Mariners Return Home, Hoping For A Miracle

Well, some good news and some bad news out of yesterday afternoon’s drubbing of the Astros, 12-4.  We won!  That’s always good.  Staved off execution for one more day, gotta like that.  We put pressure on our rivals, as their games didn’t start until later in the day.  And, let’s be serious, I’m taking GREAT pleasure in knowing we have all but officially knocked the Astros out of the playoffs (they are 3.5 games out of the second wild card with 3 games to go and would need to win out while Baltimore would need to lose their final 4 games and the other teams ahead of them would need to stumble greatly as well).  The Astros may have had our number for most of the year, but we put the final nail in their coffin!

The bad news, of course, is that Baltimore came back in the 9th inning to beat the Blue Jays, and Detroit won a rained out game against Cleveland.  So, we remain 1 game behind the Tigers and 2 games behind the Orioles, with 4 games to go for each of us.

I got to listen to some of the game on the radio yesterday, and it sounds like the offense would not be denied.  Smart move.  James Paxton had okay stuff, but could only muster 5 innings against that Astros offense.  Evan Scribner was the real hero of the day, getting us out of a major jam in the 6th and going 2 full innings of relief.  Where has THAT guy been all season?  Oh, right, injured.  Man, if he’d been healthy and pitching like this all year, we’d be in a MUCH different position right now

On the flipside, Doug Fister couldn’t get out of the 2nd inning, as the Astros – with their backs to the wall – went with the quick hook.  They were able to make it as close as 7-4 after six innings of play, but the Mariners were able to pour it on.

Cano hit his 36th homer of the season and Seager hit 30 for the first time in his career, giving the Mariners three guys with 30+ homers for the first time since 1997!  Cano and Seager each had 3 RBI apiece to bring them up to 97 and 99 respectively.  With Cruz already at 102, we’re damn near three guys with 100+ RBI for the first time since – I wanna say – 2001.  I could be having my years mixed up, but I’m pretty sure that’s what I gleaned from Twitter the last few days.

So, here’s where we stand, heading into Thursday:

  • Cleveland at Detroit at 10am.  I’ve heard there’s more rain on the horizon, and they might not even be able to get this game in today.  If they can’t, and it needs to be made up, they’d have to do that on Monday, which will throw a lot of things out of whack.
  • Detroit then heads to Atlanta for a 3-game series.  The Braves are 65-92 and in last place in the National League, so that’s not too encouraging.  On the plus side, no DH, so Victor Martinez will be relegated to pinch hit duty in their most important series of the year.  Of course, given Atlanta’s ineptitude, it’s not likely he’ll be needed, and they’ll have just given him 3 days to rest ahead of the playoffs.
  • Baltimore at Toronto at 4pm.  The Orioles sit 1 game behind the Blue Jays for the top wild card spot.  If they win today, they’ll be tied and – assuming we beat the A’s – we’ll be exactly 2 games behind both of them.  Which, if that’s the case, means Toronto’s back in play.
  • Baltimore then heads to New York for a 3-game series against the Yankees.  Tanaka is one of the scheduled starters, so you’d think Baltimore would at least lose that one for us, but who can be sure anymore?
  • If Toronto loses today, as I noted, they’re back in play.  That means their three game series in Boston, against the division winners, could be HUGE.  Toronto will have Happ and Aaron Sanchez going that series, which makes things difficult.  But, the Red Sox will have David Price and 22-game winner Rick Porcello going to counter.  I don’t know if that means anything – it’s very likely Boston will be VERY careful with their starters’ pitch counts, since they have a guaranteed spot in the ALDS – but it’s some small slice of hope to cling to.

Obviously, it all means nothing if we can’t beat the A’s.  Aside from not having Paxton, we have as ideal of a rotation as possible.  I think the worst part is we don’t have a day off before this series.  The bullpen is expanded, but there have been a lot of pressure innings to pitch through recently.  It’d be nice to give them a breather.  More importantly than that, though, is I’d REALLY like to give Nelson Cruz a day off to rest that wrist.  He’s been as game as anyone in playing through all that pain, but I worry we’re getting diminishing returns the more consecutive days he plays, reaggravating it with every swing, unable to take bullpens before games.

All I ask is that the Mariners sweep this series and keep the pressure on the other teams ahead of us.  At that point, it’ll be in the hands of the sports gods.  KEEP YOUR CHINS UP!!!

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