By John Boyle
In case you hadn’t heard already, the Mariners won their eighth straight game this afternoon. No really, you read that right. The Mariners, the team that has broken the hearts of its fans for more than a decade, has won eight in a row, and has the American League’s best record since the All Star break. Seattle is now 61-64, and at the moment sit seven games out of the second wild card spot. That could change by half a game tonight, but the fact that we’re even looking this up shows how far the Mariners have come in the past couple of months while a lot of folks (me included) have been paying more attention to football.
Oh, and it also has to be noted, as my friend Alex Akita over at seattlesportsnet.com pointed out, the Mariners are currently 11.5 games out of first place in the A.L. West on Aug. 22. You know when else they were 11.5 games out of first place on Aug. 22? In 1995. And we all know what happened that year.
Now I’m not pointing this out because I think the Mariners are going to win the West, nor do I think they can earn a wild card berth when they’d have to catch so many teams ahead of them to do so, but what the Mariners are doing is hard to ignore. This season seemed completely lost not too long ago, and now they’re at least sort of in the playoff discussion. The Mariners now head to Chicago for three games, then Minnesota for four, then they return home for eight games at Safeco, where they have won 15 of their last 16 games. Common sense says the Mariners are going to run out of games before they could reel in enough teams ahead of them, but again, it’s kind of fun to even consider the possibility of meaningful games in late September, isn’t it? And even if the likely scenario plays out and the Mariners miss the postseason yet again, a strong finish to this season, one that may well put the team over .500, would certainly be encouraging for the team’s future.
“This is a pretty awesome second half we’ve got going here,” shortstop Brendan Ryan said after Tuesday’s win. “Who knows where it’ll end up, but all that matters is right now and tomorrow. We feel really good about the way we’re playing, and we should.”