Final Week

The Seattle Mariners are down to their final six games of the season – and they will have a huge impact on the American League wild card race.

Going in to Friday, Oakland holds the second and final wild card spot, maintaining a two-game lead over both the Los Angeles Angels and the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Mariners final six games are: three games at Oakland, and three home games against the Angels.

What if the Mariners take two or even sweep Oakland? That would give the Angels a lot of hope going into the final series – and then the Mariners could put the Halos away at Safeco.

Perhaps the Mariners will go 2-1 at Oakland, and then drop two of three to the Angels – then where are we?

Seattle just played the Angels very tough in Anaheim, losing a pair of one-run games (including a heartbreaker on Wednesday) before notching a blowout victory last night.

Manager Eric Wedge talks a lot about his young team getting experience in key situations, and this final segment of the season certainly qualifies as a crucial stretch – even though little is on the line for the Mariners themselves. They have an opportunity to make things very tough on the contending teams.

Links:

  • In Larry LaRue’s story on last night’s Mariners win, he has some key quotes from the Mariners on how they are viewing the upcoming schedule.
  • Mariners ace Felix Hernandez will make his final start of the season on Monday against the Angels – but it could be a short one. In that notebook: several Mariners could be playing in the World Baseball Classic this winter, most notably Felix for Venezuela and Michael Saunders for Team Canada.
  • Larry Stone has been won over: he says to give Justin Smoak one more chance in 2013. This will be the debate of the Mariners off-season. Jason Churchill noticed some of the changes that Smoak has made with his swing.
  • According to Baseball America, the Mariners had two of the top three prospects in the Northwest League this year – and four of the Top-20.
  • Congratulations to Tacoma’s Director of Ballpark Operations Ryan Schutt, who was recognized as one of Esquire magazine’s Employees Of The Month.
  • Two former Rainiers pitchers had big days yesterday: R.A. Dickey became the first knuckleballer to win 20 games in a season since Joe Niekro in 1980, and Doug Fister set the American League record by striking out nine batters in a row.
  • One of the legends of my craft called his final game Wednesday night: Milo Hamilton, the voice of the Houston Astros, is hanging up his microphone at age 85. This is a must-read story, from Tony DeFrancesco‘s reaction to the managers he has worked with, to the note that Milo still uses the brief case that the Chicago White Sox gave him… in 1961.
  • It should be noted that both of Milo’s broadcast partners in Houston worked recently in the PCL. Brett Dolan was the lead radio announcer for the Tucson Sidewinders, and Dave Raymond worked in the Iowa Cubs booth with Deene Ehlis.

Have a great weekend!

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