The Seattle Mariners (87-75) ended its 2014 season with a 4-1 win, and a sweep, over the AL West Champion Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (98-64). Seattle was unable to force a game 163, despite the win, because the Oakland Athletics (88-74) beat the Texas Rangers (67-95) in Arlington, Tex.
The Mariners ace, and superhuman pitcher, Felix Hernandez started Sunday’s game against the Angels, and he was absolutely dominate. Hernandez had seven strikeouts through the first three innings. Seattle’s King was pulled from the game after facing one batter in the sixth inning, and he left to a standing ovation:
Seattle struck first when first basemen Logan Morrison reached on a single and then scored from first on a double by outfielder Michael Saunders. Saunders would knock in two more runs on another double in the fourth.
Anaheim’s only run came in the ninth, after booth clubs had pulled their biggest names from the game.
Seattle had a half game lead in the race for the second wildcard spot before losing 12 of 17, including a five game losing streak. As a result, the Mariners were forced to play from behind during the last three games of the season, while leaving the team’s playoff fate in the hands of the hapless Rangers. Texas managed to keep the M’s alive for two games, but the Rangers couldn’t pick up the sweep; thus leaving Seattle out of the post season for the 13th straight season.
While the team’s late season collapse is incredibly frustrating, it is important to remember that the 2014 Mariners were not expected to contend by anyone…not even by any of the host on our radio show. The most wins our host expected Seattle to have at the end of the season was 85, and be five (or more) games back of the second wildcard spot. Instead, Seattle ended up winning 87 games and one game out of that playoff spot.
Early on in the season, Seattle’s playoff hopes seemed to be in trouble as the team fell into an eight game losing streak that started with a sweep by the Miami Marlins. Houston appeared poised to extend that losing streak to nine games, and then Kyle Seager happened.
Seager had been really struggling at that point, and those two home runs helped turn his — and the Mariners — season around; he would end up being one of the Mariners’ four representatives at the All Star game in Minneapolis.
The Mariners would end up posting the best record in baseball from Seager’s walk off jack against the Astros until July. Seattle struggled across the board in July as starting pitchers Chris Young, Hisashi Iwakuma, and Hernandez all struggled throughout the month. It was the clubs worst month, as they posted an 11-14 record.
General manager Jack Zduriencik then went and attempted to bolster the team’s offense at the trade deadline by acquiring 1B/DH Kendrys Morales, CF Austin Jackson, and RF/LF Chris Denorfia for a bunch of little used prospects, and one broken relief pitcher. It was an incredibly smart trade deadline that added better talent to the roster, without mortgaging the future.
Unfortunately, all of the deadline acquisitions played like crap after coming to Seattle.
Despite the poor performance of the the acquisitions, the Mariners bounced back from their poor August by winning 17 games and making as serious push for the first wildcard spot; and then the collapse happened.
While the Mariners not making the playoffs does suck, the team’s 2014 season can be considered a rousing success. Seattle was incredibly streaky throughout the season, but was able to bounce back after every losing streak and win a bunch of ball games. Manager Lloyd McClendon has a lot to do with that, and he should honestly be a Manager of the Year finalist (despite some boneheaded hit and runs).
It was one hell of a season, and one that should be fondly remembered by Mariners fans.