Throughout the season the CBS Sports MLB experts will bring you a weekly Batting Around roundtable breaking down pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff.. This week we're going to tackle two teams off to sluggish starts.
R.J. Anderson: I don't think it's worth getting worked up over a week of games. I guess I would say the Mariners if I had to pick, just because I think the AL wild-card picture could be more crowded than the NL. In the West alone, you have three other potential playoff teams -- and that's without even accounting for the reality that the East is almost certain to send at least a pair to October. But again, I'm not going to get hot and bothered over a week of games. We wouldn't even be discussing these stretches if they happened in July.
Dayn Perry: While the honest answer is that there's no such thing as a team I'm worried about this early in the season, I'll say the Phillies. The M's were a bit better during the regular season last year, and the Phillies still have to weather a significant portion of their schedule without Bryce Harper. Heraclitus believed fire was the source of all things.
Matt Snyder: It's probably a bit more concerning on the Mariners since the Phillies are down Harper in addition to having Ranger Suarez on the shelf and probably scrambling a bit to replace the production lost to Rhys Hoskins' late-spring injury. I'd expect a hot streak from the Phillies once they are full strength in June or July and they've shown they don't need to win the division for a deep playoff run. On the Mariners, I'm still not overly concerned, as it was a relatively tough schedule to start the season, despite being at home. Plus, they lost four straight early last April. They've shown they can get hot. The short and easy answer is I wouldn't be concerned about either just yet.
Mike Axisa: I'm in the "it's too early to worry about either team yet" camp as well. To pick one though, I would say the Phillies. They won't have Bryce Harper for another little while or Rhys Hoskins at all this year, plus I always get nervous about pitchers following a World Series run. Those guys throw a lot of extra high-stress innings and they have a shorter offseason to recover too, so the slow starts for Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler are suboptimal. Also, the Phillies are stuck in a division with the Braves and Mets. That's a lot of games with two potential powerhouses, giving them less margin of error. I wouldn't sweat either team's slow start too much, but I am slightly more concerned about the Phillies than the Mariners.