2001. That was the last time the Mariners were playing a meaningful baseball game in October. 17 years later the same franchise has been watching the postseason at their homes and not on the field.
August 1, 2018. The Mariners hold the second wild-card spot by one game over the Oakland A’s and are only 4 back from the Astros for the division title.
Is this the year?
The Mariners are helping themselves get to the playoffs with Edwin Diaz‘ workload and him saving 40 games. But they aren’t helping themselves winning the wild card game against the Yankees.
Edwin Diaz leads the league in appearances which is concerning to many fans. This season, Edwin Diaz has recorded 40 saves with an ERA of just 2.04 in 53 games.
Mariners general manager, Jerry Dipoto, cannot go a year without trading for pieces at the trade deadline.
Before the trade deadline (July 31), Jerry Dipoto acquired Alex Colome from the Rays, Sam Tuivailala from the Cardinals, Adam Warren from the Yankees, and Zach Duke from the Twins to help out Edwin Diaz so he doesn’t need to pitch in every high-leverage situation.
At least that is what we thought.
Whenever I turn on the game in the ninth and sometimes in the eighth, Edwin Diaz is on the mound. He is not throwing too many pitches in the game, but you still throw a lot of pitches in the bullpen before you enter the game, so that can be taxing on him, also.
After the deadline, Dipoto spoke about the importance of adding to the bullpen depth: “Now with Duke and Adam Warren and Sam Tuivailala and even Alex Colomé, to add that kind of depth to your bullpen in-season is something we’re pretty happy with.
Tui and Adam Warren give us guys who really have neutralized right-handed hitters very well who are also capable of throwing multiple innings through the course of an outing. Zach Duke does just the opposite. He wipes out the left-hand side, and he has done it for playoff-caliber clubs and he’s done it for a number of years.”
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There are numerous examples of workload getting to pitchers in the playoffs. Just last year Max Scherzer came into Game 5 against the Cubs and got the loss to send the Nationals home yet again.
Last year in Game 2 of the World Series, both Kenley Jansen of the Dodgers and Ken Giles of the Astros had to pitch multiple innings and both faltered.
During August I recommend Scott Servais use newly acquired Tuivailala to pitch the ninth or in the eighth inning with two outs instead of having Edwin pitch a four-out save, especially against opponents like the Astros where you may face them in the playoffs.
Seattle’s offense could also start hitting. Sunday’s first inning was what M’s fans have wanted to see for a couple weeks now.
Averaging 3.2 runs per game during the last 16 games, they weren’t clicking, so to see Dee Gordon be aggressive out of the gate on the first pitch of the game, it let the floodgates open.
Then, we get to the ninth inning and guess who is pitching. It is a three-run game, not one run.
Just little breaks like this would help for the Wild Card Game against the Yankees where you need every arm, and the best closer in the game right now at 100%.