Being a Seattle Mariners fan is so difficult, yet so fun, yet so stressful, and that’s why we love them. Following three straight series losses to begin September, the M’s finally got back to their winning ways over the Angels, just to get swept by the Dodgers last weekend.
It will all come down to the final ten games for Seattle, beginning Friday down in Arlington. My prediction, (also mentioned on the Ep. 18 of Talkin’ Ners with Rory and Ders podcast) for the American League Wild Card picture looks something like this… Houston wins AL West (#2 overall seed), Tampa Bay Rays secure #1 WC seed (#4 overall), Seattle climbs past Toronto to take the #2 WC and the Rangers miss the postseason for a sixth straight year.
In a perfect world, Seattle wins the West and gets a few extra days off while the WC games are being played. In a semi-perfect world, the Mariners finish in the WC3 spot, and travel to Minneapolis to play the Twins.
Other than Houston facing Kansas City this weekend and Texas going to Anaheim early next week, all teams in the playoff race will have to face average to above average teams to close out the regular season. The M’s go down to Arlington, then face Houston and then the Rangers at home. Texas gets Seattle at home, then travel to Anaheim and then up to Seattle. Houston faces KC, Seattle, and Arizona, (currently #2 NL WC). Finally, Toronto finishes their series against the Yankees and then two against the Rays.
At the time of this writing, both Houston and Texas won on Wednesday, and the Blue Jays game against New York is in the third inning. Seattle, Texas and Houston all get the day off on Thursday.
Barring any injuries or roster moves (*knocks on wood*), here’s what the starting pitching for Seattle would/should look like for the remaining ten games:
- @ TEX – 9/22 Bryce Miller, 9/23 Logan Gilbert, 9/24 Bryan Woo
- vs. HOU – 9/25 Luis Castillo, 9/26 George Kirby, 9/27, Bryce Miller
- vs. TEX – 9/28 Logan Gilbert, 9/29 Bryan Woo, 9/30 Luis Castillo, 10/1 George Kirby
But before we look ahead, which I know it is hard not to, here’s what went down in Oakland in the series against the last-place Athletics. It was a much-needed, good vibes type of series sweep as Seattle put together good pitching performances, timely hitting, solid base running, and more ahead of the final stretch. Seattle finished the season series with a 12-1 record against the A’s… which was a team you should go 12-1 against over the course of 2023.
Bryan Woo got the start in the opening game. Woo, the Alameda-native, pitched for his High School team just four miles from the Oakland Coliseum. He spun a shutout in front of former coaches, friends, and family. Despite walking four, he blanked the A’s over five innings, striking out six, allowing just three hits. The bullpen that followed Woo was strong as well, where the shutout was held intact.
It was J.P. Crawford who singled home Sam Haggerty in the second. Then in the fourth, Jose Caballero absolutely launched his fourth home run of the season… 108 MPH exit velocity, 437 feet. Caballero’s home run counted for two, as Luis Torrens who got the start behind the dish, doubled home Cabby to lengthen the lead to five in the fifth. 5-0 was the final Monday as it was exactly what the doctor ordered in terms of a start to a series following the sweep against the Dodgers.
Luis Castillo needed three magnificent starts to close out the season in order to get considered for the American League Cy Young. In front of Castillo is Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees. He looked as if he was going to shutout the A’s and inch closer to that top spot, but Oakland scored two in the bottom of the seventh. But good news for Luis and the M’s… Seattle had a lead of 6-0 going into that inning.
Jarred Kelenic batted in the first two runs for the Mariners on two opposite field RBI singles. After allowing an RBI double to J.P. and intentionally walking Julio Rodriguez in the seventh, Oakland relievers gave up RBIs to Cal Raleigh and Teoscar Hernandez. Crawford launched his 16th home run of the year in the ninth, continuing to pile onto his career high. 7-2 was the final Tuesday, as Seattle won for the tenth straight time with Castillo as the starter.
Sweep time Wednesday, as Oakland was in for a Kirb stomping. That’s right, it was George Kirby on the bump to close out the series in the Coliseum and keep pace with Texas and Houston in the West.
M’s jumped out early in the second thanks to Dominic Canzone’s mammoth 448-foot two-run blast off of 21-year-old Joey Estes, who was making his MLB debut. Zack Gelof of the A’s hit a solo home run off of Kirby in the home fourth to lessen Seattle’s advantage to just one.
But then it was that man again. Julio, looking for his 100th RBI on the season, certainly found it on his 31st HR of ’23. His league-leading 11th opposite-field home run gave Seattle their two-run lead back. Just five pitches later, the Big Dumper joined the dinger party with his 29th of the season. Dom Canzone delivered again following Cal Raleigh’s home run with a two-RBI double that scored Eugenio Suarez and Ty France. Following the top of the fifth, Seattle led Oakland 6-1. 2023 All-Star Brent Rooker got Kirby in the sixth with a two-run long ball. George was done after seven, allowing three earned on eight hits, striking out three. Andres Munoz and Justin Topa followed and shut it down for the sweep. Final: SEA 6, OAK 3.
Like mentioned earlier, both Houston and Texas won Wednesday, and all three teams, (Seattle included) get the day off on Thursday.
It’ll be the first three of seven against Texas beginning Friday at Globe Life Field. The Rangers are 5-1 against Seattle this season and are coming off of a series win against the Boston Red Sox. Marcus Semien, Corey Seager and company have collectively hit .266 as a team, which ranks second in the major leagues. They also reach base and slug third best of any team. Luckily for Seattle, future HOFer Max Scherzer was put on the shelf for the rest of the season with a right shoulder strain. However, Texas did get back their HR-leader Adolis Garcia and star-rookie Josh Jung recently from injuries… who are two massive boosts offensively.
Both teams sit at 84-68. How many games will Seattle need to win in their next ten to make the playoffs? Well, time will certainly tell. Bryce Miller (8-5, 3.88 ERA) will face RHP Dane Dunning (10-6, 3.78 ERA) Friday. Logan Gilbert (13-6, 3.77 ERA) and Bryan Woo (4-4, 3.90 ERA) will start for the Mariners on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Texas Manager Bruce Bochy has yet announce the Rangers’ starters in the middle game and finale.
American League West standings as of Wednesday evening:
- 1) Houston Astros (85-68)
- 2t) Seattle Mariners (84-68), 0.5 GB (tied w/ TEX for WC3)
- 2t) Texas Rangers (84-68), 0.5 GB (tied w/ SEA for WC3)
Want more in-depth M’s info, and don’t want to read?? I am with you, (even though you read this entire article). Listen to the “Talkin’ Ners with Rory and Ders” podcast to get all the good stuff about your favorite baseball team here in Seattle! New episodes drop every Monday and Thursday. Available anywhere you listen to podcasts: