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Seattle Mariners

Commentary: Is Andrés Muñoz’s All-Star snub a product of Mariners’ recent woes?

Seattle Mariners closer Andrés Muñoz celebrates a win over the Houston Astros this season.  (Getty Images)
By Matt Calkins Seattle Times

SEATTLE – DMGB are the letters.

They adorn T-shirts in the clubhouse, and represent the Mariners’ mantra for the season: “Doesn’t Matter, Get Better.”

Might not have Aristotelian depth, but it’s to the point. And the words seem particularly pertinent for this club right now.

We can start on an individual level with one Andrés Muñoz. The Mariners reliever was not among those selected for this year’s MLB All-Star Game in Arlington, Texas, prompting legitimate “snub” accusations online.

Seattle Sports laid out the facts rather convincingly, pointing out how his 1.7 WAR is far superior to that of the Yankees’ Clay Holmes (0.5), who appeared to make the ASG based on geography alone.

Yes, there was a host of other AL relievers who have had better first halves than Holmes – Craig Kimbrel, Hunter Gaddis and Kenley Jansen among them. But there’s a strong case that Muñoz’s résumé tops all of them.

So you can come to a couple of conclusions, neither of which is mutually exclusive. 1) MLB should correct this wrong and add Muñoz to the team, something it can still do before the game takes place; 2) Maybe Muñoz could have been a little better.

There have been a couple of slips – a blown save last month in a loss to the Rays, another loss 11 days earlier vs. the White Sox.

It’s nitpicking when we’re talking about a man with a 1.50 ERA playing for a team clinging to first place almost entirely because of its pitching staff. Muñoz was snubbed – let’s be clear about that. But if you want to ensure yourself a place on an All-Star team, you have to leave no doubt.

Right now, doubt is inundating the Mariners fan base. There is no official measurement for this, but it’s palpable. Seattle (49-43) just lost its sixth consecutive series after falling short to the Blue Jays in extra innings Sunday. It is last in MLB in batting average. Even the pitching is sliding a bit, with the M’s giving up at least four runs in five of their past eight games – all of which have resulted in L’s.

Hey, they are still in first place by two games in the AL West. I’ve said it before, you take that deal if you’re a fan who has watched this club reach the postseason once since 2001. But it doesn’t matter right now – they still have to get better.

In addition to the 10-game lead the Mariners had in the division a few weeks back, there was some comfort among the AL wild-card teams. That comfort has vanished. In fact, if the Mariners were not first in the division, they would not make the playoffs if the season ended today. The Yankees, Twins and Red Sox – none of whom is a division leader – have better records. The Royals’ record of 49-43 was identical entering Monday’s games.

Six games above .500 is the same no matter how you started the season. But people take notice when that same team was 12 games above .500 three weeks earlier. We’ll see what’s next for the Mariners.

Julio Rodriguez’s MRI on his quad came back clean. He should be back in the lineup the next time the Mariners take the field. Whether the 23-year-old can rediscover his old form is a different question.

Starting pitcher Logan Gilbert made his first All-Star Game, and given his 2.91 ERA and 0.92 WHIP, it’s well-deserved. Can the rest of the starters – who have helped produce the third-best team ERA in MLB – keep this team in the playoff hunt?

It’s not going to get easier immediately. The Mariners have two games with the Padres (49-45) but then get four games in Anaheim with the 37-52 Angels. Perhaps that will lead to some relief.

It wasn’t long ago, though, that the Mariners seemed unbeatable in tight ballgames. But two consecutive one-run losses have kept them from separating themselves from Houston, which lurks two games back.

The pitching is there for this club, and if there are no major health issues, will keep Seattle in contention. The talent is there in the lineup – it’s just that Rodriguez, or J.P. Crawford, or Mitch Haniger and a whole host of others haven’t found their once-heralded swings.

The Mariners are a long way from lost, even if they have lost their way for the time being. Doesn’t matter. Get better.