Just back from a cruise to Alaska. While I enjoyed my trip immensely, the one truly frustrating aspect was my inability to keep track of the M’s as they dealt death to the Angels and Tigers during their last homestand.
But that’s old news. As the M’s continue their Bums Tour of the AL West, they find themselves knocking on the door of the Wild Card playoff spots. Combined with Detroit’s loss to the the Royals, Seattle has leap-frogged the pack to be the last team on the doorstep. With the Baltimore/Toronto tangle at the top, and the Red Sox holding WC #2, the Mariners find themselves two games behind the leaders.
August is a friendly month to the Mariners schedule-wise. After the M’s finish their four game series with Halos, they come home to face the tanking-it Brewers, and Yankees, who have opted to rebuild, but are still a decent team. Then it’s off to Chicago and three games in Texas against the division leading Rangers.
The schedule has the Mariners playing 23 of their remaining 45 games at home. Almost all of them are against division rivals with four games against the Rangers, seven games against the Astros, six games against the Angels, and seven more against Oakland. They squeeze three games each with the Blue Jays and Twins in their West Division gotterdamerung.
The M’s have the perfect schedule remaining for a team hoping to climb the ladder into the playoffs. Lots of games against bad teams-Angels, A’s, Brewers, and Twins. Lots of games against potential playoff rivals-Rangers, Astros, Blue Jays. Very few games that make me shrug my shoulders.
By contrast, the Red Sox have 29 of their 45 games on the road. Their record away from Fenway is only 27-25. Texas has a more favorable 24 of 45 remaining games at home. The Blue Jays have only 18 games remaining at the Rogers Centre. The Orioles have a more friendly 25 games remaining in Baltimore. The Tigers also have a favorable 26 games at Comerica Park.
It means that every game is crucial. The only way to get into the playoffs is to win. There are 45 games remaining, and the M’s will lose their share, but winning every series is critical. The late Al Davis had it right; to get into the playoffs, the Mariners just have to win.