Seattle Mariners (82-69, Last 10: 5-5; Playoff Probability: 1.4%)
Now that we’ve gone through every other team in the playoff hunt, let’s look at what the Mariners need to do (hint: they can’t dump a series to the Angels). In 2021, our records against Oakland and Los Angeles are 10-4 and 8-5, respectively. It feels like this offense is heating up at just the right time, and our remaining schedule is incredibly favorable.
1. 2G @ OAK: We’re throwing Flexen and Kikuchi tonight. Realistically, we need every game we can get. I have all the confidence that we pick up tonight’s game and go into tomorrow looking for the sweep. If we find ourselves up in Kikuchi’s start, we have to win.
Prediction: 1 win.
2. 3G @ LAA: We’re throwing 3 reliable, consistent pitchers in this series. Gilbert looks to have rediscovered his early season form, Anderson is rock solid, and Marco hasn’t lost a start since the All Star game. I’d say we sweep here – it’s the home stretch, and we need every W we can get.
Prediction: 2 wins (might need a sweep).
3. 3G vs. OAK: Flexen, Kikuchi, and Gilbert throw in this series. Given Kikuchi’s recent form, it’s difficult to know how he’ll fare. I’ll take Logan and Chris in must-win games purely for their competitive natures. This needs to be a series win.
Prediction: 2 wins.
4. 3G vs. LAA: At this point, we’ll be at 87 wins and would put us 3 wins short of where I’m projecting both the Blue Jays and Yankees to be. It’s fair to say that anything can happen, and teams can inexplicably drop games to anyone, but sweeping the Angels in either series would appear to be a must.
Prediction: 2 wins (might need a sweep)
The morale of the story here is clear: the Mariners have no margin for error the rest of the season. They cannot lose a series, and might even find themselves in need of a sweep. There have been a few managerial errors in bullpen use (keeping pitchers out too long, making late subs, etc.) as of late, but zero margin of error extends to all facets of the organization.
For the Mariners to break the playoff drought and reach 90 wins, we need a sweep somewhere. My thinking is…it could come in the series down in Anaheim. If we can hit 90 wins, it’s very possible we enter some sort of crazy three-way-tie for the second Wild Card spot where the explanation for solving such a scenario is murky at best. The chaos ball continues…