Saturday, September 9, 2023

Above Sea Level


Just a tantalizing 0.5 games behind the Astros for the AL West title. The Mariners spent so much time focusing on one AL West titan that it failed to recognize that another was gonna have a second half winning spree in the grand tradition of spoiling everyone's fun [like every year]. And so even if they've surpassed Texas, as they slow down amid injuries, they still have to do what they couldn't do last year, and stop the Houston Astros from winning the division for once.

The pace the Mariners are going at is still worthy of a strong finish, though they did slip a bit during series' with the Reds and Mets. They have been playing the Rays this week, and while it's been tough, the Ms have been using their top aces, such as Logan Gilbert, who's gotten even better as the season's gone on with a 13-5 record and a 3.56 ERA. Comparatively, the Rays have had to start Taj Bradley and some relievers. 

But even with the Angels and A's up ahead, the Mariners have to end the season with series' against the Dodgers, Rangers and Astros, as if they need to go through the ring of fire to even come close to topping their 2022. And I don't want to say that Rob Manfred asked for a tougher September for the Mariners purposely, but that's the exact kind of thing someone who hates baseball would do. The Mariners are looking at an extremely go of things to finish what's been a successful 2023, and they're gonna need all hands on deck to pull this off.

The M's have managed to get people like Cal Raleigh, Teoscar Hernandez, Andres Munoz, Josh Rojas and, yes, Julio Rodriguez rolling to make themselves into a threat at this point. But what's helped has been the guys we've known have been great pieces of this team stepping in to have great moments. Luis Castillo had a tremendous start the other day against the Rays. George Kirby's still going deep into games and establishing his consistency. Crawford's still a top-tier MLB defender. Jose Caballero is the kind of multi-talented spare part the team's been waiting for. So many pieces of this team are impressing me, and continuing to carry things in Seattle.

I really hope the Mariners can end the season on top, or at the very least with a good playoff seed. There's two teams I'm rooting for in the AL, the Orioles and Mariners, and I'd love to go as far as possible without seeing them play each other. Have all the boring teams forced out, get Houston out of the picture, and then get one of these two in the World Series. It'd be really fun if one of these Mariners teams made it to one, even this early in the careers of Rodriguez, Gilbert and Kirby. Cause there'll be lots of opportunities for more.

Coming Tonight: An outfield bat who isn't being relied on as much as he was last year.

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