Thursday night’s game felt familiar for the Seattle Mariners, and not in a good way. Felix Hernandez went seven scoreless innings against a AAA lineup, but he left the game in a 0-0 tie and – yet another – no decision. It felt like another disappointing loss was looming. But then something happened. Something that wasn’t so familiar. Logan Morrison stepped up to the plate in the ninth with two on and two outs and blasted a three-run home run to put the M’s up 3-0.
The Fernando Rodney Experience then came in and was at his finest tonight, giving up a solo home run to Hank Conger and committing an error before recording his Mariner-record 46th save of the season. With the 3-1 victory Seattle split the series in Anaheim against the AL-West champions Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim?). The Angels just clinched the division last night and all of there starters took the day off today.
The Mariners are now one game back of the Oakland Athletics for the second wildcard spot after the A’s lost earlier today. They are also a game-and-a-half back of the Kansas City Royals, who begin a huge series with the Detroit Tigers tomorrow, for the first wildcard spot. So as poorly as the Mariners have played lately, they are right there. Morrison and the Mariners need to realize that. They can’t rely on one good inning per game to get them to the playoffs. The Mariners’ offense needs to have timely hits throughout the ball game in order to make the postseason.
Seattle travels southeast to take on the Houston Astros in a three-game weekend series starting tomorrow before finishing the season with a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays and a three-game home stand against the Angels. It’s important for the Mariners to win all of these series if they want to make the postseason. A record of 6-4 the rest of the way would likely be enough for the M’s, but 7-3 would surely lock a wildcard spot up.
It’s nerve-racking. It’s heart-wrenching. It’s exciting. It’s agonizing. It’s fun. It’s September baseball. And the Mariners are playing meaningful September baseball for the first time in over a decade. Now what can they do with it?
Because the only thing better than September baseball is…OCTOBER. BASEBALL. Go M’s!