The Mariners are clinging to the mathematical improbability of reaching the Wild Card playoff after beating the Angels 4-3 last night. What kind of a miracle could propel them to their first postseason berth since 2001?
The Mariners have been good but not good enough this season to challenge the nearly unbeatable Houston Astros for a playoff berth out of the American League West, but their chances haven’t dwindled to nothing yet.
The Mariners playoff chances have dropped to just under 5%, according to Fangraphs as of this writing.
Their sad rotation bolstered by desperate moves by general manager Jerry Dipoto and held together with duct tape is about to be nearly whole again when Felix Hernandez and James Paxton return next week.
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But by then the season might effectively be over. The win last night against Los Angeles patched one hole in the Mariners leaky ship, but it didn’t ensure the ship would sail to the Promised Land, either. After a home sweep to Houston, the Angels series is probably the last straw if the Mariners drop two of three.
There is a narrow, muddy, and dangerous path to the playoffs still open to the Mariners, even now. It would involve winning an incredible amount of their remaining games, requiring a run Seattle hasn’t really mustered all year. They’ll have to win with their current rotation featuring Andrew Albers (starting tonight), Erasmo Ramirez, and Ariel Miranda until Pax and the King return. Then, those two have to pitch to their potential, as does the rest of the team.
Things aren’t over, but if they drop the series against LA it might as well be. Aside from numbers like playoff odds and win-loss records, the Mariners have to prove they can consistently beat good teams, and that’s something they haven’t done all season. Maybe this group still has a run in them, but to this point, I haven’t seen much evidence they do.