Mariners Insider Blog

How much better are the 2012 Mariners?

As the Boston Red Sox await what appears to be the inevitable firing of manager Bobby Valentine, the Seattle Mariners continue to flaunt second-half progress in 2012, with Jason Vargas making big strides.

The 29-year-old lefty won his team-best 14th game Monday, beating the Red Sox 4-1, and for the Mariners it was their 66th victory - one fewer than they had in 2011.

One can argue how far the Mariners have come and which teams they've beaten, but their second half record is now 30-19, or just about the reverse of Boston's since the All-Star break (19-31).

The Mariners have the makings of a decent rotation in Felix Hernandez, Vargas and Hisashi Iwakuma, a nine-game winner in No. 5 starter Blake Beavan and a newly discovered closer, Tom Wilhelmsen.

Offense remains a challenge, but the Mariners used aggressive base-running in this game to pressure the Red Sox defense, which cracked, and got timely hits from John Jaso and Justin Smoak.

With 26 games left, how far have the Mariners come since 2011? Beyond Kyle Seager, Jesus Montero and Jaso, have their been any hitters who've won you over? Any you expect big 2013s from?

Let's kick it around: How many wins will Seattler finish with this year, and what will they mean to you?