There’s a bunch of different ways you can look at a baseball season. Back at the beginning of the month, I wrote about how the Mariners went 13-10 in April, then played exactly .500 ball the next four months, to put themselves in a position to be too mediocre to function. But, if you dig on in there, you can see the season has been a non-stop back-and-forth of good streaks followed by bad streaks.
They kicked off the season 2-6, before the pitching got right and they went 19-7 in their next 26 games. A brief 1-4 stretch put a pause on that before they righted the ship with a 6-1 stretch. It seemed like the Mariners would roll to a long overdue playoff spot, but all the positivity was wiped out when the Mariners went 10-20 in their next 30 games. Then, we went 5-1 around the beginning of July and we all hoped maybe our troubles would flip with the page of the calendar, but that was followed by the Mariners going 9-13 through the bulk of July. We seemed to get our mojo back in the subsequent 20 games, going 15-5, but that was met by a 2-10 stretch that had me formally writing off the season.
Now, the Mariners are on an 8-1 streak and counting, and here we are again dreaming big.
Taijuan Walker pitched a complete game, 3-hit shutout last night as the Mariners poured it on the Angels to win 8-0. More importantly, he looked like the ace we all hoped he’d eventually turn into. I’m nowhere NEAR ready to deem Walker “fixed”, but they apparently worked with his mechanics between starts, so hopefully he can stay healthy long enough to see if these mechanics fixes will stick. The team will need him, and every other pitcher in this rotation, to keep pitching like that if we expect to make one of the Wild Card spots.
We picked up another game on the Astros and Royals, putting them 2 and 2.5 games behind us, respectively. We’re now within 2.5 games of both wild card spots, and 0.5 games behind the Yankees and Tigers who still somehow sit between us and the Promised Land.
My head hurts trying to figure out how the tiebreakers work, if there are 3 or more teams with the same record. Suffice it to say, we need to root for Baltimore to be a Wild Card team and not a division winner, as we were 6-1 against them this year, and that record could go a long way towards our getting what we want.
Ideally, I think what needs to happen is for the Red Sox to start running away with the division, and beating up on all of their divisional rivals. And, of course, we have to continue winning ourselves.
With the way the Mariners have been so streaky this year, the bad streak appears to be right around the corner. And with that, so will our playoff hopes be dashed. My recommendation is to enjoy things while they last, and keep praying that the bad streak never comes. We’re a little over two weeks away from season’s end. Hold on to your butts.