SEATTLE – With every crushing defeat or losing streak where it seemed as though the 2021 Seattle Mariners would regress to an expected reality, they’ve always rebounded with a win streak to keep them relevant in a postseason race that always seemed implausible.
With a frustrating series loss to the Red Sox, including two brutal late-inning meltdowns, the Mariners still might have enough games left to prove people wrong again.
Following Wednesday’s disappointing 9-4 loss to the Red Sox, the Mariners fell to 78-68 on the season and dropped another game back of the second wild-card spot.
With wins Wednesday afternoon, the Red Sox (83-65), the Blue Jays (82-64) and the Yankees (82-64) all sit four games ahead of Seattle in the wild-card standings.
“Certainly not what we were hoping for in this series, but the effort level, the experience that we are gaining, is going to go a long ways to help us in the future,” manager Scott Servais said after Wednesday’s loss. “We’ll regroup. We need an off day tomorrow in Kansas City.”
Seattle, which had Thursday off, has 16 games remaining on its schedule. The Mariners embark on a three-city, 10-game road trip that starts Friday with a three-game series in Kansas City, followed by a four-game series in Oakland and the last road games of the season in a three-game series in Anaheim.
They follow that with a six-game homestand to close out the season with three games vs. the A’s and three vs. the Angels.
Realistically, they would have to go at least 12-4 or better in those final 16 games, which would put them at 90-72, to even have a chance.
“I know it doesn’t look too bright right now, but we are not eliminated,” Servais said. “We will continue to compete. We’re gonna need help. There’s no question about that.”
While not being able to lose, the Mariners will need at least two of those three teams ahead of them to not only lose, but basically throw up on themselves in the final weeks of the season. That means Seattle will need awful teams like the Orioles, Nationals and Twins – three of the worst in baseball – to pick up wins over the wild-card leaders.
Toronto has 16 games remaining, including 10 vs. the Twins and Orioles and six vs. the Rays and Yankees. Boston has nine games against the Orioles and Nats, along with two vs. the Mets and three vs. the Yankees. New York has three-game series each with Tampa Bay, Toronto and Boston, but also a combined seven games vs. Baltimore, Texas and Cleveland.
While it’s logical to believe the Mariners are done, they won’t change the mindset of moving forward after every game – win or lose – that’s helped them this season.
“We have a lot of fight in us as you’ve seen,” Marco Gonzales said. “It’s the reason we win a lot of one-run ballgames. We’re never out of it. It wasn’t our series, so what. We have a big road trip coming up. Time to rest tomorrow, take off a day, reset and get back after it.”
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