Aside from the fact that the Mariners have a negative run differential, here’s a key reason why they didn’t deserve to be a playoff team this year. They didn’t manhandle the mediocre and below teams.
The struggle to “beat the teams they should have” didn’t officially begin during the July downfall. It occurred even when the Mariners were riding first place over Houston.
Let’s start in May, right after Cano would sit for a while. From May 14th until the end of the month, they didn’t dominate the bad teams the way they should have. In that span, they won seven one-run games against the Twins, Rangers, and Tigers. Those teams are respectively 10 games, 20 games, and almost 30 games under .500!
Hey Mariners, you aren’t exactly facing the AL’s juggernauts there. I’m not saying the soon-to-be AL playoff teams blew those teams out EVERY game. But relative to us, they clearly were the superior team and handled them in a convincing fashion. Let’s not forget that in three of those May wins, it took us 11 innings or more to beat the AL’s laughing stock. Things clearly went well after May, but we were exploitable.
It was a late June series against the Orioles that made me realize we were a bit overrated. The Orioles are on pace to finish with one of the worst records in recent memory and we played toe-to-toe with them. Would the Astros or Red Sox have played that way? No, they would have eaten the O’s for all three meals plus a snack.
Despite sweeping them in four games, all of our wins in Baltimore were by two runs or less. And two of them were in extras. So the worst team in baseball was an obstacle course for the Mariners? The Mariners had a good record but were far from dominant.
Last but not least, the reality of fading began to hit in August. The Blue Jays, another losing team, came into Safeco and upset the Mariners. That’s also when the Mariners lost their grip on the second wild card spot. In the four-game Toronto series, we lost three out of four. The performance was sluggish in that we only scored six total runs the first three games. Toronto’s best player, Josh Donaldson, wasn’t even active.
The Mariners continued to embarrass themselves in August as they allowed 32 runs in four losses to the Rangers and Padres. The Rangers are obviously in the division cellar while the Padres were riding a cold streak at the time. More like all season long. Forget convincing wins, they were blown out by two bad teams.
And lo and behold. To cap off a collapsed season, tonight’s final was a 2-1 home loss against…the Padres. That’s 0-3 against a club who’s currently 30 games under .500! It’s disappointing that the M’s are on the verge of renewing their October drought, but not a surprise after moments like described.
They’re truly not a playoff team in that the five AL teams who will suit up for October actually take care of the “teams they should.”