As the Seattle Mariners complete the murderous part of their 2018 schedule, it’s becoming clear that they are a couple steps behind the teams – New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox – that are making a mockery of the baseball season. But that  shouldn’t be considered a bad thing because those two teams are out of this world good.

The Yankees look like the old Yankees of the 1950s and ‘60s when they totally dominated and became the team you loved to hate because they were so good. From 1949 through the 1963 season the Yankees failed to finish first just twice and in 1954 when they finished second they still won 103 games (Cleveland won with a 111 wins).

New York is as of this writing 50-22, a .690 percent pace that if it is kept up will produce 112 victories. I’m reminded of the 2001 Mariners when I think of what the Yankees are doing. That year the Mariners tied a baseball record with 116 wins. If the Mariners had the lead after six innings, it was all over because the bullpen was so good. That is the way with these Yankees. They have flame-throwers in the ‘pen and if they get the lead late, kiss it goodbye.

In that 2001 season, the Mariners pitching staff was led by the ancient one – Jamie Moyer, who couldn’t break a pane of glass with his fastball. Moyer won 20 games, Freddy Garcia was 18-6, Paul Abbott 17-4 and Aaron Sele, the North Kitsap product, went 15-5.

But that Mariner bullpen was the glue that kept it all together. Sasaki saved 45 games and Arthur Rhodes was the main setup guy, but Norm Charlton and Jeff Nelson also chimed in.

The Yankee bullpen this year is being led by a guy – Aroldis Chapman – that consistently throws 100 and can reach 104, as he did Wednesday against the Mariners.

Boston is equally ridiculous. The Red Sox are 50-26, a .658 percentage that would give them about 106 wins. Mookie Betts, the best player not named Mike Trout, is hitting .340 with 18 home runs and J.D. Martinez is tearing it up with 22 home runs and 55 RBI while hitting .312.

The Red Sox have hit 105 home runs, and four others beside Betts and Martinez have belted double-digit homers. And their pitching staff, led by Chris Sales, David Price, Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez may be the league’s best rotation, and Craig Kimbrel ranks as one of the league’s best closers with 22 saves.

There are two other teams that should be considered as threats to the Mariners making it to the post-season. The defending World Series champion Houston Astros are starting to pull away in the AL West as expected. As good as New York and Boston are, Houston is still the team to beat.

The Astros have an unbelievable starting rotation in Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Dallas Keuchel, who has gotten off to a slow start but is showing signs of recovery, Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers.

And who wouldn’t want Jose Altuve in their lineup? He is hitting a league-leading .347 and is just a joy to watch because he plays the game like a little kid that is having the time of his life. Speaking of little, Altuve is listed at five-foot-six, although he may be even shorter.

I guess this is my roundabout way of saying that, yes, the Mariners’ general manager Jerry Dipoto has put together a surprising good roster that includes the league’s top closer by statistics in Edwin Diaz (27 saves) and an offense that is sparked by Nelson Cruz, Mitch Haniger and Jean Segura.

But I think the bullpen has been exposed a bit, especially in this series against the Yankees in which the Mariners lost all three games and now are on a four-game losing streak.. Ryan Cook and Alex Colome, to me, are suspect. Cook had a first good outing with the Mariners, but has fizzled since. And Colome, picked up in a trade from Tampa Bay, just has not been good enough when he is needed the most. So we’ll see about those two.

Despite all of this, the Mariners are solidly on pace to become the second wild card in the AL. Boston or New York will be the first, and right now the Mariners are 6.5 games in front of the Angels for that second spot.

The Mariners losing streak may be extended because they play their next three games at Boston this weekend. Boston is 23-11 at home and will throw Rodriguez and Sale in the second and third games.

Once they get out of Boston, the scheduled eases up. They go to Baltimore for four games and then come home to play Kansas City in three games. Baltimore is god-awful (21-51 record, the worse in baseball) and Kansas City is just percentage points better (22-52).

So the Mariners should get rich and back on track. But if they get to the post-season, it isn’t going to be easy to stay in it.  But why gripe about that? Just sit back and enjoy a Mariners’ team that is having an unexpectedly good season, cross your fingers and hope for the best.

That’s it for today.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved.