The Mariners win again and pull within a half-game of the second wildcard. This last week of the regular season is poising to be the biggest in 20 years. Tuesday night the Seattle Mariners were able to get within a half-game, after losses from both the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox. The Mariners now have jumped over the Blue Jays in the standings, and have emerged as a contending and potential wildcard winner.
Mariners Pull within Half-Game, Bullpen Shines
The Mariner’s great win, to pull even closer to the wildcard, was a classic 2021 Mariners win. The Mariners starting pitcher, Tyler Anderson, was not spectacular. However, the bullpen came in from the fifth inning onwards and did exactly their job. The Mariners are used to playing in tight games. Having the largest run differential of any contending team at -50 reflects just how many tight games Seattle plays in. The Mariners used five relief pitchers, and only gave up one run on five hits for the rest of the game.
The bullpen once again held the ballgame down, which allowed the Seattle offense to get the timely hits that they needed. The Mariners may not be an overly powerful offensive team, but they know how and where to get it done when they need to. This was on display once again Tuesday night. With so many people watching the teams contending for the wildcard spots with such intensity, the baseball world was allowed to enjoy the Mariners’ style of play. Tight, rather low-scoring, bullpen-dependent games are what can be expected of the Mariners if they make the postseason.
Wild Card Standings
After the conclusion of play on Tuesday, the wild card standings became even more interesting. The Oakland Athletics, with their second straight loss to Seattle, have next to no hope of achieving a wildcard spot. The divide between Seattle and Oakland is becoming more obvious. As of Tuesday, it is now between four teams. The Blue Jays are playing .500 baseball in their last ten games. Unfortunately, at this time of the year, that is not good enough. With their pivotal loss to the New York Yankees, they have all but ensured (never say “never” in baseball, though) that New York will earn one of two spots. Being up two games on an ailing Red Sox team, some would argue the race has come down to three teams–for one spot.
Scheduling-wise, the next five games are interesting. Boston, arguably, has the easier schedule. They are playing the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals in the final stretch. Baltimore can also play with fate with the Blue Jays in the final series of the year. However, the Blue Jays could potentially be too far out of contention by then. This leaves the Mariners playing a disappointed Oakland team, and an already-eliminated Los Angeles Angels team. The Mariners showed a level of confidence on Tuesday against Oakland to pull within a half-game of the wildcard. They got the right hits at the right times, and their pitching was good enough to help win them the ballgame. They will have to continue with their consistent performance in every moment of the next five games to challenge the coveted wildcard spot.
Mariners Winning, Feel-Good Story Season
Hold on to your caps, Seattle. It is going to be a wild ride to the wildcard finish line. Whether it is Seattle, New York, Toronto, or Boston who fill the two wildcard spots, one thing is for certain within the Mariners organization. Seattle was never expected to be amongst this group of names. They have not only shocked baseball, but have brought a feel-good story to the league as well.
The great season that fans have got to be a part of has brought the city back around to loving the M’s. For many fans, one of their best seasons in 20 years would be good enough. However, victory is so close. The drought is on the cusp of being snapped. The postseason is a few long-awaited games away. The belief is growing steadily in Seattle amongst the entire city, organization, players, fans, and baseball lovers around the league, that the Mariners can make their postseason dreams a reality. As the banner in Seattle read so simply, “Believe.”
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