The Mariners have been flying under the radar for most of the season and, pretty much, all the teams in the AL West have with the Houston Astros running away with the division. However, Seattle has had a solid second half, which started with four wins after the All-Star break, and even at only one game over .500 they are just 1.5 games out of the second AL wild card spot.
They have to rely on the wild card for the postseason since they are 15 games back of the Astros in the AL West. There is a logjam for the wild card berths in the AL, but can the M’s make the postseason? The answer is yes, as they are a pretty balanced and legit club, but it will be an uphill battle.
Schedule not on their side
The Mariners are in the playoff hunt, but their schedule is not an easy one in the next few weeks. After a two game tilt with the Oakland A’s five of their next six series’ come against teams also in the AL wild card hunt and they also hit the road from August 18th to the 30th in a brutal 12-game road trip. The Mariners are four games under on the road this season and that trip is an important one to say the least.
Making the moves for the playoff push
The big move the Mariners recently made is picking up All-Star 1B Yonder Alonso in a trade with the Oakland A’s. He has 22 homers on the season and while he only has two since the All-Star break he will platoon with Danny Valencia with Alonso facing righties. That is the big move, but they also shored some holes trading for C Mike Marjama and RHP Ryan Garton, and they called up RHP Cody Martin from the minors. The club is really hoping Alonso can get over his slump and provide some power in the middle of the lineup.
The bats are there
Seattle is led by their lineup, which ranks tied for 8th in the Majors in runs scored. Nelson Cruz leads the club with 24 HR and 84 RBI, which leads the AL, and five players have at least 13 HR. Add Alonso to the mix and you have a pretty potent lineup and overall the M’s rank 12th in the bigs in team batting average.
Can the pitching hold up?
The Mariners rank in the middle of the pack in terms of ERA and their staff has been hit hard by injuries on the season. James Paxton has been the rock of the staff on the season and he is tied for first in the AL in ERA and ranks tied for second with 12 wins. However, he is the only member of the staff that has over seven wins. Former ace Felix Hernandez is only 5-4 and has not been sharp lately and Ariel Miranda, who ranks second on the club with seven wins, has seen his ERA jump from 3.67 to 4.41 in his last ten starts. These last two players have the arms and they need to get over their recent slumps for the Mariners to have any chance at the AL wild card.
Seattle added a solid bat in Alonso and they have a good lineup, but with the staff issues and the tough remaining schedule the Mariners chance at snagging one of the wild card berths is not good. Still, they have a chance for the postseason and that is all that you can ask for in August.
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