The first 31 games show the Mariners have some major holes in their game, but there’s a lot of season left for them to repair what’s wrong.

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There’s a good baseball team lurking within the Mariners, struggling to get out.

This competent, competitive squad appears every so often, rubs its eyes from the glaring sunlight, and retreats back into darkness.

Lloyd McClendon’s job, of course, is to coax the better side of the Mariners into consistent view. All that those occasional forays have done so far is tantalize fans into thinking that the frustrating early-season malaise has finally ended. Then, boom, the next day there’s another defensive lapse, or shaky outing by the starter, or bullpen meltdown, or offensive failure. And the frustration bursts forth again.

Last weekend’s sweep of Oakland is another murky signpost for the Mariners — either the long-awaited catapult to expected contention, or another case of false hope.

The good news is that the season is still young, a proviso that gets wearisome but is nevertheless relevant. The Mariners have played 31 games, which is 19 percent of their season. Not insignificant, but not nearly as meaningful as the 81 percent still to come.

Ask the 2002 Angels, who started out 6-14. Or the 2003 Marlins, who started out 19-29. Or the 2005 Astros, who started out 15-30. Or the 2007 Rockies, who started out 18-27. All those teams made it to the World Series, and the Angels and Marlins won it.

Of course, the vast majority of teams who start poorly also finish poorly. But what the Mariners have going for them is that their division appears filled with flawed teams (and sorry, I’m not yet ready to buy into the Astros, the one team above .500 — actually .600 — in the AL West).

The second wild-card also props up slow-starting teams, requiring much less robust of a revival. The Mariners, for instance, entered Monday’s off day three games under .500 and yet just 3½ games out of a playoff berth. They are one hot spurt away from being in the thick of the postseason race (and one extended slide away from digging themselves an insurmountable hole).

The not-so-good news is that the first six weeks of the season have highlighted some Mariners flaws that have to be addressed. There are good reasons they have a 2-11 record against winning teams:

• Much of my preseason optimism was predicated on Taijuan Walker and James Paxton taking a big step forward and becoming upper-echelon starters. Both have had their moments but have been far too inconsistent.

The still-wondrous Felix Hernandez remains elite, and J.A. Happ has been a pleasant surprise. Throw in a lat injury to Hisashi Iwakuma that has him out until at least June, however, and Seattle’s starting rotation is more precarious than expected. It still could, and should, turn into a strength over the long haul.

• I expected a bullpen regression, but not this much. The relievers’ earned-run average stands at 3.74, 12th among American League teams after being the lowest in the majors last season (2.59). McClendon believes the return of Tom Wilhelmsen from a month on the DL will help stabilize the pen. We’ll see.

• Somehow, the Mariners have managed to add two huge bats to the lineup the past two offseasons and yet not appreciably improve their ability to score runs.

With Robinson Cano added to the fold last year, they scored a mere 10 more runs (634) than they did in 2013. And with Nelson Cruz going ballistic so far in 2015, they’re on pace to score 611 — a decline of 23 runs from last year.

What’s gone wrong? Neither Cano nor Kyle Seager has caught fire yet, for starters. Cano has driven in 10 runs — just two more than Yasmani Grandal had in one game last week. Seager is sitting at .246 with an on-base-plus-slugging (OPS) of .693, nearly 100 points below last season.

You figure those two are going to get hot soon (and Cano is hitting .421 over his last five games), but the Mariners have other gaping holes that won’t be so easily repaired.

They still are getting no production from the designated-hitter spot — a combined .196 average – mainly because Cruz is unexpectedly seeing a majority of his time in right field.

They are getting a .209 average and .266 on-base percentage from the leadoff spot, a .149 average from their catchers (with Mike Zunino striking out in 41 percent of his at-bats), and .235 with one home run from shortstop.

Dustin Ackley not only has failed to build off his promising finish to 2014, he has been a severe offensive liability at a spot (left field) that should produce pop. The clock is rapidly ticking on Ackley’s stint as a regular — probably as long as it takes Brad Miller to learn how to play outfield.

That’s a lot of dead wood. And there’s not much apparent help at Tacoma, beyond Jesus Montero, who has made an admirable transformation in life but still has to show he can be a productive major-league hitter.

Though the trade deadline is still 2½ months away, general manager Jack Zduriencik should be scouring the market for a bat — a legitimate one — even if it costs a coveted prospect. Milwaukee and Colorado, either fading fast or faded, should be open for business soon. Others will follow.

If the Mariners are going to find their inner contender, it looks like they need a little nudge.