ANAHEIM, Calif. – Maybe in past seasons it would have seemed like an accomplishment. Given the failures of this franchise since its inception, there were stretches where it might celebrate it as an achievement. There were plenty of times where the bar for success was set that low.
But this just felt hollow. Just another win in a season in which they won’t have enough of them to achieve the one goal they had set for themselves before the season – to end a postseason drought that extends back to 2001, a frustrating 17 years.
With their 6-5 come-from-behind victory over the Angels on Friday night, the Mariners won their 82nd game of the season, meaning they’ll finish the 2018 season with a winning record.
It won’t change the fact that in the coming days they’ll mathematically eliminated from the postseason again, after already accepting their fate last week.
To be fair, a winning season wasn’t necessarily expected from this team coming into the season. Question marks surrounding the starting rotation, uncertainties about the bullpen, the strength of the American League West and the consistent failures of the past lowered the expectations for the 2018 Mariners.
For two months, they defied them, getting off to a torrid start, leading the A.L. West for an extended period and even building a 45-25 record on June 15. It put them on 11 games up over the A’s in the second wild card. Hopes of the postseason became belief.
It all fell apart in an agonizing fashion. The A’s, a team with a smaller budget, raced past them as Seattle wilted in July and August.
Robinson Cano gave the Mariners the lead in the eighth inning with a bases-loaded, three-run double. The duo of Alex Colome and Edwin Diaz secured the win. Colome worked a scoreless eighth and Diaz gave up a solo homer but hung on to get his 55th save.
The Mariners got a shortened and less-than-stellar start from right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, who made it just four innings, allowing four runs on four hits with two walks and a strikeout. Three of those hits were home runs.
In the first inning, Ramirez gave up a one-out double to David Fletcher and served up homer No. 34 to Mike Trout – a missile to deep left-center. The Angels weren’t finished. Ramirez fell behind 3-1 to Shohei Ohtani and gutted a fastball, which was a mistake. Ohtani whacked his 20th homer of the season, sending a towering fly ball over the wall in center field for a 3-0 lead.
Ohtani’s homer came in his 313th plate appearance of the season.
Justin Upton made it 4-0 in the fourth, leading off with a solo blast to deep left field.
The Mariners crawled back into it, finally getting to Angels starter Andrew Heaney in the fifth.
Veteran utility infielder Kristopher Negron, who got the start at third base with the left-handed Heaney on the mound, hit his first homer as a member of the Mariners – a solo shot into left field. Two batters later, Mitch Haniger launched a ball deep into the left-field seats for a solo shot to cut the lead to 4-2. It was Haniger’s 25th homer of the season, second only to Nelson Cruz’s 36 on the team.
Negron made his presence felt again in the sixth, bouncing a chopper just out of the reach of shortstop Andrelton Simmons for an RBI single.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.