The Seattle Mariners entered the season with middling expectations. They were able to snap a historic playoff drought in 2022, qualifying for the postseason for the first time since 2001 before getting swept in the opening round.
But the hope and promise was there, especially with AL Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez bursting onto the scene. They were the favorites to win the AL West coming into the year, and had a +2000 designation for their World Series listing, the 9th-shortest of any MLB team.
The season started off a little slowly. The Mariners were already 4 games under .500 by the end of April, and 5 games back of first place in the West. They middled around the .500 for a couple of months, never threatening the Rangers, or even the Astros, in the division.
And then August hit. Since the calendar turned over from July, the Mariners have gone on two separate 8-game winning streaks. They are 19-5 this month, easily the best mark in the majors, and have made major moves in the division.
After completing the sweep of the Royals on Sunday, Seattle is now in sole possession of first place in the AL West, a game up in the standings on both Texas and Houston. It is not only the first time that they’ve been in first place all season, but also the latest they’ve been on top in any season since 2003.
The oddsmakers have taken notice, but are still placing them behind their rivals for World Series odds. The Mariners have shot up to a designation of +1100, which are the 7th shortest of any team. But two of the ones ahead of them are indeed the Rangers and Astros, who come in with lines of +800 and +850.
Seattle will have a chance to keep things rolling in the coming days. They’ll face off against the lowly A’s to begin this week, and a potential sweep would give them 14 wins in 15 games. But things get a bit more difficult after that, as the Mariners will hit the road to start September, playing the Mets, Reds, and Rays in the span of 10 days.