A’s drop another one in Seattle, have competition for 2nd wild card spot

By Morris Phillips

Only one major league club is neither currently holding a postseason spot or tethered to an uninspiring .500 won-loss record or below. Increasing the growing interest around that club: they haven’t made a postseason appearance since 2001. That only one club would hold this distinction so close to the trade deadline is unusual.

But thanks to the Oakland A’s and a string of three, consecutive one-run losses, the Seattle Mariners are picking up steam and notoriety.

“It’s been preached this rebuild so much, but I mean we’re right there on the edge of this thing,” Seattle’s Kyle Seager said. “Certainly you would like to have them make moves and get the team as good as we possibly can.”

The A’s came to Seattle looking to create space between themselves and the Mariners. Instead they won the opener, and spent an additional three days in the Emerald City being miserable.

“Last night stung,” said Sunday’s A’s starter Cole Irvin. “Anytime you lose a one-run game against a team in your division, and on top of that, fighting for the Wild Card spot in your possession, it’s not easy to swallow. We’re gonna have to bounce back here and collect ourselves.”

So for now, the AL West is a three-team battle, and that increases intrigue with the trade deadline approaching this week. The Mariners in particular have players that have tremendous value on the trade market, most notably slugger Mitch Haniger and resurgent, remade reliever Kendall Graveman. Now with the longest playoff drought in the game hanging over their heads, they’ll have no choice but to hang onto their assets, as well as look to add a couple of pieces.

“The teams that feel like they have a chance to go after a division title or a Wild Card berth, there’s going to be a lot of movement,” manager Scott Servais said. “I think it all comes down to the last 72 hours, and being a part of a lot of those discussions, in my past, I realize how that all works.”

Marco Gonzales pitched into the sixth inning for Seattle, and left with a 4-2 lead courtesy of a four-run, third inning that saddled Irvin with the loss. Kyle Seager, Luis Torrens and Tom Murphy came up with RBI hits in the inning, and the A’s found themselves unable to mount a suitable response. Seth Brown’s solo shot off Casey Sadler brought the A’s within 4-3 in the seventh, but that was all they could muster.

The Mariners improved to 23-8 in one-run ballgames, and pulled within a game-and-a-half of the A’s for the second wild card. Seattle started fast two seasons ago–the last time they were as many as eight games above .500–but then they went into the tank. By the All-Star break, their 2019 season had already fallen apart. Since 2001, Seattle has won 90 games twice and finished second in the AL West three times. In that same span, the A’s have made nine postseason appearances, but have advanced to the ALCS only once.

Now both teams are in each other’s cross hairs. It figures to be exciting.

“As tough as it’s been, we know we’re a team that can get hot or ride it out. We just need a big hit or a big game,” Matt Olson said. “Something to spark us a little bit and get rolling.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s