MLB

The Mariners have a magic number

As the Seattle Mariners gear up for their final series against an opponent with a winning record, for the 2022 regular season, their magic number stands at 16. There are 22 games left on the schedule.

16 straight wins will guarantee the M’s a playoff spot, or a combination of Seattle wins and Baltimore losses that equal 16 games. This is situation this franchise hasn’t been in since 2001.

While the Mariners entered the final three games of 2021 in possession of a playoff spot — then promptly blew it — this season is far different. And that’s because of the fact that this is a better built roster with more depth then we’ve seen in the Emerald City in decades. Particularly with the starting staff.

It’s been incredible to watch the emergence of George Kirby this season. The rookie made his major league debut on Mother’s Day and has been an insanely consistent presence on a rotation that sorely needed it. On top of that, Jerry Dipoto went out and acquired Luis Castillo from his favorite corner mart (this year), the Cincinnati Reds. Castillo, Robbie Ray, and a mix of Gilbert/Kirby/Flexen — with Marco in the mix so what — is a deadly and deep rotation…particularly in October.

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How good has this rotation been since the Castillo trade? Let’s take a look.

Oh…oh shit.

That starting rotation, along with the bullpen’s continued excellence, has managed to overcome an offense that has been inconsistent at best in the last few weeks. Ty France has struggled with a wrist injury in the second half and Mitch Haniger still doesn’t seem quiet right…but that really hasn’t mattered because the club has just continued to win.

All of this cumulated in taking a three game series from the defending World Series champs; with an absolutely batshit insane rubber match.

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The rebuild that Dipoto and company undertook was something the Mariners have never attempted at any point in their franchise history. Last season’s 90 wins shocked everyone as it seemed to come out of left field. This season the M’s are not only on track for another 90 wins, but also are only two games away from their first back-to-back .500+ win finish since ‘02 and ‘03. Clearly, this management group has done something right in how they went about rebuilding the entire organization.

And now, the M’s are 16 games away from going to the playoffs for the first time since I was eight years old.

Holy shit.

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