So much for the experts.
Or, maybe, the experts were right but the players got it wrong.
Either way, this season for the Mariners or the Rangers has not gone as predicted by those who know and predict these things for a living, or even by people who do this for a hobby.
The Mariners won 90 games last season. They were in the playoff picture until the last few days of season. It was a magical season for a team that has the longest playoff drought in all major league sports. But the magic fell just short.
Seattle has young stars, they signed some top free agents, and traded for All-Star-level talent. So, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion this team would finally break that awful streak. Experts had them as a dead lock to make the playoffs.
The Rangers, on the other hand, won 60 games. That means they finished 30 games behind the Mariners. Who finished in second. And didn’t make the playoffs.
The Rangers made some off-season moves as well. But finishing 42 games under .500 is an impossible hole to crawl out of in one season. Experts had them better than last year. A fourth-place team. But much of that was due to Oakland’s decision to tank. It’s hard to be worse than a team deliberately trying to lose.
Yet, here we are. June 3. The Rangers are in third and have been a pleasant surprise. The Mariners are in fourth and have been a bitter disappointment. The two teams played a three-game series in Seattle in early April when the Rangers were struggling. They lost two of three.
Now, the Rangers are putting it together. And the Mariners are digging a grave. Now, they play three in the Rangers ballpark. It’s Texas’s chance to throw more dirt on Seattle’s coffin. And Seattle’s chance to start turning it around.
And the experts’ chance to be wrong again.