A Must Win

Dave · September 4, 2007 at 9:04 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

You hear the term “must win” thrown around a lot, but for once, I think Wednesday’s game actually qualifies. Barring a complete collapse, I don’t think we can assume that New York will do any worse than 12-10 or 13-9 in their final 22 games, meaning a win tomorrow puts them in the 90-91 win range. The Mariners would then have to go 16-8 or 17-7 to finish out the year just to tie NY, and it would require an 18-6 closing run to win the wild card outright. And this ignores Detroit, who isn’t out of this thing yet either. That’s not mathematically eliminated, but it would take a miracle.

Win tomorrow, and you give yourself a little margin for error. Lose tomorrow, and the Mariners would have to play their best baseball of the season for three straight weeks while simultaneously hoping the Yankees play mediocre baseball.

The M’s need this one. If they don’t get it, we can pretty safely have a funeral for the 2007 season on Thursday.


37 Responses to “A Must Win”

  1. RussM on September 4th, 2007 9:27 pm

    I’ll be there tomorrow. Let’s hope Hughes repeats his spectacular performance vs. TB last week. I want to see Putz Wooooo!

  2. eponymous coward on September 4th, 2007 9:31 pm

    The other way to look at this is that if you figure 90 wins is the minimum threshold the team needs to hit to have a shot in the WC (only one wild card has won less than 90 in a 162 game season in the AL, the 1996 Orioles), the Mariners have to finish 16-9 to hit that… in a stretch where they have 1 left against the Yankees, 3 against Detroit, 4 against Anaheim and 4 against Cleveland.

    Going 6-6 against playoff or close-to-playoff teams would be playing decently- and it means they pretty much have to run the table on everyone else (10-3 against OAK, TB and TEX- which means they have to basically have a great homestand next week).

    I’m not sure they have a lot of margin for error even if they win, to be honest.

  3. kenshabby on September 4th, 2007 9:50 pm

    My pre-season prediction was a final record of 86-76, and they may yet make that. Amazing.

  4. Tom on September 4th, 2007 9:53 pm

    I can’t help but wonder what Bill Bavasi (and McLaren) is thinking right now.

  5. Slippery Elmer on September 4th, 2007 9:57 pm

    In the course of the Major League season–the longest of all sports–it’s amazing that the crux of the entire year may essentiallky be one previously innocuous matchup in early September. Baseball is so funny with its visceral stimuli, sometimes.

  6. fetish on September 4th, 2007 9:59 pm

    At least we’ll have Balentien. And Jimmercrack-corn.

  7. JI on September 4th, 2007 10:19 pm

    At least we didn’t piss away one of the Yankee games by starting a washed up injury prone pitcher that could barely crack an AAA ros–



  8. Oly Rainiers Fan on September 4th, 2007 10:25 pm

    Hey, it wasn’t the starting pitcher that was the biggest problem today (in comparison with that stellar bullpen anyway).

    Or, maybe it was the starting pitcher that was the problem – the Yankee starter. Hard to know, given how streaky the offense is…

  9. thefin190 on September 4th, 2007 10:34 pm

    I’ll be at that funeral when it happens….j/k

    The M’s do have a legitimate shot at beating the Yankees tomorrow. I was at Safeco when Washburn pitched that 3-0 gem against the Yanks back in May. And I don’t think Hughes is proven yet. It can go either way, but hopefully the bats will come alive. They need this win, as with any other, but Dave is right to say this is probably one of the most important games of the season for the Mariners.

  10. IdahoInvader on September 4th, 2007 10:38 pm

    Lets just pray if tomorrow is the death knell that its not one of those “blow fifty eight chances to push across runs” kinds of games.

    Sorta like the one inning where Garcia sent Beltre and Lopez swings at the first pitch into a crippling dp.

  11. Mike Honcho on September 4th, 2007 10:44 pm

    Dave – I can see the Yanks going .500 the rest of the way. That pitching staff behind Wang and Pettite is pretty bad.

  12. eddieranch on September 4th, 2007 11:05 pm

    Problem is, even when Pettite or Wang aren’t pitching, their bats can put up a 10 spot like it’s chump change. I don’t think it’s an accident that they scored 8 of their 12 runs today on our ‘usually’ solid bullpen.

  13. Tom on September 5th, 2007 12:22 am

    #9: Careful what you say about Hughes, remember when Matt DeSalvo shut us down?

  14. DizzleChizzle on September 5th, 2007 1:59 am

    This team has about the same chance of making the playoffs as Juan Pierre does of hitting a homerun this season. Sorry but I’m really devastated by this collapse.

