At 35-26, the Seattle Mariners are the surprise story of MLB through the first two months of the season.
Predicted by the majority of baseball analysts and writers to finish dead last in the AL West, the M's are three games back of the division leading Angels and one game back in the wild card race.
Mike Hargrove who lead Seattle to a 69-93 record in '05 and a 78-84 record last season was on the hot seat entering this year, but is now up for manager of the year honors. While his pitching staff has been inconsistent this season, posting a disappointing 4.73 E.R.A., their offense has been the second best in the American League.
The team has posted a .287 batting average with 59 home runs and 308 runs batted in. Leading the way has been right fielder Ichiro who is batting .333 with 17 stolen bases and 87 hits and is currently third in all-star voting for outfielders in the AL.
Jose Lopez has distinguished himself as one of the premier second baseman in the AL with his .295 average and 37 RBI'S, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt is not only doing it with the glove, but now has a batting average over .300 and catcher Kenji Johjima is quietly having a career season.
Johjima who is in his second season in the majors is batting .335 with seven homers, 27 runs batted in, 63 hits, 15 doubles and a staggering .527 slugging percentage. Along with his .997 fielding percentage Johjima is having the second best season of any AL catcher. Only New York's Jorge Posada with his .353 batting average and .559 slugging percentage is playing better.
If the Seattle Mariners are to continue their torrid pace they will find themselves in the thick of things come September.