SEATTLE — Despite all the rain this arid area of the country receives more than any important U.S. city it has experienced a wide-spread drought that is as insatiable as it is irresistible. The Mariners are a show that at their peak can be the most sought-after and loved show in the city, have long awaited to return to the prestigious stage but the drought has hindered their hopes, especially when it has lasted for more than nearly two years.
The manager Scott Servais says he thinks about the drought each day but admits that it is part of the deal as the result of 20 years that have soaked into the structure of an organisation to the point that it is a part of its brand.
The dry spell has ended. A new era is beginning in Seattle and, finally, the longest-running playoff gap that has existed in North American professional sports has been wiped out. The Mariners have finally are heading to the postseason.
Cal Raleigh crushed an enormous 406-foot solo homer with the full count, with just 2 outs during the the ninth inning to send Seattle to an 2-1 walk-off win against Oakland in the night of Friday, and to the playoffs for the first time since.
Raleigh who was pinch-hitting for Luis Torrens, dug out an in-and-low slider from Oakland relief pitcher Domingo Acevedo and sent the decisive shot into the Seattle night, through into the Hit It Here Cafe windows beyond right field. He lifted his bat high, then walked to the dugout at home, and was on and off as the other Mariners came into home plate, attempting to take out the slender backstop.
“The moment when I knew it was fair and then looking at the team and everybody’s jumping, it was just crazy,” Raleigh stated.
Seattle The team, who started on the same day sporting a magical numbers of 1, has secured the AL Wild Card place. Seattle holds the no. 5 seed by half a game against Tampa Bay and trail Toronto with two more games to secure an upper Wild Card spot, the only seed with no division that could play host to the best-of-3 first round this weekend.
With the immense weight of the stakes and the anticipation for the game Did it perform to the standards that the Mariners were hoping for?
“Yeah, and more,” Servais added. “I think with the fact that we’re in our ballpark, there’s 40,000 people here tonight, it’s better than maybe what you can even dream it could be. And it’s a testament to our players.”
After the Mariners enjoyed champagne and smoked cigars at the clubhouse in the home stadium The seventh-year manager then took the team back to the field in which he delivered an emotional speech to the massive crowd that remainedfollowed by a loud appeal: “Let’s party!”
“There are so many kids that grew up in the Pacific Northwest that don’t know anything about the Mariners being in the playoffs,” Servais stated. “And now we get to show them.”
After the dreadful drought is ending, the objective for the Mariners during the final six regular-season games, all which are played at home and at home, is to make sure that they can keep the celebration going throughout Seattle through next Friday at which point it’s the time for the AL Wild Card Series begins.
“Absolutely, I feel like tonight was just a taste,” said Logan Gilbert, who pitched eight strong innings on Friday, putting the Mariners in a position to play Raleigh’s amazing performance. “Those fans, they love baseball. They’ve supported us the whole year. We want to be back here next weekend.”
However, they’re thinking much bigger than that.
“I do believe this team can go very deep in the playoffs and win a World Series,” Servais stated. “We’ve got that kind of pitching and defense. And we’ve got the ‘it’ factor — and that goes a long way this time of year.”
In all three of the years leading to the 2022 season the veterans Mitch Haniger and Marco Gonzales as the sole surviving members of the previous administration were vocal about the hope of not just being in the ballroom and winning the entire thing.
With a roster that is stuffed with top pitching talent and a bullpen that, despite some minor incidents of late has been among the best in MLB as well as a lineup that doesn’t possess the same star power as other juggernauts , but instead makes opposing pitchers sweat, Seattle possesses the ingredients that make for teams that are successful — and even advancein playoff games.
However, despite their skill this hasn’t been the smoothest or easy season. The Mariners had a rocky time as spring extended into summer, burdened by their terrible early travel as it all culminated when the club fell to a season-high of 10 games below .500 the 19th of June and then their postseason chance decreased to 5.3 percentage, as per FanGraphs.
The situation was as depressing as it gets before the team shrewdly transformed their fortunes, helped in large part by the fourteen-game win streak that ended with the All-Star break. They’re which was tied with the reigning title-winning Braves in the most time-span streak this season. However, even prior to the turnaround, players were confident. Gonzales particularly did not doubt their team’s chances.
“It’s the character in the clubhouse, I’ve said it all year,” Gonzales stated. “I said it in Spring Training. I said it in April, May and June. There were some people that were talking some outside noise. We closed that off. We just believed in ourselves. We knew we had a talented team. We just needed to hit our stride, find our identity and we found it. We’re here.”
It’s been pitching that has become the team’s principal strategy as has an impressive rotation that has kept clear of the IL period throughout the entire season long, and a bullpen that is brimming with speed. They’ve also been led by the star newcomer Julio Rodriguez, who is in the 10-day list of injured players due to an injury to his lower back, but has started baseball activities on Thursday, and is expected to be to return on Monday.
Rodriguez Rodriguez was able to get to the big league roster during an eye-opening spring Training Rodriguez has been an emblematic representation of the Mariners in their transformation from being mediocre, and has the potential of a superstar which could earn this postseason spot one of the many that are to be.
“The goal here is to be that team that’s in this position every year,” Servais declared, “so we don’t have to speak about it like it’s a huge deal, and we’re used it. But there’s still to work on it.”
After bringing their postseason expectations to the last day of the regular season, but failing to make it the Mariners changed from being surprise favorites to a team with higher expectation for the very first time since the year 2018.
The club increased its spending and brought the the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray, graduated top prospects Rodriguez, George Kirby and Matt Brash from its then-No. 2 farm system. They also and made an enormous splash on the Trade Deadline in acquiring two-time All-Star Luis Castillo and firmly went full-time in ending the drought.
“I have heard it for seven years,” Servais declared. “Every morning when I get up in the morning and go to work, I have that thought in my head. The goal is to win the World Series. It’s more than just ending this drought.”
The hard work of a rebuild that started nearly four years ago are finally paying off. With an old and costly roster in the offseason of 2018-19, Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto, then the manager, made an uncomfortable but essential pitch to owners to tear down veteran players, cut the payroll, and build the farm system which was had been ranked last in terms of talent according to MLB Pipeline. This could lead to an effective formula for long-term success.
The team had a tough first season in 2019 where a talent assessment approach resulted in Seattle with an MLB record of number of 67 players in the course of finishing last. The team then endured an unproductive year of players’ development due to the suspension of their Minors season as well as the MLB schedule reduced to 60 games without fans. However, things started to change this year, and the team could finally taste playoffs, but fell short in the final.
They’re finally in the midst of their journey — and given the way they’re constructed and designed, they’re going to be for a long time.