We’ve been here before. Twice. Each time the Mariners have been 10 games over .500, it’s come with unparalleled excitement over things to come. Each time, it’s been followed directly by a loss. Not just a loss, but a demoralizing string of losses that causes fans to lose all hope.
Let’s go back in time! To May 25th! It was a Wednesday before a Thursday off-day, much like today. The Mariners beat up on the A’s to go 28-18. The Twins were in town for the weekend, and much like today, the Twins back then were the worst team in the American League. So, OF COURSE, the Mariners were swept at home by the Twins. After making up for that a little bit with a weird series against the Padres, the June Swoon was on. The M’s would go 10-18 in June – at one point falling a game UNDER .500 – and the malaise continued through July as well.
It wasn’t until the first half of August where things started to turn around. An 8-2 homestand around that time kickstarted the Great Mariners Turnaround. On Monday, August 22nd, the M’s beat the Yankees to put their record at 67-57. This was just a day after blowing a 3-run lead in the 9th inning to the Brewers (you may recall, one of Tom Wilhelmsen’s poorer efforts since returning to Seattle), so emotions were pretty charged. Anyway, the Mariners would go on to lose the next two games to the Yankees, en route to a 2-10 record over the next 12 games, to drop us all the way back down to 2 games over .500. That carried us through the first weekend of September, or past the point where I had already written this team off.
Now, though, with this 8-game winning streak we’re on, we’ve supercharged our way back to 10 games over .500! It included, most impressively of all, a perfect 6-0 road trip through Oakland and Anaheim. I know those are two God-awful teams, but the Angels have had our number this year, and the A’s have always been a thorn in our side. It’s truly remarkable what the Mariners have done over the last week. We’re not just 10 games over .500, but we’ve pulled all the way back to within 1.5 games of the second wild card. We’ve now leapfrogged Kansas City, Houston, AND the Yankees by a half game! Only Detroit stands in the way between us and Toronto for that second wild card spot. And, after today, it’s theoretically possible we could be tied with them (or we could be a full game back, but that’s neither here nor there).
Of course, if history is any indication, this is the beginning of the end. At 10 games over .500, with the Houston Astros coming to town this weekend, with two of their better players possibly too injured to play tomorrow, OF COURSE we’re going to lose! Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me if we got swept! We’ll undo all of the good we forged over the last week, and it would be so Mariners of us to do so.
Except, once we tear asunder this 10-games-over-.500 cushion, there won’t be enough season left to turn it back around again. This is it! There are 16 games left to go. Botch this, and you’ve effectively botched the whole season.
It’s terrifying to have a whole season come down to two weeks’ worth of games, but that’s the nature of the beast. Baseball is punishing and unforgiving. I know I’m not ready for the season to end, but I can see it coming. I just hope I’m proven wrong, and we can somehow clear this 10-game threshold. Let’s get OVER that mark, and let’s stay there! It’s the only way.