Mariners aren’t just pushing for playoffs, they’re playing their best baseball

Sep 29, 2021, 1:07 AM | Updated: 1:37 am
Mariners J.P. Crawford...
J.P. Crawford of the Seattle Mariners gestures after hitting a double in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on Tuesday night. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

The countdown to the end of the 2021 MLB regular season is now down to just four games for the Seattle Mariners, and as their competition in the race for the second American League wild card is well aware, they haven’t gone anywhere.

‘The future is now’: Scott Servais on Mariners’ final push for playoffs

With Tuesday night’s 4-2 win over the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park, the Mariners moved to 88-70 on the season and just a half-game back of the Boston Red Sox (88-69) for that second wild card. Perhaps the most impressive thing about all of this is that while the Red Sox are stumbling, having lost four straight including their series opener with the lowly Baltimore Orioles (51-106) on Tuesday, the Mariners are playing better than they have at any other point this season.

It all started, coincidentally enough, after Boston took two of three from the Mariners in Seattle from Sept. 13-15, which capped off a disappointing 2-4 homestand where the Mariners also lost an earlier series to another 100-loss team, the Arizona Diamondbacks (50-107). The Mariners have played 12 games since then, including 10 on the road, and have lost just two of them.

Pretty good timing to go on a run, huh?

Mike Blowers, Mariners color commentator for ROOT Sports, has followed the team as closely as anybody, and he said Tuesday during his weekly appearance on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Wyman and Bob that the M’s are a better team right now than they have been all year.

“I think that they’re playing their best baseball,” Blowers said. “When you look at the lineup, the guys that you would expect and we’ve watched all year swing the bats well are certainly doing that, and I think that the guys toward the bottom of the lineup are making their contributions, so that certainly has helped them. And that’s something that you have to have. You have to get contributions from everybody, and I think even the younger players are settling in and doing a nice job.”

That was the case in Tuesday’s win, as all but one player in the starting lineup reached base and six of the nine starters had hits. The bottom half of the lineup had one of its better showings of the season, with Luis Torrens going 3 for 4 with a run scored out of the No. 7 spot, No. 9 hitter Tom Murphy driving in a run on an infield single, and Jake Fraley delivering the biggest hit of the game out of the No. 8 spot, a go-ahead, two-run double with the M’s trailing 1-0 in the fourth inning.

Blowers explained how the depth of the lineup helps in different kinds of games, just like the Mariners saw in Monday’s 13-run offensive explosion and Tuesday’s more grind-it-out win.

“When you start to get contributions (throughout) the lineup that helps because when they’re all clicking you have a night like (Monday), but there are going to be times through scouting with a pitcher trying to eliminate a hitter or two out the lineup and making somebody else beat them. So you have to have other contributions, and they’re getting that right now.”

The offense’s current play is only making the strong pitching the Mariners have enjoyed for the majority of the season stand up more.

“I think the rotation as a whole… has been really good,” Blowers said. “And the bullpen for the most part has been the strength for this club and still is. I think that (manager Scott Servais) deserves a lot of credit with the way that he’s used (the Mariners’ relievers) and put them in situations where they have their best shot to shut a team down.”

Listen to Blowers’ full interview at this link or in the player below. The segment starts roughly halfway into the podcast.

More Mariners coverage from 710Sports.com

Drayer: Who is M’s RHP Matt Brash? Here’s what you need to know
Dave Sims: What stands out about how M’s have stayed in the race
Are we entering a new era of Seattle sports? It sure feels like it
The Mariners just brought fun back to fall baseball in Seattle
Jerry Dipoto Show: Chris Flexen’s stellar season, Kyle Seager’s option

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Mariners aren’t just pushing for playoffs, they’re playing their best baseball