Would have been hard to imagine a worse start for the Seattle Mariners than going 2-6, given that April was all about trying to stay close in the American League West.
Cliff Lee may be waiting in May, and by the middle of May Erik Bedard might even rejoin that Mariners rotation - and wouldn't that be a formidible addition.
Still, fall too far behind early and May might seem too late.
Well, the Mariners took two in a row from Oakland - make that, first place Oakland - and things look considerably rosier. Consider: Seattle is now two games behind in a division that looks like this:
- Athletics 6-4
- Ranger 5-4
- Mariners 4-6
- Angels 3-6
The Mariners have survived a dreadful start and remain just ahead of the team that won the West in 2009. Against Oakland, where they opened 1-3, the Mariners are now 3-4.
They have found a bit of offense, using patience at the plate, speed on the bases and the occasional two-out hit. All four runs they scored tonight came with two outs.
They have gotten pitching from Doug Fister and Jason Vargas and the usual suspects in a tough bullpen.
They might come out against Detroit and lose three in a row. At the moment, however, they have bounced back and will start the second half of April in the middle of the AL West.
They would love to be better but will take what they have done, so far. When manager Don Wakamatsu told them to relax and have fun before Tuesday's game, this team seemed to do just that.
If a season is a series of 10-game stretches, the Mariners have held their own through the first 10, winning and losing close games and not falling out of touch with their rivals.
If they can do this until Lee, then Bedard return, they'll have survived the toughest challenge any team in the West opened the season with.