The .500 Mariners Played .500 Ball In A .500 10-Game Homestand Out Of The All Star Break

We’re now pretty much a week away from the MLB trade deadline. The Mariners just finished arguably their most important stretch of baseball of the season. And they came out of that homestand – against a bottom-dweller and two playoff contenders – with a 5-5 record, thanks to a series victory against the Blue Jays over the weekend.

This was an important stretch for all the reasons we’ve gone over already: the Mariners were facing direct rivals in the Wild Card race. The Mariners were coming out of an All Star Break where they were hot coming in, and they’re very close to a trade deadline that might make or break their season. Had we gone, say, 7-3, I think you’re looking at a wildly different scenario than what we’re looking at today.

Two more wins and we would’ve kept pace with the Rangers in the A.L. West. Two more wins and we would’ve picked up a game on the Astros and Angels. We would only be 2.5 games out of the final Wild Card spot instead of 4.5 games. We’d be heading into this next week in a much more secure position in the playoff race, and as such, perhaps we’d be making more of an effort to improve our ballclub for 2023, not just 2024 and beyond.

Would two more wins be the difference between making a big splashy trade? We’ll never know, because we’re only a game over .500, and looking like the same team we’ve seen all year long.

It’s really a shame the M’s weren’t able to complete the sweep over the Blue Jays, because I think this team needs all the hope it can get. I don’t believe we’re in any position to make it back to the post-season, but I’d still like to see a positive end to this regular season anyway, even if it’s just as a means to show what we’re capable of when we’re playing up to our potential heading into 2024. As has been pointed out by others, there are a number of younger guys seeing some growing pains this year – Julio being front and center – and even though their struggles have doomed this team, you want to see them figure it out, to make them better pros going forward.

This series had the feel of some of those magical moments from 2022. On Friday, we were losing 2-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh. Then, we scored a run in each of the next three innings to win it 3-2 in walk-off fashion. Mike Ford got us on the board with an RBI single, followed by a Ty France RBI double, followed by an incredible Teoscar Herandez walk-off single slammed off the right field fence. That all was supplemented by some fantastic pitching. A good start out of Bryce Miller, and some phenomenal bullpen tightrope walking for the final 3.2 innings.

Saturday’s 9-8 victory was reminiscent of our playoff clincher against the Blue Jays: high scoring and lots of comebacks. We were up 3-0, then down 5-3, then down 7-4, before a miraculous turnaround, highlighted by a 5-run bottom of the seventh. Logan Gilbert gave up 5 in 5 innings (including 3 homers), and we had a not-so-good outing from Matt Brash. But, every time the chips were down, the offense managed to bail us out. Cal Raleigh had a couple homers, Julio homered, and Teoscar once again had the go-ahead RBIs to seal the deal. Also, big ups to J.P., Dylan Moore, and even Kolten Wong for their contributions.

Predictably, though, we couldn’t finish them, losing the finale 4-3. Bryan Woo gave up 4 runs in 6 innings (including 2 homers). And the offense was dormant other than Mike Ford’s 2-run homer, and an RBI pinch hit single from Dylan Moore. As a whole, we were 1/8 with RISP, and couldn’t quite get the big hit like in the first two games.

We’re on the road this week, against a couple great teams in the Twins and Diamondbacks. We’ll see what, if any, moves the org makes.

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