With nearly three months gone in the 2021 MLB season, it’s time to weed out the pretenders from the contenders.
There are a handful of teams hanging around in the playoff mix who realistically have very little chance of getting in.
Today, we are going to evaluate two of those teams.
Could these two MLB clubs be in danger of falling out of relevancy before the month of June ends?
2. Seattle Mariners
Seattle Mariners fans were hopeful going into the 2021 season that the team could perhaps sneak into the playoffs, but most neutral MLB fans considered that possibility a long-shot.
The results so far have been somewhere in between, as the Mariners’ 38-36 record has the team fighting to stay in the playoff picture in late June.
It’s going to be an uphill battle for Seattle to survive the summer.
The team’s most recent dilemma is the fact that Justin Dunn will be on the shelf with a shoulder injury for at least a couple of weeks.
Talked with Justin Dunn today. He said he woke up with normal soreness in his shoulder and didn't feel any additional pain. He was placed on the IL today. There's no timeline at this point for his return.
— Jen Mueller (@JenTalksSports) June 19, 2021
Dunn has been one of the most reliable rotation arms for the Mariners this season, posting a 3.75 ERA through 11 starts.
The team’s bullpen woes are no help, as Seattle has a 4.18 reliever ERA, ranking 19th in MLB.
After Monday’s games, the Mariners are six-and-a-half games out of first place in the American League West and five-and-a-half games out of a Wild Card spot.
Their season is far from over, but it’s going to be a tough climb.
1. Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies fans are growing increasingly frustrated with the team’s inability to crack the postseason despite a talented roster.
Those frustrations are extremely valid, and it looks like the 2021 season is in danger of becoming another disappointing one.
The only thing that kept the Phillies in the playoff mix this long was an extremely weak National League East division, but the New York Mets are finally starting to create some separation at the top.
If that trend continues, the Phillies’ playoff hopes could die before we know it.
After Monday’s games, the Phillies’ 34-35 record has the team four full games back of first place.
That distinction belongs to Zack Wheeler, who has a 2.15 ERA, 2.44 FIP, and 0.93 WHIP across 14 starts.
And the Top-10 pitchers so far are…
10. Trevor Rogers
9. Max Scherzer
8. Walker Buehler
7. Carlos Rodon
6. Zack Wheeler
5. Trevor Bauer
4. Brandon Woodruff
3. Gerrit Cole
2. Kevin Gausman
1. Jacob deGrom
— Todd Zola (@ToddZola) June 22, 2021
Wheeler aside, Philadelphia doesn’t have another starter with an ERA below 4.00.
You aren’t going to get very far with a staff like that.
The face of the franchise is Harper, and he is under contract all the way until 2032, but there is knowing telling how many prime years he has left.
Could be nine, could be three.
This can’t turn into another Mike Trout-esque situation where a generational talent is wasted.
The two teams we discussed are at opposite ends of the spectrum despite their similar 2021 seasons.
The Mariners are a rebuilding club with a bright future.
The fact that the team is still in the playoff mix at this point in the season is a win.
Seattle is ahead of schedule.
The Phillies, on the other hand, are not where they should be.
The team is in danger of missing the playoffs for the 10th time in as many seasons despite adding all sorts of talent in recent years.
There’s very little reason to be optimistic about the Phillies right now.