Let’s face it, it’s going to take more than an 8-game winning streak to take this team seriously. Since it was broken, the Mariners are 2-3, or in other words, they’re playing like the Mariners again.
At 50-55, it should be plain to see that the Mariners are not in contention. You don’t even have to look at the standings to see the Mariners have a TON of ground to make up in not that many games. More accurately, the Mariners are 7.5 games behind Baltimore for the final Wild Card spot. More importantly, the Mariners would have to jump over five different teams to get there. Cleveland, Texas, New York, and Kansas City all stand in our way as well. That’s a tall order, with 57 games left to go.
You’re not even allowed to THINK the word contention until the Mariners are established as a team that’s above .500. But, let’s face it, when was the last time you saw a team just barely over .500 make the playoffs? Let’s look back at the last ten years.
I went back and looked at all the standings. Up until 2012, there was only the one Wild Card team. But, for the sake of argument, what teams would’ve made it had there been a second Wild Card? Of course, this exercise is futile, as there’s no way we could really know. Teams would have played differently had there been an option for a second Wild Card team. But, just go with me on this, because it’s going to make my argument for me.
The average number of wins required to be the “second” Wild Card team over the past decade is approximately 90. And that’s taking into account the fact that the number likely would have been higher had the second Wild Card actually existed for nine of the past ten years! But, 90 is pretty much the baseline: if you can’t make it to 90 wins, then you’re essentially screwed. 90 wins accounts for a .556 winning percentage. As things stand right now, not even Baltimore has a .556 winning percentage, so maybe this year will be the exception. Probably unlikely, though, as you tend to see the better teams separate themselves in September, when all the bad teams are playing their younger players.
So, 90-72. What would the Mariners have to do to get up to 90-72? A quick fingering of my abacus shows me that the Mariners would have to go 40-17, or a .702 winning percentage. Improbable? Absolutely. Impossible? I’m gonna go out on a limb and say, “Yes.”
Including division leaders, there are now nine teams better than the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners play five series, or 16 games, against AL teams they “should” beat (they’ve also got a 3-game set against the Brewers they should win). Including the remaining NL games, the Mariners have 38 of 57 games against teams that are either as good or better. If you put the Angels in that “as good” catagory, then the number jumps to 44/57.
A .702 winning percentage for this team would be a tough feat even if they played their final 57 games against the Astros. So, let’s not go crazy talking about the playoffs just yet. I’ll see you back here after their next 8-game winning streak and we can revisit.