The Mariners had an August that would make any team crumble. Let’s just acknowledge that. They played 27 games in 31 days, with 20 of them being on the road. The team enters September on a five-game losing streak, and looks to come up with a critical bounce back series at home against Oakland.
We are getting to the point where we may need to mail in 2017 and focus on next year, but let’s just, for the time being, still act like the postseason, this season, is a possibility. The Mariners essentially need a sweep if they want any chance at a meaningful September.
In order to pull off the sweep, they need a big first game win. In order to do get a big first game win, they’re going to need a strong start from Mike Leake in his first game with the team. He has had a meltdown since the end of May, but there have been some solid starts mixed in. Leake was also publicly upset with his situation in St. Louis so maybe he’ll find his 2017 early-season drive once more in Seattle.
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Leake had Cy Young-esque numbers through 10 starts this season. Dipoto and company brought him in with the hope that those numbers will make a return. Seattle also needs Leake to pitch well because the bats have gone painfully quiet in the last 10 games. While they have scored 6+ runs in four of those games, they are averaging just 3.4 runs/game in that time frame.
The Mariners have seen Jean Segura slump badly in the last two months, and a big rebound series for him would be huge for the team. Seattle needs their franchise shortstop to find his stride to end 2017 if for nothing other than to have some confidence going into 2018.
The M’s are teetering on the edge of irrelevancy in 2017, and if they want to stay contending, if they want to be playing competitive baseball down the stretch, then they need a big 3-game sweep of Oakland this weekend.