Mariners are still a game back of the wild card, and it’s about to not be okay

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 6: Guillermo Heredia
KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 6: Guillermo Heredia /

The Mariners have had one of the strangest seasons in recent memory. They are good, really good. The offense is one of the best in the league, on paper. Their pitching staff is inversely one of the worst in the league. Yet, somehow, they’re only a game and a half back of a playoff spot.

They’ve seemingly been stuck at .500, a game over, or a game under for the last few months. The Mariners have been stagnantly losing a few then winning a few. They never lose too many so they haven’t really fallen too far back in the race, but they never win enough that they can crack one of the wild card spots. This is okay behavior considering what this team has dealt with, but the Mariners are overstaying their welcome in the third and fourth spots of the wild card standings.

Why is this acceptable to now? Well, we have to remember the fact that this team has lost Drew Smyly, Felix Hernandez (twice), Jean Segura (twice), Robinson Cano, Mitch Haniger (twice), Hisashi Iwakuma (who?), some various bullpen arms, at one point even James Paxton, and yet they’re still right in the thick of the race. That’s why that’s okay.

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It’s about to not be though, because we’re getting to crunch time of the season. They can’t sit around .500 forever if their 16-year playoff drought is going to end in 2017. They need to string together a few wins in their upcoming series.

In their next nine games, the Mariners get two against Oakland, four against the Angels, and three against the Orioles. Oakland is 50-62 and is now minus their All-Star first baseman Yonder Alonso. Hehe *smirk*. Los Angeles is 55-57, but the Mariners get them at home, where the M’s are 5 over .500 this season. The Orioles check in at 55-56 this season, but it’s Edgar Weekend in Seattle, and somehow it just feels like the Mariners should be impervious while honoring a player like that. Oh how we wish that was true.

Regardless of speculation, The M’s are at the crux of their season. They can either step up, put the foot on the gas, and get into the drivers seat of the playoff chase. Or, they can lose some more and slowly fade out of contention as they have in past years.

Currently, they have one reliable starter in their rotation, and that is cause for great concern. If Jerry Dipoto can make himself a deal in the next week however, maybe Seattle can avoid a third start by Erasmo Ramirez.

Next: Mariners acquire All-Star Yonder Alonso

In all, the next nine games lead up to a showdown with Tampa Bay, who currently sits a game ahead of Seattle. If the Mariners do what they need to, those games will be huge, and could put Seattle in prime position to snag a berth in Game 163.