The Seattle Mariners are
7.5 games 6.5 games out of the wild card race. With 37 games left on the board, the team may have just gotten hot at exactly the right time. Or have they? According to Baseball Prospectus, the Mariners have a less than 1% chance–0.2% to be exact–of making the playoffs; a range they have hovered around all season. In fact, while the Mariners are the proud owners of a shiny 8-game winning streak and the best record in baseball post All-Star Break, it may in fact be too little too late.
Understanding the Mariners are playing good baseball doesn’t necessarily ensure sustained success. The Mariners happened to be in a pretty decent place before stumbling over a 17-game losing streak earlier this season. As a matter of fact if the club were to have gone a mild 8-9 in that time frame, they would be 69 and 55 right now, skyrocketing them into second place in the division, with a 31.6 percent chance of grabbing a playoff spot. It was hard to watch, and it has become even harder to cope with.
The majority of this recent string of success has come against less than stellar opposition. Going forward, the Mariners will only face three teams with a record below .500, including the Twins, Red Sox, and Blue Jays. The playoffs odds aren’t looking so hot, and although the Rangers 97.1% odds are not historically insurmountable (the 1995 California Angels had a 99.9% chance of making the playoffs), asking for a ’95 esque playoff push isn’t realistic. What the Mariners did in ’95 was nothing short of a miracle. A spectacular team, with spectacular talent, pulling off a spectacular feat. These Mariners are not those Mariners.
The starting lineup for the 1995 Seattle Mariners included offensive likes of Dan Wilson, Mike Blowers, Joey Cora, Tino Martinez, Jay Buhner, Ken Griffey Jr., and Edgar Martinez. The 2012 Seattle Mariners includes John Jaso, Michael Saunders, Jesus Montero, Dustin Ackley, and Kyle Seager. The talent gap is incredible, at least on the offensive side of the house. The Mariners chances of surpassing the Rangers are minuscule, and if they plan on making a push they will certainly be setting their sites on the Wild Card. In order for the Mariners to even make the second slot in WC race, the opposition–meaning the Angels, Athletics, Tigers, and Orioles–would have to go at least 16-21 with the Mariners going 21-16. That is cutting it by just one game.
The situation is not promising, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Stranger things have happened after all. However if you are banking on a miracle come back, then you are bound to have your heart broken… more often than not.