Mariners Win Big Series Against Blue Jays

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The Seattle Mariners won a pivotal series that pushed them back into contention. They took two out of three from the Toronto Blue Jays in a series that had big wild card implications. Heading into the games, the Mariners were two behind the Blue Jays and in desperate need to tighten the gap. The Mariners did just that, winning this important series. Playing a competitive team like the Jays, the Mariners are sure to have some takeaways that they can carry with them for the rest of the season.

Take Advantage of Mistakes

The game of baseball can be cruel at times, but a good team takes advantage of mistakes. The Mariners did just that on many occasions. The Blue Jays played sloppily in all three games. And whether it was because of pitching errors, passed balls, or running mistakes, the Mariners capitalized on these opportunities.

Mistakes on the Bases 

In the first game, Marcus Semien had his foot slide off the base and was later called out upon review. Mariner’s second baseman Abraham Toro may not have realized what had happened, but by playing clean baseball and keeping the tag on, the Mariners were rewarded the out. By not cutting corners on plays, e.g. applying tags long enough, the Mariners ended up getting a tight win. That running mistake could have easily changed the outcome of the 3-2 ballgame.

Pitching Mistakes

When your enemy is making mistakes, don’t interrupt them. The Blue Jays struggled in relief, which resulted in losses in the first and second games of the series. Back-to-back home runs came off an already exhausted bullpen. As minimal as the Mariner’s offensive production has been all season, they did what good teams do, they took advantage of every scoring opportunity.

Jarred Kelenic rode out the Blue Jays pitching woes as well by taking a four-pitch walk. The Jays were having pitching troubles and he did not try to be a hero by getting the big hit. Kelenic said that “coming up to the plate, I knew the pressure was on him.” He was as patient and collected as a rookie could be in that situation. He took advantage of the pressure he knew the Blue Jays pitching was feeling and brought home the game-winning run with a quite literal walk-off.

Sloppy Errors

Although the last game of the series on Sunday afternoon resulted in a loss, the Mariners once again got off to a hot start by capitalizing on Blue Jay’s mistakes. With two wild pitches by starting pitcher Steven Matz and a passed ball charged to Blue Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk, the Mariners were able to get a run across. Even in a loss, the Mariners were still able to get the positive effects of playing good heads-up baseball.

Expect Tight Ballgames

Good teams keep things close. They never let games get too out of hand or too far out of reach. The Mariners have played in plenty of tight games this season and many of those have come recently. Going into Saturday’s game, since August 1st, the Mariners have played in all but one game that resulted in a score with a difference of two runs or less. The first two games of the series were tight. It was the Mariners who took charge in both games and caused the Blue Jays to falter.

This late in the season, with the race being so competitive, every single pitch is important. One play could make the difference. Precision is going to be key to the Mariner’s approach going forward. They have experienced just how tight it can be against rivals. If the Mariners are going to keep the race close, they have to play nearly impeccable baseball every day. Going forward, their schedule isn’t easy. It is stacked with contenders such as the Oakland AthleticsHouston Astros, and Boston Red Sox. They will experience just how much their play against the Blue Jays needs to be repeated to win against teams of that caliber.

A Big Series Win

Many lessons were learned by the Mariners, which is important, but nothing was as momentous as a big series win. They are now only one game back from the Blue Jays and 5.5 back from a second wild-card spot. Although there is still plenty of work to be done and plenty of baseball to be played. The takeaways from this series apply to many future series throughout August and September. If the Mariners can take advantage of mistakes and stay in tight ballgames, they will not only be a wild card contender but also be in serious contention for the AL West. This series win was a big one for the Mariners, and hopefully, they can carry on and build off of these key learning moments for big games in their future.

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Players Mentioned:

Marcus Semien, Abraham Toro, George Springer, Jarred Kelenic, Steven Matz, Alejandro Kirk