Welcome to interleague play. The New York Mets are in town and it is time for the Seattle Mariners to show that they are a playoff team.
In other words, the Mariners need a sweep.
Are the Mariners desperate to win the three-game series? Not necessarily, but this is a crucial time for the Mariners. The trade deadline is approaching, the Wild Card lead is slim, Robinson Cano has some sore hamstrings and the M’s just got beat in the bottom of the ninth by arrow-wielding Mike Trout and Albert Pujols.
Time to right the ship. Time to build a little confidence.
A need for wins is an obvious expectation for an above-average team, but this could be a key stretch for the Mariners. Granted, there are a couple ways to look at this time period.
If the Mariners play well over the next couple of weeks, Jack Zduriencik might determine that the team does not need to make a major trade. Unfortunately, that could be a short-sighted decision if the team goes cold in August or key players get hurt.
On the flip side, poor play could cause the Mariners to overpay for aging players in a desperate attempt to keep pace in the Wild Card standings. This is not necessarily a desirable scenario either.
Regardless, the teams in the hunt are not going to go away soon. The New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals are all within reasonable striking distance of the Mariners. Even the Chicago White Sox, Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox aren’t completely out of the race.
Too many teams. Too much time.
Start with the Mets, and get a sweep. The Mariners need to put a little distance between themselves and their competition. Now.