The Longest Drought in Pro Sports Is Ending, and Mariners Have World Series Upside | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

The Mariners are poised to make their first postseason since 2001, and maybe go to the World Series for the primary time in their historical past. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

Don’t sleep on the Seattle Mariners.

They’ve already come far in 2022, placing collectively a 79-61 document that has them inside attain of their first postseason since 2001. Should they get in, the longest playoff drought not simply in Major League Baseball, however in all 4 of the foremost North American males’s skilled sports activities leagues would lastly be over.

Assuming nothing (together with this text) jinxes this a part of the Mariners’ voyage, they’d then look to go the place the franchise has by no means been: the World Series.

Are we getting forward of ourselves? Yeah, possibly. But you will should forgive us for having a tough time not getting sucked in to the “workforce of future” factor the Mariners have happening. Their 50-22 document since June 21 is one of the best in the American League, with six of these wins coming in dramatic vogue through walk-offs at T-Mobile Park.

The most up-to-date and certainly probably the most dramatic of those was on Sunday, when sluggers Julio Rodríguez and Eugenio Suárez washed away the dangerous style of Atlanta’s five-run comeback in the highest of the ninth with game-winning house runs in the underside half of the inning

Although the Mariners are locked in a decent three-way race with the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays for the American League’s high wild-card spot, there is not a lot in the best way of imminent hazard to their playoff future. According to FanGraphs, there is a 99.8 p.c probability that Seattle’s playoff drought will certainly come to an finish.

As they must earn their strategy to the American League Division Series by profitable a best-of-three collection in the AL Wild Card Round, the Mariners wouldn’t have the best path to the World Series inside the playoffs.

And but, we suggest that these Mariners are the final opponent anybody ought to need in the American League playoff area.


The Mariners Starting Rotation Is Made for October

AP Photo/David Dermer

If a pitching employees desires to outlive in the postseason, clearly one of the best factor it could do isn’t quit runs. But since that is a lot simpler mentioned than achieved, there’s that different helpful trick that is extra readily attainable: win the strikeout battle.

Out of 376 playoff video games between 2012 and 2021—a decade’s price that coincides with the preliminary enlargement of the wild-card spherical—the workforce whose pitching employees recorded extra strikeouts than the opposite received the sport 206 instances. That’s a .548 profitable share.

As good omens go, that is truly a twofold one for the Mariners.

At 8.8 strikeouts per 9 innings, Seattle starters have the AL’s second-best strikeout charge since Aug. 3. Far from some random date, that is the date that flame-throwing All-Star Luis Castillo made his Seattle debut after coming over from the Cincinnati Reds.

MLB @MLB

Luis Castillo began the sport with 7 straight strikeouts, tying an AL document! 😤 #ULTRAMoment pic.twitter.com/PxAOJSS4zW

There’s no ignoring the tone Castillo has set, significantly for reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray and rookie George Kirby. Combined, the three aces have pitched to a 2.22 ERA with 143 strikeouts in opposition to solely 24 walks over 125.2 innings since Castillo’s arrival.

Meanwhile, younger right-hander Logan Gilbert has been mowing ’em down in September. Shifting to increased fastballs and decrease sliders is clearly working, as he is punched out 9 batters over six innings in every of his two begins this month.

As he is a typically dependable southpaw with a 3.89 ERA this season, the Mariners might not be capable to keep away from protecting Marco Gonzales out of their playoff rotation. But provided that he has about half as many strikeouts (88) as innings pitched (159.2), Seattle’s most threatening playoff rotation is unquestionably the one in which the swing-and-miss guys take priority.


The Mariners Bullpen Is Also Built for October

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And now for the opposite half of the aforementioned twofold good omen for the Mariners: Their high relievers are additionally completely able to taking part in the strikeout recreation.

The key date right here is July 9. That’s when high prospect Matt Brash made the leap from the minors to the massive membership’s bullpen, thus kicking off a stretch in which mentioned pen has thrived on a nasty right-handed foursome of Brash, Andrés Muñoz, Paul Sewald and Erik Swanson. Their final 100 appearances have yielded a 1.99 ERA and 11.5 strikeouts per 9 innings.

