Can the Seattle Mariners keep up their winning ways?
The Texas Rangers have simply forgotten how to win baseball games after Fernando Tatis Jr’s fateful grand slam, and the Seattle Mariners pounced on their ineptitude. The Mariners are now back in the playoff picture, as they haven’t lost since August 29 are now in third place in the AL West.
The Mariners might be in the middle of a rebuild, as GM Jerry Dipoto can’t go five minutes without making a trade, but that hasn’t stopped a very young, very inexperienced team from scrapping together enough wins to put themselves back in the postseason chase.
The Mariners are winning despite a below-average lineup and bullpen
Following the trade of Austin Nola to the San Diego Padres, the Mariners had only two players, standout rookie outfielder Kyle Lewis and veteran third baseman Kyle Seager, that have played in more than 25 games this season for Seattle have an OPS+ of 100 or greater. This Mariners team is living and dying thanks to their pitching, and even a few trades from Dipoto that sent Taijuan Walker and Taylor Williams to Toronto and San Diego, respectively, have done little to damage how well they’ve been hurling it of late.
Marco Gonzales has a shiny 3.02 ERA this season, while youngsters Justus Sheffield and Justin Dunn are finally started to prove they can stick at the MLB level. Seattle is essentially playing with house money this season given the minimal expectations placed on their plate at the beginning of the season, so the best way for Scott Servais to help his team contend is to ride Sheffield and Dunn until the wheels fall off while letting Lewis show off the blend of speed and power that made him such a coveted prospect.
Momentum is a powerful force in baseball, and the Mariners have ridden a hot streak back into the playoff picture. While they lack the star power most playoff teams can claim to feature, the Mariners can’t be discounted when it comes to the postseason if their young guns continue to stay hot and pick up clutch hits. Even if they fizzle out due to the lack of depth, at least they went down swinging.