Moore: With Mariners’ recent hot streak, playoffs suddenly not unrealistic
OK, a week or so ago, I wrote that I hoped the Mariners would finish with MLB’s worst record so they could get the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft, further helping their rebuilding plans.
But since that time, they’ve been relatively hot, winning six of their last eight games, showing more signs of life than I thought they had.
If they’re not going to finish with the sorriest record, the worst thing they can do is finish somewhere in the middle of the pack, which is where they are now, not in position to earn a playoff berth or a great draft pick.
Two weeks ago with their lineup and bullpen, I felt like they had a shot at the worst record. Now the Mariners appear good enough – in spite of Thursday’s bullpen meltdown in the first game of a doubleheader at San Diego – to challenge for a wild-card spot.
I know this comes as an about face from my previous post, but all I want is one or the other – worst record or playoff berth, none of this in between stuff.
And along those lines of thinking, have you noticed that the Mariners (13-20) are just four games behind the Blue Jays (15-14) in the “race” for the eighth and final American League playoff spot?
In their next 18 games, the Mariners play 15 against teams with losing records (Angels, Rangers, Giants and Diamondbacks). For now, never mind the last eight games of the season against teams with winning records (Padres, Astros and A’s).
The Blue Jays still have 10 games left against the Yankees, and maybe playing home games in Buffalo will hurt them down the stretch – I know that’s a reach but work with me here.
Plus there are only two teams with better records between the Mariners and Blue Jays – Baltimore (14-16) and Detroit (13-16) – so it’s not like it’s going to be a crowded horse race to the finish.
The Mariners are playing their best baseball of the season and enter a four-game series against the Angels, who at 10-22 have the worst MLB record. If they take three of four or all four in Anaheim, it could get even more interesting as we head into September.
Maybe you’re shaking your head at the possibility, doubting that the Mariners have a chance. But think about it, the lineup’s been good of late, so has the starting rotation, and I’ve become a fan of several of the relievers, feeling like they’re better than what they’ve shown to this point.
Plus it’s not like the Mariners are trying to catch up to the A’s or the Rays. The teams they’re trying to catch are flawed like they are. There’s a good chance the eighth playoff team will have a sub-.500 record.
It’s probably a crazy notion, but I don’t look at it as a pipedream anymore.