and has been on the disabled list ever since.
The next has been young starter James Paxton. He started the season with a strong outing against the Angels but got a lat injuryduring his next start on the Mariners’ home opener. The last is young starter Taijuan Walker. Walker was supposed to be a solid addition to the rotation this year, but got injured in spring training and has not yet returned from the DL.
With the Mariners having to improvise with the rest of their rotation, this has made it hard for them to get a good start on the season.
Another big problem the Mariners have had this season is in the relief pitching staff. The relief staff has not been holding leads, which led to games being lost in the latter innings. The addition of closer Fernando Rodney to the staff was supposed to give a solid closer while leaving previous closers Tom Wilhelmsen and Danny Farquhar to strengthen the bullpen. This combination has not been working out 100 percent, but it is getting better.
There are other problems, like the offense, but I expect those to sortthemselves out more as the season progresses. I do not feel it is right to classify this team as the “Same ‘ol Mariners” with having a ton of injuries to the starting rotation and a struggling bullpen. When the starters come back from injury, I expect this team to get a lot stronger. With a record of 11-14 in the first month with these problems, this is a good sign that they can get even better and win more games as players come back from injury.