The end of the MLB regular season was WILD. The American League Wild Card, just won by the Red Sox, came down to the final game of the season. Four teams had a shot at the two spots in the one-game playoff. If the cards fell just right, we would’ve had a historic day, featuring two Game 163s in the same day, vying for a spot in the Wild Card game.
A Race To The Finish
Going into the final game of the year, the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, and Toronto Blue Jays were all tied for the Wild Card. As we know now, the Yankees and Red Sox came out victorious and clinched the two spots. However, that is not the topic at hand. Today, we’re going to explore the most deserving team to miss the playoffs. The Seattle Mariners.
The AL West, headlined by the division-winning Houston Astros, and the worst-best team ever, the Los Angeles Angels, had a fairly decent year overall. Three of the five teams in the division finished with 80+ wins, the Astros, Mariners, and Athletics, with the former two winning 90+ games. All three also had winning records both at home and on the road. The biggest difference in these three, outside of divisional play, was the final ten-game stretch. Both the Athletics and Astros dropped the ball in their last ten, going 4-6.
An Improbable Run
With the Red Sox stumbling on the Wild Card lead, going 5-5 in their last 10, the door was open for a move to be made. The Seattle Mariners took that opportunity, as did the Yankees and Blue Jays. The Mariners went 7-3 in their last ten games, really making the rest of the Wild Card contenders sweat. As a fan, I was cheering hard for them, wanting to see as chaotic of an outcome as possible. As I mentioned earlier, if the cards fell just right, there were 16 possible outcomes of two Game 163s.
Coming off a 6-4 win over the Angels, the Seattle Mariners were in prime position to at least make the Wild Card interesting. The season quite literally rode on this final game. How did it turn out?
- Shohei Ohatani leads off with a home run. Angels lead 1-0
- Phil Gosselin singles to left
- Jack Mayfield singles, Gosselin scores. Angels lead 2-0
- Jose Rojas walks
- David Fletcher doubles, Rojas scores. Angels lead 3-0
- Jared Walsh hits a sacrafice fly, Fletcher scores. Angels lead 4-0
- Luis Torrens doubles to left
- Jarred Kelenic singles to right, Torrens scores. Angels lead 4-1
- JP Crawford singles to center, Kelenic scores. Angels lead 4-2
- Phil Gosselin singles to center
- Jared Walsh blasts one to deep right. Angels lead 6-2
- Juan Lagares singles to left
- David Fletcher triples, Lagares scores. Angels lead 7-2
- Luis Torrens singles to center
- Cal Raleigh walks
- Jake Fraley singles to left
- JP Crawford grounds out to second, Torrens scores. Angels lead 7-3
That would be the end of the scoring. The Seattle Mariners’ improbable run came to an end in the final game of the season.
The Seattle Mariners’ Playoff Drought Continues
As many have pointed out, the Mariners have not made the playoffs since 2001. Missing it by one game, no less, is the worst way to end the season. With so much faith, and hopes riding high, the season came to a heartbreaking close.
Seattle Mariners’ Next Port Of Call? Hope
However, this isn’t the end. Though this season is over, next year will come quicker than we think, and with so many high-profile free agents hitting the market this offseason, moves could be made to end the drought. With young bats like Jarred Kelenic, the Mariners have the youth to build around, combined with experience, from Kyle Seager, the Mariners have an opportunity to be the next drought breaker. We know that star power isn’t necessary to build a contender. As long as the Mariners build a team that plays like a well-oiled machine, I can absolutely see them in the playoffs next year.
The Mariners were absolutely the most deserving team that missed the playoffs. The question now is, what do they have to change to not be the subject of this article in a years’ time?