Seattle Mariners rumors haven’t been that positive about the team during the 2016 MLB season, but the Mariners still have a shot at making the playoffs. The question has become whether the team is actually good enough to get it done in the final weeks of the regular season. In the updated MLB standings, the Mariners sit at 54-53 overall, eight games out of first place in the American League West.
In the Wild Card standings, the Mariners are now five games behind the Boston Red Sox (59-48), blowing an opportunity to make up ground during a four-game series. The Mariners lost to the Red Sox 3-2 in 11 innings on Thursday, August 4. This was a game that the team really needed to win, because it would have brought the Mariners within three games of the Red Sox.
Ariel Miranda (pictured), acquired from the Baltimore Orioles in a trade for Wade Miley, looked good in his debut against the Red Sox. Miranda went six strong innings, allowing just two runs, but settling for a no-decision when the offense couldn’t pick him up. Miranda could be a very important part of the team in the second half, especially if the front office plans to run him out to the mound every fifth day.
So, do the Seattle Mariners have a realistic chance at making the 2016 MLB Playoffs? There are 55 games left on the regular season schedule and the Mariners have to catch the Boston Red Sox (59-48), Detroit Tigers (59-49), and the Houston Astros (56-52). In the 2015 MLB season, the second AL Wild Card team finished with an 86-76 record, giving a good barometer for the minimum number of wins that could get the Mariners back into the postseason.
In order to finish 10 games over 0.500, the Mariners need to go 32-23 down the stretch, while having the Red Sox go 27-28, the Tigers go 27-27, and the Astros go 30-24. That would create a tie with each of the other potential playoff teams, but finishing with a 0.581 winning percentage in the final eight weeks of the season doesn’t seem that difficult. Could the Mariners find sustained consistency to get back to the playoffs for the first time since the 2001 MLB season?
The Mariners did make a number of moves at the trade deadline, but didn’t really acquire a star player like many fans had hoped. Instead, the team brought in several role players and then decided to try out Edwin Diaz as the new closer. Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, and Kyle Seager continue to have quality seasons for the team, while starting pitcher Felix Hernandez is healthy after returning from the disabled list. Hernandez got a lot of rest through the middle of the season, possibly gearing him up to pitch a lot of important innings down the stretch.
For the Seattle Mariners to make a big move in the Wild Card standings, the team will have to take advantage of some weaker opponents coming up on the schedule. That begins with three games against the Los Angeles Angels from August 5-7. The Mariners also have three games against the Oakland Athletics, three games against the Milwaukee Brewers, three games against the New York Yankees, and four games against the Chicago White Sox later in August.
So what is the game plan for the Seattle Mariners to make it back to the postseason? The team has to hit better with runners in scoring position, the starting pitchers have to make it through the sixth inning more often, and the relief pitchers have to close out games with a higher consistency. Succeeding in those three facets could just get this team back to the playoffs, but time is running out to make a real run at a Wild Card spot. The next game for the Seattle Mariners is against the Los Angeles Angels at 7:10 p.m. PT on August 5.
[Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images]