The numbers don’t make sense for a team that sits 13 games above .500 despite injuries and lost production. But just be glad to not sit through another lost season.

Share story

The Mariners don’t make any sense.

Felix Hernandez, the best pitcher in franchise history, has an ERA of 5.58 and a WAR of -0.4. Robinson Cano, the man once thought to be Cooperstown bound, is less than a quarter of the way through his 80-game suspension for using a banned substance. Dee Gordon and Jean Segura have been out with injuries. Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager entered Monday’s game hitting .219 and .224 respectively.

Most of the marquee names have been either off the field or off their game, and yet. … All. They. Do. Is. Win.

Can someone explain this please? Can someone explain how the Mariners are 13 games above .500 despite having scored just 13 more runs than they’ve allowed? Can someone explain how they make every deficit disappear? Or how a close game almost always translates to a close win? Or how, over their past 26 outings, Mariners starters have pitched at least five innings in 25 of them?

Skeptics don’t think this virtually offense-free winning stretch is sustainable. They think these coin-flip victories will eventually flip in the other teams’ favor. Hey, maybe they’re right, but I have a question in the meantime: Who cares?

The M’s (33-20) are 21-9 in games decided by two or fewer runs, and 16-8 in games decided by one — the latter being the best percentage in MLB. Their 2-1 victory over Texas on Monday marked their 16th comeback win of the season, second only to Boston in the AL.

These aren’t stats that should spark fear that a plunge is imminent. They are stats fans should embrace in what many thought would be a lost season.

“It’s a crazy run that we’ve been on,” Seattle skipper Scott Servais said. “We have a culture in our clubhouse, the environment, it’s conducive to winning. Guys have a smile on their face.”

The faces with the brightest smiles belong to the pitchers, and it doesn’t seem to matter when they enter the game. Heading into Monday, the Mariners’ starters had the third best ERA (3.19) in the American League since April 24. And since May 10 — just before the start of this run that has Seattle one game behind Houston in the AL West — the Mariners’ bullpen ERA of 1.65 has been the best in the majors.

Remember when the M’s rotation was considered foul-line thin? Remember when their only prayer of a playoff berth was if their loaded lineup could outperform the backs of their baseball cards?

Monday, Marco Gonzales extended his unearned run streak to 191/3 innings, as his ERA has dipped from 8.25 after his third start to 3.60. Mike Leake has allowed just one run in each of his past two starts, where he logged 62/3 innings and eight innings, respectively. And between striking out 16 in one start, notching a no-hitter in his next, throwing a complete game two starts after that, James Paxton has upgraded from undisputed Mariners ace to legitimate Cy Young candidate.

Few if anyone saw the M’s ascending the way they have over the past few weeks. But one thing is clear: Their climb up the MLB mountain has been because of the guys on the hill.

“Our pitching, you can’t say enough about it. It’s incredible what these guys are doing,” said Seager, whose sixth-inning single scored Mitch Hangier and put the M’s up, 2-1. “I’m not going to lie, it would be really nice if we go out tomorrow and win by 10 … but it’s a really good vibe in here and the pitching has been phenomenal.”

Thirteen games over .500 for the first time since September 2014? The Mariners don’t make sense.

Winners of nine of their past 10 despite a wave of injuries and pin-drop quiet bats? The Mariners don’t make sense.

One game behind the world-champion Astros, 10-3 since Cano’s suspension, and 7-1 in the past eight games in which they’ve scored three runs or fewer?

The Mariners really don’t make sense.

I know, I know — it would be dishonest to ignore that four of Seattle’s past five series have come against teams with losing records. June will include matchups with the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels and Astros — all of whom could send the Mariners back to Mediocre Avenue.

But their accomplishments recently have been sweeping the city in a once unfathomable fashion. Don’t try to make sense of it — just make time to enjoy it.