The Seattle Mariners took the next big step in their playoff chase by beating the Oakland A’s 3-2 in the first game of their season-concluding series. In doing so they crossed the 10 wins over .500 barrier, to 85-74. And while the win wasn’t pretty, it was critical to their post-season hopes.
Despite the critical win, the M’s hopes faltered as the teams ahead of them simply didn’t do their job-lose.
The critical Detroit-Cleveland series was short-circuited by a rain postponement, leaving the Tigers a half game ahead of Seattle. It will only be made up if the missing game has an effect on the playoffs, and it well may.
The Toronto-Baltimore series has taken the worst of all possible turns for the Mariners hopes. The O’s went into the Rogers Centre holding the second wild card spot, a game behind the Blue Jays. A Blue Jays sweep was the best outcome. It would have dropped the O’s into a tie with the M’s, a half game behind Detroit. An Orioles sweep would have left the Jays holding the second wild card, with the M’s only a game behind. A Blue Jays series win would have left the Mariners a game behind. But no, the worst possible outcome was a Baltimore series win. They are now tied with Toronto, both teams two games ahead of the M’s with three games to play.
The M’s do have some advantages going into the weekend series. The first is they are playing at home. All three of their competitors, Detroit, Baltimore and Toronto are on the road. The M’s are also playing the A’s, with one of the worst records in major league baseball with a .421 win percentage. here is how the other teams shape up:
Blue Jays @ Boston Red Sox .579 win pct.
Orioles @ New York Yankees ..522 win pct.
Detroit @ Atlanta Braves ..418 win pct.
The M’s need to win, but they are going to need significant help for the playoff picture to break in their direction. Even one loss will be one too many. It may take 89 wins for a wild card berth this year, and the M’s can’t get that many.