Defensive Miscues Latest Obstacle In Seattle Mariners’ Playoff Push

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The Seattle Mariners have had to deal with a little bit of everything this season as far as adversity goes – from injuries, to offensive slumps, to starting pitching problems, a porous bullpen and the latest hiccup – defensive meltdowns. The Mariners are trying to break a streak they aren’t particularly fond of as they hold the active streak for longest playoff drought with their last appearance coming in 2001.

They just aren’t doing much on the field to help themselves break it.

Good thing for the M’s, they haven’t lost much ground over the past 10 days or so and in fact – despite dropping 2-of-3 to the Yankees over the weekend and losing a tough one to Baltimore,7-6, Monday night – they are still right up there in the thick of the Wild Card race.

Current Standings as of 8/28/17 @ 10:30p.m EST look like this:

TEAM WIN-LOSS WIN PCT WC GAMES BACK STREAK
Yankees 70-60 .562 +3 L1
Twins 67-63 .515 W1
Orioles 66-65 .504 1.5 W5
Angels 66-65 .504 1.5 L1
Mariners 66-66 .500 2.0 L3
Royals 64-65 .496 2.5 L4

 

DEFENSIVE MELTDOWNS

I don’t know if it was a record or not, but it would be hard to assume it wasn’t. The Mariners committed five errors in the first inning on Sunday in a really ugly loss to the Yankees. Three of those errors were made by shortstop Jean Segura himself, who is currently mired in a hitting slump as well – to add insult to injury. He is 6-for-45 (.133 AVG) since August 18 (10 games). Overall, his defense – much like the rest of the team – has been stellar all year. Lately, however, that has not been the case.

Maybe players were getting bored with being a strong defensive team and needed to add that to their list of obstacles to overcome to make the post season? I doubt that, but the latest defensive snafus are a bit of a mystery.

In the last seven games the Mariners have played, (three in Atlanta, three in New York and Monday in Baltimore) they have racked up a team-total of 13 errors. Now, that number is a little skewed with five coming in one game against the Yankees and four coming in a win over the Braves, but they didn’t commit any Monday night, so technically it is 13 over six games.

No matter how you try to make it look, the end result isn’t pretty. Seattle has been strong defensively all year. Maybe they’re feeling the pressure of the Wild Card hunt?

OTHER OBSTACLES TO OVERCOME

I feel like I’m beating a dead horse with this, but the starting pitching leaves much to be desired. Yovanni Gallardo shouldn’t be starting games, but he has to – and committing five errors on Sunday behind him certainly didn’t help him out at all. Marco Gonzales pitched Monday and couldn’t make it out of the fourth inning. He at least had run support – but then the bullpen demons reared their ugly heads and Emilio Pagan gave up the eventual game-winning run.

But hey, they didn’t commit any errors on Monday. Small miracles?

SO, YOU’RE SAYING THERE’S A CHANCE?

Having said all of those negative things the M’s have going for them right now (losing three-of-four…haven’t officially mentioned that yet), they are still in good shape. There is an entire month of baseball left to be played. The offense is still raking and the bullpen, overall, has been better as of late.

Their remaining schedule looks like as follows:

2 @ Baltimore
3 vs. Oakland
3 vs. Houston
3 vs. Anaheim
4 @ Texas
3 @ Houston
3 vs. Texas
3 vs. Cleveland
3 @ Oakland
2 @ Anaheim

Instead of explaining myself, I bolded the games they should win and italicized the games that are pivotal for making the post-season. (Yes, some got both bolded and italicized. You’re a smart human, you can figure out what I mean by that)

FINAL THOUGHT

I still have faith the Mariners can pull it off. I am hoping this little skid is simply just that – a minor blip on the 162-game radar. They have to turn it around immediately, however. The final two games against the Orioles are crucial games after Monday’s loss for the M’s vaulted Baltimore ahead of them in the standings. Unfortunately, one key loss will do that.

Good luck in September, boys. Mitch Haniger, please stop slumping. Nelson Cruz, let’s hit a few homers, please, and Segura #GetOnBaseAgain.

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About Author

Hello friends of the Pacific Northwest! I am still learning the ways of the west coast sports, but I have quickly grown fond of many of your sports team and I really enjoy writing about them all! I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania – not Philadelphia. 95% of the people I meet in Oregon assume I’m from Philadelphia. I went to college in Miami, Fla., moved to Denver, Colo. Before moving to Jamestown, N.Y. (south of Buffalo) where I was a sportswriter for the local newspaper for three years. I got involved with the YMCA and was a youth sports director for six years at several different branches. Working with kids is fun…and I enjoy it, but writing sports stories is usually more fun – unless I don’t have a topic to write about in mind. Then playing basketball with third graders is way more fun. I have evolved into a Blazers fan, and am a HUGE fan of Terry Stotts. I like the Seahawks and the Ducks. The Mariners are cool too. Baseball is my favorite sport and my favorite teams are the Miami Marlins, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Heat and the Indianapolis Colts. (When you grow up with a bunch of Steeler fans, you have to be a rebel and I really liked Marshall Faulk) I look forward to learning and writing about the sports scene here in Washington and Oregon. Go Blazers, Go Ducks, Go Mariners, Go Hawks! And I guess those Beavers, Timbers and Hops are floating around somewhere too.

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