Mariners Must Be Aware of this Division Rival
By Josh Maduell
Our hometown Mariners are sizzling right now. They’re currently riding a six-game winning streak against the two worst teams in the league. Whether it’s pretty or not, they’re beating who they should be.
These Mariners have been nothing short of resilient either. This win streak comes on the heels of a five-game streak the other way. The Red Sox and Yankees humbled the Mariners up by each completing five-run comebacks, daggers into the hearts of fans.
The Mariners are in a comfortable spot thanks to this win streak. They’re 22 games over .500 for the first time in a long time. They sit 1.5 games behind the defending champs for the division. Even though it can all change in a flash, the Mariners are sipping margaritas at seven games ahead of the next closest team in the wild-card race.
The only problem is that the A’s are that next closest team. Does anyone else remember 2002 and 2003? The Mariners won 93 games each of those seasons and both times, the A’s shattered teal and blue hopes everywhere.
In 2002 the A’s rode a 20-game winning streak en route to the West title. Our M’s led the West by a season-high eight games on June 13th, 2003. The A’s overcame the deficit to claim their second straight division title.
As Mariner fans, we should, of course, fear the champion Astros but our blood with the A’s goes back further. Back long before Houston switched leagues.
The A’s are that ache in your side that never goes away. They play their best when you can only name a couple of their players. That’s not a team you want waiting in the rafters.
Bear in mind, the ’02 and ’03 A’s didn’t necessarily have the best superstars playing at the time. It’s that they fed on the Mariner’s second-half collapses and had mojo.
They leapfrogged us by getting hot at the right time as we faded out of first at the wrong time. In addition, they didn’t let their low-ranking payroll affect them either. They played more clutch baseball than us and we paid for it.
Flash forward to modern times. Oakland rides a six-game win streak of their own. While every other team is double-digit games behind us for the wild card, they’re hanging around at seven games behind. With this much baseball left, that’s nothing.
Next: The 10 Worst Mariners Since 2001
If this is triggering 2002 and 2003 memories for other M’s fans, you’re not alone. Whether the A’s catch us or not is to be determined. Bottom line is, don’t underestimate these guys and beware.