For good reason, the life of a Seattle Mariners baseball fan has seen much disappointment and heartbreak. Many fans were skeptical when the Mariners lost the first game of a four-game series against the A’s. Fair to say many skeptics turned to believers when M’s closer Drew Steckenrider forced a game-ending pop up by A’s second baseman Tony Kemp for the 4-3 victory and three games to one series win.
The win puts the Mariners just 1 ½ game out of a post-season spot and a season-high eight games over 500 with a 54-46 record. A series win over the team you are chasing for the final wildcard position is dangerous to any Mariner fan. The last time the Mariners were in playoff contention this late in the season was in 2018. In the second half of that season, a heartbreaking tumble saw the Mariners slide from first place in the AL West to third.
The Oakland A’s pipped the Mariners for the last playoff spot. Few players were around for the debacle but for those still around like Kyle Seger who is playing his 11th year with the Mariners a playoff berth would erase the disastrous collapse.
“I know me personally, I mean, good Lord, I’d like to make a run out of it,” Seager said after Sunday’s win.
Baseball in its present tense is about analytics. The sport has more numbers than any other and the question is which numbers matter most. The amount of one-run victories or the disturbing run differential?
Skeptics are quick to point out Seattle’s -52 run differential, and how no team since the 2007 D-backs has reached October while being in the red in that category. Yet since June 13, when many within the clubhouse believe they turned the tide after Logan Gilbert outdueled Shane Bieber in Cleveland, Seattle has a +10 mark and has gone 23-11, a .676 winning percentage that trails only the Astros in that stretch.
A more positive analytic the Mariners will take any day is the squad’s performance of late. Over the past two months, since May 25, the Mariners’ 32 wins are tied for fourth-most in MLB with the Dodgers and Red Sox, behind only the Astros (35), Brewers (34), and Giants (34). Each of the clubs on this list is expected to play into October.
ARE MARINERS BUYING FOR A CHANGE
With the wind in their sail, the Mariners’ recent success has players hoping the front office will believe in the momentum and turn to make some moves to get the squad over the top.
“You want [the front office] to feel like we’re doing a good job and that this is a thing to go for,” said Seager, “I think it’s been preached, this rebuild, so much. But I mean we’re right there on the edge of this thing. So, certainly, you would like to have them make moves and get the team as good as we possibly can.”
The Mariner’s march to a postseason berth will continue with three-game series against AL West Division leaders the Houston Astros. A series win would make for a crowded bandwagon.