Well, this is it. We’re right up against it now. Three games to go to decide which two of the four teams remaining in contention will make the playoffs. The Astros thankfully have been eliminated; suck an egg Houston! See you never again! (or next year, I guess).
The Mariners, again, did their job. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t as dominating as you’d like, considering the minor league lineup the A’s were running out there, and the fact that we’ve had Kendall Graveman’s number all season. No, but you know what? The Seattle Mariners, last night, were CLEARLY the better baseball team, and they did what they needed to do.
Truth be told, the Mariners will CLEARLY be the better baseball team tonight, tomorrow, and on Sunday, but that’s neither here nor there.
We got the Ariel Miranda start out of the way! I don’t know why I still worry about his starts; he’s been solidly unspectacular since he got here, but in a good way. In his very worst start (which is probably debatable), he gave up 3 runs in 4 innings before getting the quick hook because we’re in a playoff race and we don’t have time to be stroking egos right now. That was tied for his shortest start of the year, anyway. Much more talented starters have had much shorter outings for us, so that’s not too bad. And, the most runs he’s given up in an appearance is 4, which again, much more talented starters have given up much more runs in a game this year. A lot of that has to do with the fact that he’s been getting the quick hook since we traded for him, but he’s only 27 years old and this is his first year in the Majors, so you can forgive the Mariners for being a little cautious (especially considering his talent level proves he’s capable of being a regular part of this rotation for years to come).
Anyway, Miranda was rolling and got us into the 6th inning while giving up only 1 run, so kudos again! The bullpen hero of the day was Steve Cishek, who came into the game in the 7th inning with a couple runners on and got us out of it unscathed. He then dominated his way through the 8th inning (most likely because Evan Scribner wasn’t available due to recent overuse). That got us to Edwin Diaz in the 9th, who’s on one of his rocky roads again. The A’s mashed him around for 3 hits and a run – to bring the game to 3-2 – but he was able to shut it down to eventually strike out the side for what’s already his 18th save of the year.
The Mariners got the bulk of their damage done with the bottom of the lineup, which is huge. Lind, Martin, Zunino, and Marte combined for 8 of our 12 hits and all three of our RBI. Martin hit a single to score one in the 4th inning before getting stuck in a rundown, Zunino hit a solo blast in the 7th to re-take the lead, and Ketel Marte of all people hit in the winning insurance run to help atone for his bungling on Tuesday. That was an awesome job; gotta give credit where it’s due. The Big Three can’t do everything, so it’s nice to see the role players step up in a game like this, where obviously not everything is clicking offensively.
As suggested before, the Tigers game was rained out. That means they’ll have to play on Monday if their game has any meaning whatsoever for the playoff race (i.e. if the Tigers are either in the 2nd wild card spot, up by 0.5 games; or just out of the 2nd wild card spot by 0.5 games). So, now Detroit heads to Atlanta for the weekend. Not for nothing, but someone on Twitter posted something that said the Braves are one of the hottest teams in the month of September. So, maybe there’s hope? Either way, the Mariners are behind the Tigers by 0.5 games right now.
The problematic part of this whole thing is that the Orioles took out the Blue Jays yesterday. That puts those two teams in a dead heat, tied for both wild card spots, 2 full games ahead of us. With, again, three games to play. It’s Baltimore at the Yankees, and it’s Toronto at Boston.
So, we know one thing for SURE: the Mariners must win out. Now, they SHOULD win out, but this is baseball and weird shit can happen. But, in this case, weird shit CAN’T HAPPEN!
Assuming that, then we need the Tigers to lose at least once down in Atlanta, and we need either the Orioles or the Blue Jays to lose twice (or, preferably both teams lose twice, but maybe not since I’m not super clear on the 3-way or 4-way tiebreakers).
This weekend’s going to be about the Mariners kicking butt and watching the scoreboard obsessively. Should the Mariners fail to kick butt, then this race could be over as soon as tonight. I just want a chance. Just give us a shot, Mariners! Just do what YOU have to do, and let the chips fall where they may! If, in the end, those other teams don’t lose enough games, then at least you can take pride in knowing you did everything you possibly could have, and in the end just didn’t have enough luck to make it all the way.
On the flipside, if the M’s start gagging games away to the Athletics, I’m going to be like a tantrum-throwing 4 year old. I don’t want to see me when I’m angry … because it’s fucking embarrassing!