A Sweep Will Do That For You

mike-zuninos-homer
Mike Zunino’s two run homer gave the Mariners a 2-0 lead in Sunday’s 3-2 victory.

With 19 games left to play, the M’s crept ever so so slightly up the Wild Card ladder with their sweep of the Oakland A’s.  They leap-frogged over the faltering Kansas City Royals, equaled the Houston Astros and tightened up the clot of teams ahead of them, climbing to within a game and half of Detroit and the Yankees.  There’s still plenty of work to do, but the M’s have roughly doubled their playoff probability according to FanGraphs, from 6.7% to 12.0%

The M’s trashed a pretty awful A’s team over the weekend, getting by on solid starting performances by Hisashi Iwakuma, Felix Hernandez and James Paxton.  The games featured no bullpen meltdowns. Saturday’s 14-3 demolition derby had plenty of scoring for the offense-only devotees.

Sunday’s 3-2 nail biter had just enough for those who love tight games (like me.) Dave Niehaus would have called it a barn-burner. But perhaps the best part was seeing a glimpse of what might be the outfield-of-the-future as Guillermo Heredia and Ben Gamel flanked veteran center fielder Leonys Martin, and looked like greyhounds compared to Mariners outfields of the recent past. Now if they can just get on base a bit.

But we leave Oakland behind for the moment and head down to Anaheim and the Angels, who likewise are putrid. The M’s feature Ariel Miranda Monday night.  I’ve taken an increasing liking to the Cuban lefty, and he continues to show improvement as the season progresses. On Tuesday we’ll see the re-tooling Taijuan Walker, before heading home after Wednesday’s season finale against Los Angeles.

The triumvirate of Kole Calhoun, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols have led the Angels to an 8-8 record vs the Mariners. The M’s must do better than that to have a shot at the playoffs.  With 19 games remaining, the Mariners likely can’t lose more than five. The M’s  will need to solve the riddles posed by their rivals to the South to have a meaningful chance going forward.

This was quite the sport weekend. With Dawgs trampling the undermanned Vandals on Saturday, and WSU tripping at the least minute in Boise, it set the stage for Sunday’s heroics.  Yes, the Seahawks won in the last 30 seconds on Russell Wilson’s gimpy ankle.  But I didn’t see it.  See I was tuned into Ketel Marte’s clutch single after Mike Zunino’s leadoff double in the ninth. Edwin Diaz’s complete domination of the A’s to wrap up the game and insure the sweep was all the excitement I needed, or could handle.

 

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