The Mariners were swept in Texas for the second time this year. Is the race to the postseason over with a month left?
The Mariners went into Texas looking for their 300th win all-time against the Rangers on Monday. The two teams have shared the A.L. West Division since the Mariners’ inception in 1977. Since that time, the Mariners have played more games against the Rangers (612) and have more wins (299) against them than any other team. Of all of the teams in their division, the Mariners’ winning percentage of 0.489% against the Rangers is the highest.
It’s hard to believe that there would be a time that the Mariners would need a win more than they needed their 300th on Monday, the “must have” series opener in Texas. The M’s had faltered in New York and Chicago, and came to Texas to face three more formidable starting pitchers. A win against the Rangers Monday would have the M’s just 7.5 games back in the West and within a game and a half of the Wildcard.
That 300th win in Texas never came and now the Mariners find themselves in a desperate situation, competing with six other teams for two playoff spots.
In life, it’s difficult to look back on what could have been, and as fans, it’s not any easier. Especially when what happened is a three-game sweep, complete with a come from behind, walk-off home run against our closer; followed the next morning by a 14-1 laugher over our ace. Perhaps, what keeps us waking up every day as people, and continuing to cheer for our team as fans, is looking forward toward what could be a brighter future.
Thankfully, we don’t have to give up on the season just yet. Even though the AL West belongs to Texas, after the most difficult road trip of the season the Mariners are still just 4.5 games back in the Wild Card. It’s true that we’re competing with six other teams for just two spots, but after a much-needed day off tomorrow, there are still 29 games left in the season. Of all eight of the teams competing, the Mariners have the easiest schedule, with 13 coming against the lowly Angels and Athletics.
M’s are still just 4.5 games back in the Wild Card.
At worst, the Mariners are so much better off today than they were headed into last year’s offseason. We have so many pieces we didn’t have then, with real answers at the catcher and closer positions, and several young players have gotten better (Caminero, Martin, O’Malley, Paxton). Our farm system, which ranked 28th at the start of the season is much improved. In fact, the AAA Rainiers are first in their division and the AA Generals are 0.5 games back.
The 2017 Mariners will have a great mix of star veteran players and young talent, with incredible depth compared to 2015. Don’t give up on the 2016 M’s, but the future is not as dark as it may seem. Even after an awful series in Texas and a hugely disappointing road trip.
By Collin Ferguson @ EmeraldCitySwagger.com