Even although his fastball has been sitting simply south of 98 mph, it is extra so Brash’s breaking stuff that steals the present when he pitches:

Rob Friedman @PitchingNinja

Matt Brash’s Sick Stuff. 🤒 pic.twitter.com/GXUsAKITA4

For his half, Muñoz is basically the platonic excellent of an overwhelming reliever. He’s been averaging (sure, averaging) 100.6 mph on his fastball over the past three months, though he can simply as simply beat hitters with a slider that often tops 90 mph:

Rob Friedman @PitchingNinja

Andrés Muñoz, Filth. 😷 pic.twitter.com/uEvCRePqgz

For theirs, fellow righties Penn Murfee and Matthew Festa are extra than simply background characters in Seattle’s bullpen. The former is averaging higher than a strikeout per inning for the season, whereas the latter’s modest strikeout numbers are nonetheless paired with a whiff charge in the 88th percentile.

Whatever opponents the Mariners come throughout in October would not essentially be out of the woods even in video games the place they’re capable of put their share of balls in play. That would nonetheless imply contending with a protection that ranks fourth in the majors with its effectivity at turning balls in play into outs.


The Mariners Offense Has a Not-So-Secret Weapon

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Offensively talking, the largest black mark on Seattle’s offense is its batting common. At .230, the Mariners rank twenty fifth in the majors in that division.

Yet that is to not be mistaken for an indication that Mariners hitters give away extra outs than they need to. Even their middle-of-the-pack strikeout charge obscures that they’ve a handful of men who make constant contact. Namely, Ty France, JP Crawford, Adam Frazier and Carlos Santana.

Even higher, the Mariners hit the lengthy ball.

Seattle Mariners @Mariners

.@JRODshow44‘s first house run in the bigs goes 4️⃣5️⃣0️⃣ toes! #SeaUsRise pic.twitter.com/RsJyltpx9r

Seattle’s 169 house runs rank fifth in the American League, and they have been coming extra continuously of late. Whereas the Mariners averaged 1.1 house runs per recreation in the primary half, they’re at 1.4 per recreation for the reason that All-Star break.

As they’ve 78 lengthy balls between them, Seattle’s energy show has principally been the Rodríguez, Eugenio Suárez and Cal Raleigh Show. But there should still be extra to return from different regulars. Mitch Haniger and Jesse Winker, particularly, have solely 20 house runs between them after slamming a mixed 63 in 2021.

If extra energy does certainly come, the Mariners can be an excellent higher match for one more tried-and-true playoff mildew. Teams that received the house run battle in a given playoff recreation additionally received the sport itself at a .593 clip between 2012 and 2021.


Oh, and the Mariners Beat Good Teams

Joe Sargent/MLB Photos through Getty Images

Speaking of profitable percentages, “.536” is one other determine that bodes nicely for Seattle.

This is the speed at which the Mariners received video games in opposition to different golf equipment with data of .500 or higher. It’s the third-best mark amongst AL golf equipment, and it is not deceptive although it belies a 7-12 efficiency reverse the AL West-leading Houston Astros.

The Mariners are in any other case 17-10 in opposition to the opposite 4 golf equipment they might doubtlessly face in the AL playoff area: Tampa Bay, Toronto and the New York Yankees. They received their season collection in opposition to the Yankees and Blue Jays and have been outscored by solely 5 runs even in shedding 5 of seven to the Rays.

Although not a assure, a pre-proven means to beat different good groups has a means of portending success in the playoffs. Throughout all of MLB historical past, solely 27 of 240 league champions had a sub-.500 document in opposition to profitable groups in the common season.

Look, we’re not below any delusions that the Mariners can be a preferred favourite to symbolize the American League in the World Series, a lot much less to win the darn factor. The Astros are certainly the massive bads in the AL, and Atlanta, the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets are arguably even scarier in the National League.

Nevertheless, all we’re saying is that the Mariners are about as prepared for the playoffs as a workforce that hasn’t been in 21 years can probably be.


Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference, FanGraphs and Baseball Savant.

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