Welcome to the month of September. The Seattle Mariners are certainly not in the driver’s seat for a playoff spot, but at 73-62, they are right there. Currently the Mariners are a half game out of the second Wild Card spot.
Who else is in the hunt? A lot of teams.
The Los Angeles Angels have taken over the top spot in the American League West and the Oakland A’s are doing their best impression of Tom Petty’s “Free Falling.” Meanwhile, the Mariners are jostling with the Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees.
Too many teams.
So, what remains? Who are the obstacles that the Mariners must overcome? Here is the remaining schedule:
Astros (3), A’s (3), Angels (3)
A’s (3), Rangers (4), Angels (4), Astros (3), Blue Jays (4)
Under more normal circumstances, one might conclude that this is not a friendly schedule. However, the Mariners are 36-36 at home this season and 37-26 on the road. Go figure. Safeco Field has not exactly provided a strong homefield advantage.
The dream scenario is that the Mariners get on a nice hot streak, but a more realistic scenario is that they split with the A’s and Angels and then take down the Rangers,’Stros and Jays. For the Mariners, the challenge is that they have not played particularly well against lesser opponents. Therefore, it would not be shocking if the M’s struggled down the stretch against Triple-A pitchers that no one knows.
Seattle has a .541 winning percentage right now. A 15-12 record over the final 27 games would be a .556 percentage. That would raise their average, but 15-12 doesn’t feel particularly comfortable.
A 17-10 September record would be a little better, and might be just enough to win a playoff spot. The Mariners were 17-10 in August, so it can be done.
What is it going to be, Mariners? Are you going to wilt in the hot summer sun? Or are you going to grab this opportunity and show the fans that the Seattle Seahawks aren’t the only team that can make the playoffs?
27 games. Time to see whether this team is ready for the next level.