Magic numbers, magic wands, and the Mariners' playoff push

Mariners lower magic number thanks to get right win in Oakland.

Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics
Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

I've always struggled to tout a heavy math skill set. Equations were and will always be my kryptonite. As Mariners play meaningful September baseball, my reliance on the calculator or websites that solve MLB-related equations for me has increased. Last night, I found myself scoreboard-watching (Astros, Rangers) while watching the Mariners start to flush a terrible weekend with a complete 5-0 victory against the cellar-dwelling Athletics.

Last night was the type of drama-free game manager Scott Servais needed for his team. The bottom of the order including Dylan Moore, Jose Caballero, Sam Haggerty, and Luis Torrens combined for five hits and four runs scored. Servais only used one high-leverage reliever (Matt Brash). Best of all, Cal Raleigh got an entire day off, which could be instrumental to the Mariners' chances of effectively navigating the ten day stretch that includes three games against the Astros and seven with the Rangers

Meanwhile, the home team's bullpens imploded late in Arlington and Houston, resulting in brutal losses. Astros' manager Dusty Baker specifically called this loss "devastating." While Bruce Bochy offered up this less-than-inspiring take on his scuffling bullpen that's blown 12 of their past 18 save opportunities.

"What do I do?" Bochy asked postgame. "Well, I keep putting them out there, that's what I have to do. I keep working with them. I wish I had [a magic wand]. They're trying, trust me. It's a great group here. This was a tough one again. We've lost a few of these."

Bruce Bochy on Rangers' struggles

If I'm the Mariners, I love the narratives from their rivals' clubhouses. This is the equivalent of smelling blood in the water. My handy dandy calculator says the Mariners' magic number for the AL West crown is 14. While the wild card magic number is 13. With the Astros and Rangers still figuring things out, the division is still there for the taking, and I don't need a calculator to tell me that.