Monday, August 15, 2022

Mariners win seventh consecutive game, continue closing in on playoff position

The Mariners won on Saturday night, once again taking down the Blue Jays in Seattle, this time by a 2-1 count. 

Starting pitcher Robbie Ray was excellent again, only giving up one run in six innings and that was a solo homer by George Springer — and we know there isn’t any shame in that. That’s now six straight starts for Ray with either zero or one run allowed and he has a 0.91 ERA in that span and the Mariners have gone 5-1. 

Still, the Mariners trailed, 1-0, heading to the bottom of the seventh. J.P. Crawford singled in front of Carlos Santana, who picked a nice time for his first homer since the Mariners traded for him late last month. 

The bullpen brought it home, even if the ninth got dicey. The Mariners won again and it was notable for the second straight night. 

On Friday, the Mariners climbed back above .500 for the first time since May 2, when they were 12-11. Saturday marked the third straight win over the Jays in the series and seventh consecutive Mariners win overall. 

The seven-game winning streak is tied with the Orioles for the current longest in baseball, though if we extend things just a bit, the Mariners have a fair claim on the entirely subjective “hottest team in baseball” crown as they’ve won 15 of 18. It is their best 18-game stretch since 2003. 

This winning streak marks the longest for the Mariners since they won eight in a row June 25-July 3, 2018. The Mariners won 89 games that season, but, of course, missed the playoffs. 

And that’s really why we’re here. The Mariners last made the playoffs in 2001, giving them the longest active playoff drought among the major men’s North American professional sports leagues (NFL: Jets, 2010; NBA: Kings, 2006; NHL: Sabres, 2011). 

The Mariners won 90 games last season, which means they fell just two games short. An additional wild card spot was added for each league for the 2022 season and the Mariners were active in the offseason, but they struggled pretty badly from late April through the middle of June. 

After a loss on June 19, the Mariners were 29-39 and would need some decent binoculars to find the final playoff spot. 

Since then, however, they have blazed a trail to the cusp of playoff position by going 15-3. They now sit 44-42. They are only one game behind the Blue Jays for the third AL wild card spot with another head-to-head matchup against those Jays coming Sunday for a chance to tie. 

The bigger picture, of course, is being in that position come the final day of the season, but all the Mariners can do right now is just keep stacking up wins. They are doing just that. 

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