Well, here we are. The Seattle Mariners have played 159 games and find themselves, shockingly, still engaged in the outcomes of the final three. What is the most important factor is that, more or less, the Seattle Mariners had to win, and did. With Toronto deciding to do us no favors, and beating the Baltimore Birds earlier in the day, the M's found themselves two and a half games back of a Wildcard spot entering tonight's contest with four games remaining. What this means is that, well, remember that part of "300" when they have to fight everyone or else they die? It's like that now, but with baseball and in the Pacific Northwest.
Playing his part in the grand play of the 2016 Seattle Mariners, Ariel Miranda came onto the Safeco mound and threw fastballs made of 95% adrenaline, 3% skill, and 2% concentrated power of Snicker's bars. Touching 97 MPH on multiple occasions, Miranda showed a fastball well above his prospect ceiling while nibbling the corners with a splitter and a change. It was pretty, and I mean, like, really pretty. He was pulled in the sixth inning after allowing a solo homer to a player I don't even care to look up or recall, and after allowing an ensuing basehit, Scott decided it was enough with postseason dreams on the line. Ariel struck out six and walked none. He's the best of us.
Conversely, this historically good Mariners offense did their best to make Kendall Gravemen look like a late-season Cy Young contender. It's been a constant yo-yo effect all season; either this team can string together hit after hit in an effortless way, or they hit a dinger or two and you cross your fingers and hold your breath for nine innings. Tonight was an unpleasant mix of both, but by some miracle they pulled it off, with I DON'T KNOW WHAT HITS (twelve?) and a Mike Zunino solo shot that made it over the left field fence through brute force and the collective will of the Safeco Field crowd. With a bullpen hanging on by the slightly overlong hairs on Nick Vincent's chin, going into the ninth inning with a two run lead felt precarious at best, and Edwin Diaz did not disappoint. The once-glorified Mariners star struggled, as he has increasingly as of late, and allowed a single and a double to open his frame.
These two hits, putting runners on second and third with no outs, reminded us all, quite suddenly, of just how fragile the playoff hopes of the Mariners are. They can afford one, single loss. Even then, the team will only make the post season with a tie-breaker game in order to play the Wildcard game. Sound familiar?
It wasn't pretty tonight, but it worked, and honestly, we don't care about beauty in the last few days of September. The Mariners won 3-2 and kept their postseason dreams alive. Maybe that's all we really need to know.