The Mariners Are Clinging By A Thread

The fact that I’ve relegated the Seahawks to 3rd billing on this weekend’s list of storylines is pretty mind-boggling, but that’s how it works when you’ve got playoff fever!

So, the weekend didn’t go totally as planned.  We won the series against the Twins, which is better than the alternative, but we really missed out on an opportunity to sweep them away and pick up a game on our competition.

Missed Opportunities:  The 2016 Seattle Mariners’ Story.

We actually managed to lose a half game, falling 2.5 back of the second wild card spot, because Baltimore regained their competence.  We’re also a full game behind Detroit and 4 games behind Toronto (if we want to be thorough in this thing).

Friday was like one of those fly dreams, as we bashed and pounded the Twins to a 10-1 victory.  James Paxton was on point, Nelson Cruz hit one of the biggest big boy homers I’ve seen in a long time, and we were able to enjoy the last few innings in relative comfort.

Saturday was a fucking disaster, as we were held in check by a garbage pitcher in Tyler Duffey, who befuddled us over 7 innings of 2-run ball, which managed to lower his ERA to STILL OVER 6 ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME, HOW IS THIS GUY BEATING US???  We were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position, and the only reason why we were in the game at all is because Nelson Cruz managed to hit an even MORE monster of a home run.  At nearly 500 feet, it was the second longest of the year in all of Major League Baseball.  Aside from our offense shitting the bed (hello Kyle Seager, fine time of year to start slumping), Ariel Miranda just couldn’t hit a spot and had to be pulled after 4 innings (because we’re blessed with a large and rested bullpen, and because these games are Do Or Die, and we don’t have time to coddle these young pitchers anymore).

It looked like a very real possibility that the Mariners would be beaten AGAIN in a series against the worst team in baseball, but Taijuan Walker was able to do just enough in getting into the 6th inning on Sunday, our offense was able to do just enough against another cruddy pitcher, and our bullpen stole the show by locking the Twins down over the final 3.2 innings of the game, to take a 4-3 victory.

Today, we kick off three games in Houston.  Three Must-Win Games.  The Astros are a half game behind us, but time’s a-wastin’.  Just winning the series 2-1 isn’t good enough anymore.  These are our direct rivals and we need to put them away.

Iwakuma goes up against Collin McHugh tonight, and you know how McHugh always dominates us.  Kuma is going to need to step up in a HUGE way and shut them out over 7 or 8 innings, and our offense is going to need to do something it’s never done against this guy:  work deep counts, knock him out of the game early, and score some fucking RUNS!

That gets us to Felix against Mike Fiers tomorrow.  Fiers is nothing special, but of course, that didn’t stop him from shutting us out across six innings when we played him last week.  Time for the offense to quit fucking around and show us that we belong!

We wrap up the series Wednesday afternoon, with Paxton going up against Fister.  Will we see Good Fister or Bad Fister?  Will we see Good Paxton or Bad Paxton?  If I knew that, I’d be a millionaire.

In the meantime, lots of off-days among our competition today.  Toronto does finish a 4-game set against the Yankees; they’re playing for the sweep, so they seem to be well on their way to guaranteeing themselves one of the two wild card spots.  Toronto then hosts Baltimore for three games (so, we need them to continue winning, I guess is the point) before three meaningless games in Boston to close it out.

Baltimore just wrapped up a 3-game sweep of Arizona over the weekend, which was pretty predictable, even though the Diamondbacks had legitimate chances to win at least two of those games.  The Orioles have an off-day today before the three aforementioned games in Toronto and then three games in New York against the plummeting Yankees.  The fact that the Yanks are playing their way right out of this race is both a blessing and a curse; who knows how motivated they’ll be the final weekend of the season.  In other words, this whole thing sort of rests on Toronto’s shoulders (assuming, of course, that we take care of business on our end; and assuming, of course, that the Tigers stumble along the way).

Speaking of the Tigers, we need to pick up a couple games on them to overtake them in the standings, and there’s no time like the present, as they kick off a 4-game set against division-leading Cleveland.  The games are in Detroit, but hopefully that won’t matter.  If the Indians don’t do their job and at least take 2 of these games, we’re toast, because Detroit ends the season with three games down in Atlanta, where the Braves don’t have a pitcher with a winning record left at their disposal, according to the probables.

One week.  7 games.  Let’s do this thing!

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