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The Mariners don’t have Robinson Cano, but they’re still rolling

Tuesday’s Say Hey, Baseball sees the Mariners are winning in spite of their major injuries.

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Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Robinson Cano last played for the Mariners on May 13 before heading to the disabled list, in need of surgery on his injured hand. Then Cano was suspended 80 games for violating MLB’s joint drug agreement, so Seattle had to figure out how to cope with the idea of being without their star second baseman for even longer than planned.

So far, so good, as the M’s have somehow managed an 11-3 record since Cano’s last appearance with the team. They’ve gone from 22-17 and 2.5 back in the AL West to leapfrogging the Angels while narrowing the gap between themselves and the surging Astros: Seattle is now 33-20 and just one game back of Houston in the West, and they’re also 4.5 games ahead of the nearest wild card competitor, the Angels.

This isn’t to say the Mariners don’t need Cano in the long run, but thriving without him sure makes everything feel better. They’ve even managed to keep racking up Ws without Dee Gordon, who moved from the outfield back to second base, briefly, before his own injury (toe) landed him on the disabled list as well. Gordon should be back sometime this week, at least, and considering Jean Segura and Nick Vincent are both maybe headed to the DL, the timing couldn’t be better. [Editor’s note: that originally said “Nick Franklin,” rather than Vincent. Old Mariners on the brain.]

(Well, you know what I mean.)

Are the Mariners for real? Well, they’ve scored more runs (228) than they’ve allowed (212), but they’re also 16-9 in one-run games, and that’s not something you want your club to be banking on repeating. On the other hand, every lineup regular, save Kyle Seager, has missed time with an injury before we are two full months into the regular season, so the Mariners we’ve seen — these successful Mariners — also aren’t representative of the best this team could be, either.

They’ve been lucky, they’ve been unlucky, but the M’s first 33 wins are in the bank and can’t be taken away from them. If they can get a little healthier and keep growing that run differential, it’s going to be a lot easier to believe in them in the long run. The pieces are there: they just need to stick around and deliver.