‘The future is now’: Mariners’ Scott Servais on final push for a playoff spot
People outside of the Seattle Mariners organization weren’t expecting them to make the playoffs this season, which is just their third since starting a rebuild. But those in Mariners uniforms weren’t hearing it, most notably starting pitcher Marco Gonzales, who said in March that he’s “never been a fan of being told when it’s OK to win” and vowed that the M’s were “prepared to make a statement” in the American League West.
Turns out Gonzales wasn’t blowing smoke, as the Mariners enter Tuesday’s MLB schedule just 1.5 games out of a wild card spot with only five games to go.
The statement has been made. Now there’s a new message.
“You’re always playing the long game – ‘the future, the future.’ The future’s now,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said Tuesday afternoon during the weekly Scott Servais Show on 710 ESPN Seattle.
The Mariners don’t have much (if any) room for error in their quest to end the franchise’s long postseason drought before it hits 20 years, but the fact that a team that hardly anybody expected to be in the mix this late is still alive is an accomplishment. Servais and his team isn’t ready to settle just for that, however.
“We have a chance to get into the playoffs. We’ve got to do something special and we need help, there’s no question about it,” he said. “… We’ve got five to go here and in our mind we need to win them all. You can’t win them all unless you win tonight.”
Tonight would be the Mariners’ 7:10 p.m. Tuesday game against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park (coverage on 710 ESPN Seattle begins with the pregame show at 6 p.m.), and Servais’ point about needing to win was in reference to Seattle changing around its pitching rotation for the game. With 2021 All-Star Yusei Kikuchi struggling in recent outings, the M’s have decided to start veteran left-hander Tyler Anderson on just two days rest. They also called up pitching prospect Matt Brash, who has shined in the minors this season, to join the bullpen and be an option once Anderson’s planned short outing is over.
The Mariners are coming off a thrilling performance Monday night, storming back from an early 3-0 deficit to win 13-4 against Oakland, who started a pitcher Seattle has become quite familiar with: Cole Irvin. After a rough outing against the M’s in May, Irvin said “a team like that should not be putting up 10 hits against me or anyone.” Seattle has been relentless against Irvin ever since, and last night the M’s handed him a loss for the fifth time in 2021, which is a new record for most losing decisions against Seattle by an opposing pitcher in a single season, according to the Mariners’ Gary Hill.
Irvin’s comments after Monday’s game, which was the Mariners’ 10th straight win over Oakland, were much more complimentary to the M’s.
Irvin continued: "There's something about us they don't like, probably from my comments early in the year. They got more blood in the water and they're hungry. You can attribute it to what I said or just bad pitches on my end."
— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) September 28, 2021
Servais said Tuesday he heard some of Irvin’s comments and shared his reaction.
“Well, when I hear things like that, it warms my heart,” he said with a laugh.
He continued to explain what quotes like that from an opponent say about his team.
“When you get those comments from the team in the other dugout across the field, it’s pretty evident that we’re not (kidding) ourselves. It’s pretty clear how our team plays – we play with a lot of heart, we play with a certain passion about it, the will to win. Whatever you want to call it, it’s pretty obvious when you watch us play, and certainly we played against Oakland enough this year in a lot of tight games that we’ve been able to pull out, and that’s maybe what they’re feeling over there right now. And we’ve certainly felt that looking at other teams on the other side over the years, so it’s nice to hear that about our club.
“It’s well-deserved. Our players are the reason for it. Our guys have done a phenomenal job this year of working through some adversity, some bad stretches offensively, dealing with injuries, whatnot. Every team goes through it, but our guys have done a great job dealing with it all year long so it’s really a credit to our players.”
Listen to the full episode of The Scott Servais Show in the podcast at this link or in the player embedded in the story above.
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