Another meaningful game on tap for the Mariners, this time in October
Oct 1, 2016, 12:45 AM | Updated: 1:55 am
The Mariners will play a meaningful game in October.
Seattle’s 5-1 win over the A’s on Friday night coupled with a Red Sox win over the Blue Jays kept the Mariners’ postseason hopes alive. And if they win again on Saturday, they will take the chase down to the very last day. If edge-of-your-seat, stretch- run baseball has meant anxious times for you the last week, Robinson Cano, who hit two home runs and recorded RBI No. 100 in Friday’s victory, cannot identify.
“I love this situation,” he said after the game. “That’s every kid’s dream come true. You want to play for the big spot. You want to play for October, not just play 162 games and know you have to pack your bag and go home. But when you play for something there is more energy. You wake up and you can’t wait to get to the ballpark and see how it is going to end up.”
Friday’s game ended up with four balls leaving the playing field: Cano’s two home runs, Nelson Cruz’s 42nd of the year and a towering blast off the facade of the Hit It Here Cafe from Nori Aoki.
Yes, Nori Aoki.
“That might be the longest-hit ball of my career. I still can’t believe it,” he said through interpreter Kosuke Inaji, before adding himself in English for emphasis, “Unbelievable.”
It was a good win, but like other wins in the last week the Mariners must quickly put it behind them as yet another must-win game will be played Saturday. Hisashi Iwakuma will take the mound coming off six innings of one-run ball earlier in the week against the Astros. It would be nice if he could give seven good innings as the go-to arms in the bullpen have been used quite a bit this week and will also be needed Sunday.
Manager Scott Servais may need to stay away on Saturday from Steve Cishek, who finished Friday’s game, and perhaps Evan Scribner, who has not pitched back-to-back days this year. Drew Storen and Edwin Diaz should be good to go, however, after a night off.
FiveThirtyEight now gives the Mariners a 16 percent chance of making the postseason. I’ve been focusing more on a tiebreaker game. The Mariners need to win their final two games and have either Toronto lose one more or Baltimore lose its last two games, and Detroit also needs to drop one of its final three for the Mariners to get a game 163.
It could be a tough scoreboard day considering the pitching matchups, but if the Mariners win, then those losses can still come Sunday – and possibly Monday in the case of Detroit, which had a game rained out Thursday in Cleveland that may need to be made up. The Mariners have nothing to lose at this point, while Baltimore and Toronto certainly do. And with Detroit and Seattle within a game, the pressure is on the two teams that have held down the wild-card spots for some time. It could stay interesting through the weekend.