  15. scraps on September 5th, 2007 6:07 am

    Watching Kenji swing at the first pitch sinker into a double play after Ibanez had carefully worked a walk by simply refusing to swing at a low pitch was painfully frustrating.

  16. Norm Charlton Fan Club on September 5th, 2007 6:47 am

    I’m going to the game tonight…I’m terrified.

    If we don’t win I may cry on my way home.

  17. HamNasty on September 5th, 2007 8:19 am

    7- We were returning the favor after they gave us blistered and MRI bound Clemens. They say elbow, I say hip MRI.

    Wang also went out with a injury. Hughes isn’t exactly a Iron Man, lets go 3 for 3!

  18. dw on September 5th, 2007 9:23 am

    Detroit is very much still in this. After all, they host the M’s this weekend. If they can get their act together, get some of their arms healthy, and play like they did in 2006, they will pass the .500-playing Yankees.

    Hard to say who has the soft schedule. Of their final 23, 11 are against teams with winning records, and 7 of those are against the barely-.500 Toronto. The other twelve games are KC, Tampa, and Baltimore (for 6).

    Detroit, OTOH, only plays seven of their final 24 against teams with winning records (3 against the M’s, 3 against the Indians, one against the Jays). Six of the other 18, though, are a home-and-home with the Twins, who are barely-under-.500.

    Detroit only plays 6 more on the road the rest of the year; New York plays only 8 more games at home.

    As for the M’s, even with Tampa and Oakland coming up, there’s a brutal eight game stretch against the Angels (in Anaheim) and the Indians starting the 20th. Even if they win the MOST IMPORTANT GAME OF THE YEAR tonight and sweep the Tigers, I think that eight-game set will be their ultimate undoing.

  19. IdahoInvader on September 5th, 2007 9:37 am

    Sometimes looking at strength of schedule can be deceiving. The Yanks can’t beat Baltimore or TB in a series lately, but somehow swept the Sawks. Heck, even we beat them to stop that ghastly streak.

  20. beckya57 on September 5th, 2007 10:26 am

    I’ve never taken this team seriously as a playoff contender, so I’m not surprised by this collapse. In the end, baseball is all about starting pitching, and the M’s don’t have any after Felix, who’s a talented but inconsistent kid. In a decent rotation, he’d be the #2 or 3 starter, with relatively little pressure on him; here he has to try to be #1, and he just isn’t ready for that role. The offense is streaky because that’s the nature of baseball offenses in general, and the bullpen is obviously and unsurprisingly exhausted. I’m not very impressed with the Yankees’ starters either; Wang’s good, Pettitte has been very good but is also near the end of his career and injury-prone, and there’s not much good news after that. If Detroit’s starters can start pitching decently (and they have the talent to do so), they should win this thing.

  21. scraps on September 5th, 2007 11:06 am

    In the end, baseball is all about starting pitching
    . . .
    The offense is streaky because that’s the nature of baseball offenses in general

    You keep saying these things, but there’s no evidence to support them. They’re just beliefs, although the first one at least is widely believed, no matter how much evidence can be marshaled against it.

    The Mariners have big holes in starting pitching, in hitting, and fielding. They all matter.

  22. eponymous coward on September 5th, 2007 11:11 am

    In the end, baseball is all about starting pitching

    Except, when, well, it isn’t, because it’s also about offense, defense and relief pitching.

    Toronto, Oakland and Minnesota are 2-3-4 in runs allowed per game for the American League, all have aces, and together they have a collective record of 2 games under .500, because their offenses suck.

  23. eponymous coward on September 5th, 2007 11:52 am

    Oh, and just to rub it in some more: the top AL 5 teams on offense (runs allowed) are New York, Detroit, Boston, LA and Cleveland.

    4 of those teams will make the playoffs, in all likelihood. All are above .500.

    Compare to the top 5 on pitching/defense: Boston, Toronto, Minnesota, LA, Oakland (I misspoke earlier- the Baseball Reference AL page arranges by ERA, and Oakland is barely behind Anaheim in runs allowed). Two of those teams are under .500, three of them aren’t going to be in the playoffs.

    If you go by OPS+ (park-adjusted OPS), the top 6 offensive teams in the AL are:

    NYY 122
    DET 111
    BOS 110
    LAA 106
    SEA 106
    CLE 105

    That also happens to be 6 of the 7 above .500 teams in the AL (Toronto being the 7th, and also happening to be 7th in the AL in winning percentage).

    Despite this, we’re going to hear ad nauseam that “pitching and defense win championships” this September and October…

  24. Dan W on September 5th, 2007 12:14 pm

    Good stuff. The Mariners are going to need to hit their way into the playoffs, no matter how you look at it.

