The Seattle Mariners ended the longest postseason drought in MLB of 21 years. Let me put that into perspective for you. There were 5,273 Blockbuster stores still open, the original ipod was being introduced, and Michael Jordan was still playing basketball! Depending on your age, you still might be shaking your head in confusion. If you were born after 2001, then you have NEVER seen the boys in blue play late in October.
The weight has been lifted; Mariners have nothing to lose
Year after year the Seattle Mariners have been putting more and more weight on the back of their shoulders as they continue to miss the postseason. Last appearance in the playoffs was in October of 2001 where they were eliminated by the New York Yankees 1-4 series.
Tables turned last Friday night when Cal Raleigh became the first player in MLB history to hit a walk-off home run as a pinch hitter to clinch a playoff spot! “My Oh My” as the late great Dave Niehust used to call it. Raleigh’s 26th HR of the season couldn’t have come at a better time. Bottom of the 9th, 2 outs, 3-2 count and 44+ thousand fans on their feet as he jacked it down the right field line, drilling the foul post. The weight wasn’t just lifted off the team, but the entire city.
Can the Mariners make a deep run?
The Seattle Mariners may have ended the playoff drought last Friday, but the hunt for October started last year when they failed to make the playoffs by a couple of games. The roster is full of talent, not just to get to the playoffs, but to make a deep push. Guys like Julio Rodriguez, Eugenio Suarez, Ty France, JP Crawford, and unsung hero of last Friday night’s playoff berth, Cal Raleigh, are attracting 40K+ thousands fans into T-Mobile stadium during its last homestead. T-Mobile hasn’t drawn 40K+ during the last home series of the regular season in 20 years.
Not only does this young team have talent on the offensive side of the ball, but the front office has made moves this season to strengthen the bullpen. Two major acquisitions this year for the Mariners was the signing of LHP Robbie Ray and RHP Luis Castillo as the teams’ starting rotation. The Mariners are also the best in the business when it comes to their relief pitchers. Mariners relief pitchers as a team are ranked 5th in the American League, with a 3.33 ERA and a WHIP of 1.09. Mariners can get it done on both sides of the ball. Look for them to continue their magical season as they are set to play the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Wild Card Series.
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