And so it's come down to this. With the Mariners having won their last two and the Nationals having done the reverse, we are now in a position where we need both a Mariner loss and a Nationals win tomorrow in order to secure the first overall pick.
The good news? The Mariners will be trotting R.A. Dickey out to the mound for the final game, where as a starter he has been most unpleasant. Meanwhile, with the Phillies having just this afternoon won their division, they have nothing left to play for, and could spit out a lineup like the one Tampa Bay is using today. That would make Odalis Perez's job a lot easier. Also, J.A. Happ Kyle Kendrick isn't good. So there's that.
The bad news? For one thing, the A's will be turning to Josh Outman, who-...well I guess the whole rotation is bad without Harden and Duchscherer, but anyway, he's not exactly the most extraordinary arm on the planet. And for another, the Nationals are the Nationals, and they're in this position for a reason. They suck a lot. Despite giving us a three-game head start back in June with that humiliating sweep, for six months they have beaten us at our own game. What's one more day?
The odds are against us. Where a few days ago locking up #1 seemed all but certain, now there exists but a ~25% chance that tomorrow ends with the Mariners on the bottom. We no longer control our own destiny. We're going to need some assistance, and if I've learned anything in my time on this planet, it's that it is a fool's errand to count on others to do what you'd like to have done. As long as there is still a chance, though, I suppose we might as well hope. Even if it doesn't work out, there would be something appropriate in the final day of the Mariner season being a huge letdown.
Some people will tell you that, whether it be first or second, the Mariners have already guaranteed for themselves a tremendous prospect in next year's draft. Those people are right. But me, I've got my heart set on the basement, if only because, if we have to flame out, I'd prefer it to be the most spectacular flameout possible. Come on, Nationals. And come on, Mariners. This is your last chance. Go big or go home.