We don’t often find ourselves rooting for the New York Yankees, but Seattle Mariners fans couldn’t be happier after the Bronx Bombers took four straight games from the Boston Red Sox over the weekend. The sweep dropped Boston in the American League Wild Card standings and left the Mariners a mere 4.5 games out of the wild-card lead.
At the same time, the Mariners helped their own cause by taking two of three from Tampa Bay, who sits 1.5 games ahead of Seattle in the Wild Card hunt.
Though they remain eight games behind the first place Los Angeles Angels in the American League West, the Mariners have managed to stay playoff relevant by continuing to win ballgames.
A host of players who weren’t on the Opening Day roster have played integral roles in logging W’s along the way.
Outfielder Ryan Langerhans, acquired from the Washington Nationals organization in June, belted a dramatic two-strike, two-out walkoff home run on Friday night.
Rookie outfielder Michael Saunders, a product of the team’s farm system, is batting .429 over his last six games. He has raised his season average from .148 to .271 in the process.
Shortstop Jack Wilson, obtained from Pittsburgh before the trade deadline, has boosted a shaky middle infield and has been a catalyst at the bottom of the M’s batting order.
Perhaps the best news for the Mariners is that all three teams ahead of them in the Wild Card standings appear to have already peaked.
Boston, as previously mentioned, is coming off a four-game sweep at the hands of their bitter rivals, the Yankees.
The Texas Rangers have lost reliever Frank Francisco and second baseman Ian Kinsler to injuries, and must continue to rely on an overachieving pitching staff to win ballgames.
The Rays have had a favorable schedule for the past month, but now finish the year with all but three series’ against teams with winning records.
No, the Mariners may not be able to overtake the Angels out west. But there is still a great opportunity for this team to make the playoffs as the American League Wild Card winner.