OH MY. There are just six games left in the season for the Mariners, and I cannot explain how exciting it is to still be in the race. Try and remember the last time the Mariners were this close at the end of the season AND pair that with you actually feeling semi-confident that they have a shot.
Back in 2018, they finished 89-73, but they were eight games out behind Oakland. 2016 is where you could have an argument, as they finished three games out and lost their last two. My point is that it’s been a long time, and even if things don’t work out, things feel different.
There’s a sense of optimism, of hope, of the Mariners actually hanging around and sticking this out for the next six games. Yeah, they may be lucky to be here. They get blown out sometimes, but you can see that they play hard and never give up. It’s something that stands out and is a differing factor for this 2021 Mariners team.
Let’s look at the schedules for the Mariners and the other remaining Wild Card hopefuls
Here are the remaining schedules for the teams that are fighting for the Wild Card, as well as their playoff odds, courtesy of Fangraphs. The Mariners were up to 5-7% a few days ago but fell a bit after splitting their last two games and watching New York sweep Boston.
New York (81.0%): Monday off, 3 at Toronto, 3 vs Tampa
Boston (87.1%): Monday off, 3 at Baltimore, 3 at Washington
Toronto (28.5%): Monday off, 3 vs Yankees, 3 vs Baltimore
Seattle (2.9%): 3 vs Oakland, Thursday off, 3 vs Angels
Oakland (0.6%): 3 at Seattle, Thursday off, 3 at Houston
We’ve already seen Marco Gonzales save the season a couple of times over the last week for the Mariners. Hopefully, the Mariners are able to take care of business against Oakland, as that is going to be step one on staying in the hunt over the next week. Cole Irvin… let’s keep it going, yeah?
A big concern is going to be the second game of the series, as many fans are nervous about Yusei Kikuchi making another start. That’s a worry for tomorrow though, and we get to watch and see if Chris Flexen can keep up his hot pitching tonight.
As for the remaining teams, it seems like we need to root pretty hard for Baltimore and Washington. Honestly, it’s hard to tell who we should root for after the Yankees swept Boston, which was the worst-case scenario for Mariners fans.
Boston has the easiest schedule. The Yankees have six of six games left in the division. Toronto is only a game up on Seattle, with three against the Yankees and three against the Orioles. The scenario we should probably root for is Baltimore dominating somehow, New York taking care of business against Toronto, and Washington playing with pride that last series. Once again, we may need to be Yankee fans.
Or, have Toronto take at least 2 of 3 vs New York, then Tampa take care of business. Baltimore wins out, and Washington plays well. It’s not gonna be easy, but if the Mariners can go 4-2 or 5-1 to finish the year, they are going to have a chance at a Wild Card berth when things are said and done.