Barring a massive and ongoing meltdown that could cause a mass rebellion (or a global depression or both) from its fan base, the long domestic nightmare will soon be over. Sailors – stop reading now if you believe in sexes – really, really, likely I headed to the playoffs after an absence of 20 years.
Here’s the best part: It’s perfectly set up to do some serious damage when it gets there.
ignore aberration Wednesday 9-6 Dirty loss To the White Sox, where the sailors lied to coach Scott Servis’ pre-match announcement: “I’ve told you a lot, we’ve won many games. We also don’t lose too many games.”
Well, they lost this by giving up six unearned runs across three fouls. But she is atypical. The Mariners have been among the best defensive teams in baseball all year and have been basically strong. Service was right when he said this after the match: “I’m not going to play it. The sky doesn’t fall. We had a bad day.”
Mostly, sailors have piled in good day after good day since mid-June. Every year, the team is anointed as the person no one wants to face in the post-season. Sailors deserve that label in 2022. Oh, you could certainly say the same about the Dodgers, Astros and Braves, but they hardly sneak up on anyone; These three teams represent three of the last five world championship winners (and four of the last five world championship losers).
The sailors will have new blood. It’s a team that has been absent from the national scene for so long that regular fans (and even some enthusiasts) can easily fall asleep on them.
That would be unwise. Sailors will enter the post-season as a wild card, but they have many elements that lead to long distances. Let me quickly add that they can be kicked out in the first round; The postseason is a crapshoot, as Billy Bean mentioned more eloquently (and breathlessly) after one of his early A-time chasers. Mariners are far from offensive power, and they still have a tendency to miss a lot of scoring opportunities. This is why they are two-digit games behind the Astros in their division.
But here’s why I like noise-making opportunities:
- start promoting. In a short streak, especially if Servais has the luxury of setting up his rotation the way he chooses, the Mariners can make a potentially dominant start in every game. Think Luis Castillo, Robbie Ray and potentially Logan Gilbert starting, with George Kirby in the mix.
Prior to Wednesday, when Castillo started the game with a MLS record tied seven strikes in a row and faltered in sixth, his start was 12-2 with an average gain of 2.08 (111 goals and 16 walks in 117 runs) previously. 20 matches. This plays in the regular season – especially in the postseason.
“Every day our team comes onto the field and says, ‘Who’s promoting us?'” Service said. And it feels good.” Well, who’s promoting? Oh yeah, we’ll be there. We will win today. Then tomorrow: Oh, yeah. We are there. We must win today.
“There’s no better feeling: Going off drives the train; the train will always drive in baseball, as far as I’m concerned. You have to make plays behind them and do all the other things. But we’re in good shape. Love our rotations. We just have to keep them healthy.”
- Bull barn. What really plays out in the post-season, when managers tend to fly fast, is relief. Particularly dominant short relief that causes the first half. And the Mariners are brimming with the arms of power that will allow Servé to play the matching game that teams like Kansas City and Cleveland have taken advantage of in recent years. I can guarantee you that no team is eager to take on Andres Munoz, who may be the most powerful loyalist in the game right now in this aspect of Edwin Diaz. Aside from Munoz, the Mariners have had the best stylus in the AL over the past 60 games by almost any measure.
- Momentum: Despite Wednesday’s clinker, the Mariners have been playing the best Major League baseball game for two and a half months. Since dropping 10 games below 0.500 on June 21, the final “sky-drops” moment of the 2022 season, they have had a record 48-21 – a win percentage of 0.696. Over the course of 162 games, this translates to 113 wins.
The only better team during that period is the strong Dodgers (53-17). Next up after Seattle is defending champion Braves (46-22), who started a three-game streak at T-Mobile Park on Friday that should go a long way toward measuring the Mariners’ place in the MLB hierarchy.
Granted, the Sailors can undo their momentum by faltering in the final three weeks of the season. But with a 20-game winning streak in a row against sub-0.500 teams – their last 10 home games – they should be able to slip into October and still ride that wave.
- Julio Factor: Yes, their rookie apprentice is only 21, but if anyone in the Mariners can take on a streak under the red-hot lights, it’s Julio Rodriguez. He’s already shown that tendency to live up to the moment at the Home Run Derby. Superstars have the ability to carry teams on their backs, and Rodriguez is a superstar in the making.
- Factor X: I suspect the agonizing drought, as agonizing as it was, will turn into a friend of the Mariners if and when they get to October. They’re sure to become sentimental favorites, for one reason; But most importantly, the atmosphere at T-Mobile after a two-decade absence will be nothing short of morbid. Just think what it was like in 1995, and expect that level of fanaticism, or maybe more. No team should have a greater advantage at home.
Here’s my unsolicited piece of advice for fans who may still be obsessed with Wednesday’s blindness: harp instead on the possibilities looming.