Mariners Players That Need To Step Up To Lock In Playoff Berth
At the beginning of the month, I can honestly say I thought the Mariners had a great shot at winning the division. I might have been too optimistic. That would take something a bit too miraculous now, but home field advantage in the wildcard game is still theirs for the taking.
The Mariners took the first game of three against the division rival A’s. I couldn’t tell what has got the A’s playing so terribly that they are just 2-8 in their last 10 games. I can tell you that every Mariner fan is enjoying this collapse as the Mariners rise. They still have 16 games left and each one will be critical to their playoff odds.
So what are a few things that need to happen to help the Mariners break this playoff drought? First, we need key starters to get back on track and stay sharp. Hisashi Iwakuma and Chris Young have been a little shaky as of late.
We’d like to see them make it deeper into games as Iwakuma has made it to the 6 inning mark just once in his last 4 starts after going at least 7 innings in 8 of his 9 previous starts. Young was able to hold Texas to just 2 runs in his last start but worked just 5 innings. The bullpen has been among the best in baseball but I think it’d be better not to overwork them coming into the second half of September.
Second, the corner outfield needs to step up again. Michael Saunders returned from a long stay on the DL and Dustin Ackley is back in action after missing some time. Both are crucial role players to this offense. Both have hit in the second hole in the lineup a bit this year and both showed why they deserved to hit there.
If they can both start playing well again, having one at the top of the order and one toward the bottom, that would give the team threats on both sides of the lineup. Even with the A’s playing poorly, they need to stay sharp to make sure they don’t let these games slip away. And with seven games still left against the Angels they have to make sure that the others count.