The Importance of This Series With Chicago

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The Mariners have now pulled with in 4.5 games of the Boston Red Sox in the wild card race – just close enough so that everyone has started talking about it. To achieve a playoff birth via the wild card is going to be no easy task. To do so, the Mariners not only have to catch the Red Sox, but they also have to catch the Rangers and the Rays, while keeping the White Sox from catching them.

Catching three superior teams over the course of two months is tough enough, but catching four would be even tougher. That’s why it’s imperative that Mariners play good baseball in this series, and ideally, win at least two of the three. Not only is this series with the White Sox going to be a good opportunity to gain on both the Red Sox and the Rays, as they’re playing the Tigers and the Angels, respectively, but it’s also a good opportunity to widen the gap between us the White Sox.

The White Sox are quickly fading in the AL Central race, and remain on the fringe of the wild card race, 1.5 games behind us. The Mariners already have enough to worry about, catching three good teams is a daunting task, and it will make it significantly easier for them if they don’t also have to worry about the White Sox sitting in their rear view mirror.

It isn’t going to be an easy series. We’ll face Gavin Floyd, John Danks, and Mark Buehrle, their three toughest arms. We’ll counter with Luke French, who should do well at Safeco, Doug Fister, and Felix. Our best chances to win are today and Wednesday. Winning just those two would be acceptable, but if we  can pull off a sweep we should be able to effectively turn the wild card race into a 4 team race.

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