    A late season bullpen revival would be nice too.

  25. Chris88 on September 5th, 2007 12:56 pm

    It certainly helps to have good pitching and defense when you are playing a better offensive team than yourself. Which is basically any team we could hope to face in the playoffs.

  26. eponymous coward on September 5th, 2007 1:20 pm

    It certainly helps to have good pitching and defense when you are playing a better offensive team than yourself.

    Well, of course. Clearly Boston and Anaheim are at the top of the league because they have good scoring AND scoring prevention, and Seattle being 9th in the AL in runs allowed despite playing in the most run-depressing environment in the AL says a lot about how bad the defense (.674 defensive efficiency- 13th in the AL) and starting pitching are (though, truthfully, you could make this starting staff look considerably better if you upgraded the defense and quit pitching Ho. They wouldn’t be world-beaters, but they could look pretty decent).

    But people need to quit saying “it all comes down to staring pitching” or “it all comes down to pitching and defense” or whatever hackneyed baseball saying we’re going with today, because, no, it doesn’t.

  27. Bearman on September 5th, 2007 2:04 pm

    In the end no matter how you slice it it boils down to a balance in ALL areas of the game:
    1)Rotation/bullpen:The starting rotation need not be completely solid 1 thru 5.
    However with SPs 1 thru 3 consistently give 6+ or more innings then #4 & 5 need only go 5+ more teen that lets your bullpen have set roles as in the following:
    1 long relief/spotstarter
    2 middle/short relief
    2 setup/speciality relief
    1 closer
    2)Defence:You above all must be solid up the middle 2ndB/SS and CF.
    Rangy and strong thrower at 3rdB
    At 1stB a solid glove with long legs to stretch to have contact with base.
    The M’s have these both on the club and in the minors just a more rangy better glove is needed at 1stB to be able to handle the cannons that both Beltre and Betancourt have.
    3)Offense:This will always be constant up and down area of the game cause there is quite a bit of truth to the saying good pitching will stop good hitting.
    However solid CLUTCH hitting will help counter that at times but I believe the guys who hit doubles,for avg,and have gap power with 2 or 3 well placed power hitters complimented with tablesetters like Ichiro and Vidro is the ideal lineup provided they deliver #2 (defense).

  28. Dan W on September 5th, 2007 2:16 pm

    “I was ready to play, but they’re sending me to get an MRI,” he said.

    “He” was Alex Rodriguez about an hour ago.

  29. gwangung on September 5th, 2007 2:21 pm

    Despite this, we’re going to hear ad nauseam that “pitching and defense win championships” this September and October…

    That’s because most fans and a lot of front offices have no clue on how to evaluate defense (and to a lesser extent, pitching). And if you can’t pinpoint it with a number like OBP or OPS, than, by gum, it’s gotta be important for championships…

  30. msb on September 5th, 2007 2:35 pm

    #28– from the ankle roll?

  31. Dan W on September 5th, 2007 2:42 pm

    apparently so. He was dressed and ready for warmups and they sent him downtown.

  32. Bearman on September 5th, 2007 3:01 pm

    If he’s out of their lineup that will definately help the M’s cause and make Washburn’s start at bit less pressured.

    This also futher my belief that A-Rod will opt out of his contract as he is premitted to at this the 7th yr of the deal.
    I futher believe that without the least hesitation the Boston Red Sox will move Lowell and aquire A-Rod in a pardon the expression NY minute.
    I think a 5 yr/120 mil will be the deal to get Boras and A-Rod to sign in Boston.If this does happen as I’m sure it will Red Soxs nation and going to be smiling like Chestire cats yelling tit for tat you got Damon but got A-Rod so take that.

  33. MedicineHat on September 5th, 2007 3:07 pm

    Back to a previous post of oen of you…Tomko was signed acquired by a contending team (Padres) today.

  34. everett on September 5th, 2007 3:11 pm

    Why would A-Rod opt out unless he was getting more than 25 per? He’s getting 25 at the moment. I guess a couple extra years would be nice, but I’d think we’d be looking more at a 6 years, 160-180 type of deal, given market conditions, if he opted out.

  35. Dan W on September 5th, 2007 3:28 pm

    not sure about next year, but as far as the next game, A-Rod is in the lineup.

  36. scraps on September 5th, 2007 3:34 pm

    Why would A-Rod opt out unless he was getting more than 25 per?

    To play somewhere else?

  37. Pete Livengood on September 5th, 2007 4:14 pm

    Well, sure, but I don’t think he wants out of NY so bad that he’d take less (though to be fair, Bearman said he thought it would take 5yr/$120M, which would be $$-neutral, and a bit of an extension at that – reason enough, right there).

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