It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day results of a baseball season. The wins and losses, a pitching line and a batter’s day at the plate. What’s hard is to desensitize yourself to them. To become numb to whether your team wins or loses on a given night and instead appreciate how the players did in clutch situations, the at bats they put together and overall, to see a general level of improvement.
In other words, it’s important to be patient. It’s a mindset that has to be employed when your team is the second youngest in the league and is in clear rebuild mode. This is what it is like to be a Mariners fan these days.
A month into the 2012 season, the Mariners are 13-17 and in third place in the AL West. The team is 12th of 14 AL teams in batting average, in the bottom half of the league in runs scored per game and eighth in ERA.
Clearly, there is still work to be done. Progress is being made, though.
All of those stats are being achieved primarily by rookie and second year players. The hope, obviously, is that they are only getting better with each passing game. Right now, it appears as if that is the case for at least two of the Mariners hitters and perhaps two or three of the pitchers not named Felix Hernandez.
Kyle Seager, 24, and Jesus Montero, 22, are making plays to help the team win games almost on a daily basis. Seager is hitting .298 with an OPS of .830 and a team leading 17 RBI. Meanwhile, Montero is hitting .287 with four homers and 15 RBI as a rookie. With starting catcher Miguel Olivo on the disabled list, Montero is also doing more of the catching and performing admirably.
On the pitching end, Tom Wilhelmsen in the setup role and Lucas Luetge as the lefty specialist are impressing. Both have long term futures with the club in key roles.
So while the team may have lost 7 of its last 9, it’s important to look past the record and see the breakthrough performances. Watch for the players encountering adversity and overcoming it, players developing a solid level of consistency.
It takes time but it’s all happening right before our eyes.