Wednesday night the M’s managed to stake Roenis Elias to 3-1 lead by the time he left in the 6th inning. But the bullpen, as it has most of the season, was unable to to hold it. Closer Tom Wilhelmsen, after five days of inactivity wasn’t sharp, gave up the tying run in the ninth, and inevitably a variety of Rollins’, Zychs and whoever else was handy made short work of things in the 10th.
Last night’s game was strictly ant-climax as an early injury to starter James Paxton led to a string of relievers who helped the Royals to one of those all-too familiar double digit romps, 10-4 over the visiting boys from Seattle. The Royals clinched their first division title in 30 years, while the Mariners clinched a final road series to LA before returning to Seattle to play out the string.
For those of you counting the ways the M’s can sneak into the division title or find the secret entrance into the wild card race, you’re running out of games and fingers. The division leading Rangers are red-hot and have a 9.5 game lead and the M’s have nine games left to play. The M’s are six games out of the wild card race with six teams in front of them for the final spot.
Even my modest goals of finishing at .500 and catching the hated Angels seem unlikely after these two losses. The M’s are 4.5 games behind the demons from Orange County. They would have to go 8-1 over their final games to reach .500. With Taijuan Walker being held out to limit his innings, and James Paxton possibly injured, the M’s would have to cobble together four pretty amazing starts from the likes of Vidal Nuno and some combination of bullpen swill in order to have a shot at that.
The one possibility at satisfaction is for the Mariners to breeze into the Big A tonight and take three from the Angels. Knocking those red shirted, haloed, buggers out of the wild card race would be good enough.
The M’s have played some pretty good ball over the past few weeks, but they didn’t leave any margin for error. The team just waited a little too long for to play up to their talent level. The little tease is over.