The Mariners Are All Alone In First Place In The A.L. West, For Now (Maybe Forever)

Oh that’s just a jinx! That’s a jinx waiting to happen! That’s so much of a jinx it just burped its way through a murder confession while still on microphone!

The Mariners swept the Royals over the weekend. This series wasn’t quite as rough and tumble as the one in Kansas City last week. Not a lot of crazy back and forth. Just some solid, all-American good play by the home team.

Friday, we had Bryce Miller not giving us his best stuff; he went 4 innings and gave up 3 runs before we opted to pull him and overwhelm the Royals with bullpen arms. Thankfully, the offense came to play, scoring two in the 1st, two in the 4th, and two in the fifth. The bullpen wasn’t perfect – Matt Brash gave up a 2-run bomb (I have some real concern about his arm wearing down, based on recent comments by management in the media) – but thankfully that was the only blemish.

We had 16 hits in this one, including a very respectable 5/15 with runners in scoring position. Crawford, Suarez, and Raleigh all led the way with 3 hits each; Canzone and Julio had 2 hits each. This was a 7-5 victory that, quite frankly, we should have against a team like that, with the terrible pitching they’re saddled with.

Saturday’s 15-2 drubbing was an onslaught for the ages. Between the bottom of the third and the end of the game, we scored in every inning, with a 7-spot leading the way. The following players had two hits: J.P., Cal, Teo, Ford, and Rojas. Teo led all parties with 6 RBI, including 2 homers. Cal, Julio, Ford, Rojas, and Marlowe also homered (giving us 7 on the day). It was just pure annihilation!

To add insult to injury, Logan Gilbert made it look easy. He finished 7 innings, giving up 1 run, 2 hits, 1 walk, while striking out 7. That’s all on only 83 pitches, so he easily could’ve gone longer if need be. Luke Weaver – after a marvelous Mariners debut where he struck out 5 White Sox in 2 innings – came down to Earth with a run given up on a couple hits, but that was it.

Sunday’s 3-2 victory was the game most in jeopardy, but we managed to hold it together at the end. Luis Castillo went 7 strong, giving up zero runs on 1 hit and 1 walk, while striking out 6. We had cobbled together a 3-0 lead through that point, thanks to another Teo homer, and another Julio 2-run bomb. Gabe Speier gave them two runs right back in the 8th inning to make it tight, but Topa got us out of the jam, and Munoz sealed it with an easy 9th.

Most importantly here, as the title indicates, the Mariners have climbed all the way into first place by themselves in the A.L. West. That’s thanks to the Mariners going 9-1 in their last 10 games, while the Rangers have gone 1-9 (I shit you not), with the Astros going a mediocre 4-6. We’re 74-56, one game over Texas and Houston. We have the third-best run differential in the American League. And, even if the shit hit the fan over the next month, we’re still riding a 3.5 game lead over the Blue Jays (the first team on the outside looking in on the wild card).

But, clearly, we’re not thinking about the wild card anymore. I mean, we’d take it if we had to settle for it, but we’re 130 games into this season and we’ve got the division in our grasp!

Remember when we were 50-50? That was a thing! In the last 30 games we’ve gone 24-6, which is IN-sane!

We start a 3-game set against an already-eliminated Athletics team, before an off-day and then a lengthy 10 games in 10 days East Coast road trip. It’s going to be fun, boys and girls!

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