It has been a down, then up, then down again, then up again first half of the season for the Seattle Mariners.
With a 16-year playoff drought hanging over the city's head, the question needs to be asked, 'Do the M's have a shot of making the postseason in 2017?'
First, let's talk about why we should be optimistic. The team has weathered the injury bug with almost all of their best players back.
The offense looks like one of the best in the American League thanks to the 'mean Jean hitting machine' Jean Segura batting almost .350 for the season. Throw in Ben Gamel who is also above .300 and Nelson Cruz plus Robinson Cano who have a combined 34 home runs and 130 RBIs and there's a lot to be excited about here. I haven't even talked about Kyle Seager or Mitch Haniger.
In addition, general manager Jerry Dipoto has publicly said that he is willing to add to the payroll to help the Mariners down the stretch. So, if the M's can fight here in the next couple of weeks, the organization is ready to whatever they can to make this squad reach the promised land.
As for some question marks, there are a couple when talking about pitchers. If James Paxton is healthy and Felix Hernandez can hearken back to the man we all know and love, the team has a solid 1-2 punch, but after that, it gets a bit dicey on a day-in, day-out basis and Hisashi Iwakuma isn't coming back anytime soon.
In addition, the relief pitching, just like the team's success thus far, has been inconsistent as the group has blown the fifth most saves in the league (13) and has an ERA beyond four (4.23).
So, now that we have a breakdown of the team, let's go back to the question at hand, 'Do the M's have a shot of making the postseason in 2017?'
The answer is yes, but don't get your hopes up too much.
With the Astros a lock to win the AL West, the website Fangraphs has Seattle's wild card chances at just above 10 percent (10.8%).
The team might be only four games out of a playoff spot, but the team is still tied with Baltimore and behind the Rangers, Angels, Royals, Twins, Yankees and Rays. So, yes, four games isn't a lot, but there's a long way to go.
In the scheduling department, 43 of their final 72 games are against teams below .500, which would be good if not for the fact that 40 of their final 72 games are away from Safeco Field.
So in conclusion, keep the faith Mariners fans, anything can happen with so many games left in the season, but it's very clear that if the team doesn't stop its turbulent roller coaster ride soon, that 16-year drought could be 17 in the not so distant future.
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