Well, the Mariners went 2-4 on that homestand against Texas and Washington to fall to a half game back of Detroit for the second Wild Card spot.
There are a really small number of truly elite teams in the Major Leagues. I’d put Baltimore on that list, alongside Anaheim and Oakland of course. And, among the teams in the National League that we played this year, I would certainly put the Washington Nationals in that realm. They’re one of the top 5 teams in all of baseball, and I’d probably put them in the Top 2 of teams the Mariners have played (with Baltimore being the other).
So, how do the Mariners match up against the best teams in baseball? Let’s find out together, shall we?
2-5 vs. Baltimore
1-2 vs. Washington
7-6 vs. Oakland
7-5 vs. Anaheim
So, as you can see, among the teams I regard the highest, the Mariners are 17-18. Not terrible, not by any stretch. You figure the Mariners play Anaheim and Oakland so much more, so we’re well versed in what they have to offer. We practically never see Washington, and caught a bad break in facing their two best starting pitchers. Baltimore has absolutely steamrolled us this year and are the team I’d want to see the least should we be fortunate enough to make the playoffs.
Let’s take it a little further and incorporate all the teams we’re fighting with for the Wild Card:
4-2 vs. Detroit
5-2 vs. Kansas City
3-3 vs. New York
4-2 vs. Cleveland
3-0 vs. Toronto (with 4 to play)
That’s a little more like it. 19-9 vs. all of the other fringe playoff teams. I think it’s pretty clear that the Mariners ARE the best among the fringe playoff teams, but that doesn’t matter. The unblanced schedule is set up to REALLY fuck us in the ass. We just have to hope our familiarity with the rest of the A.L. West teams will allow us to go on a little run here.
18 of 27 are on the road from here on out. The Mariners are .500 at home and 11 games over on the road. To be honest with you, I still like our chances, but we’ve got to pretty much win every series from here on out. Need the starting pitching to get back to dominating, need the hitting to not fall apart.
And, if it comes to a tie for that second Wild Card, it’d be nice if we went out and did the unthinkable: forfeit home field for that game and be the road dogs we’ve been all year.