The Mariners have been off and on all season.
There have been times during the year where they seemed destined for a postseason run, and other moments where they shouldn’t be affiliated with any talks of October. But it has finally reached the tipping point.
After Wednesday night’s loss, where the team surrendered just two hits throughout the course of the game, they have fallen below .500 yet again. They are currently sitting at 69-70, having lost seven of their last 10, and two in a row to the Houston Astros. These were games that they needed to take advantage of with the Minnesota Twins, who have possessed the second wild card spot for the last few weeks, having lost their last three contests.
The M’s still sit just three games back in the AL wild card race, but they are behind five other teams (Angels, Twins, Orioles, Rangers, Rays) and are a downward trend at the wrong time. The offense has no consistency and is incapable of putting up crooked numbers against top-quality opponents. They scored just six runs in three games against the Yankees, and have so far pushed across three runs in two games against the Astros. Nelson Cruz, who was at one point looking like a potential MVP candidate, has not had a multi-hit game since August 19th. Cano has been hot as of late, but hasn’t been able to keep it up for an extended period of time. More of the same goes for Kyle Seager and Mike Zunino.
On the other side of the ball, pitching has continued to haunt Seattle. Despite Ariel Miranda’s nice performance in his latest outing, it was the first quality start he had put together since July 28. He hasn’t tossed over six frames since June 30. Erasmo Ramirez has been a shot in the arm for the ballclub over his last few starts, but there isn’t support enough behind him. Scott Servais finally called it quits on the Yovani Gallardo project, as the veteran right-hander has been reassigned to a bullpen role. Andrew Albers has been mediocre, but nothing special.
Felix Hernandez and James Paxton are close to returning, but Servais said they won’t be able to be stretched out in their starts. In other words, they will only have the capacity to hurl four or five innings max.
The bullpen has been heavily taxed this year, as we all know. But despite that, injuries have caught up to them too. David Phelps and Tony Zych won’t return in 2017, James Pazos has hit a wall during the second half of the season, and plain and simple: these guys are fatigued.
Hats off to Servais and Jerry Dipoto for keeping the team glued together with every scrap piece they have in their armory for such an extensive period of time. But the wheels have finally fallen off. Mathematically, the team still has a shot. But being under .500 in the month of September doesn’t usually translate to a playoff appearance.
If they want to make one last push, they are in desperate need of a prolonged winning streak. But with the remains the Mariners have left, is it likely?
I’ll put it this way: The Seattle Mariners need a miracle.