Rough Weekend

Well, that weekend sure didn’t go according to plan for the Mariners.

Facing an opportunity to really shake up the American League wild card race, the Mariners were swept by the Oakland A’s, all but sealing a playoff spot for the Athletics.

Two of the games were won on late home runs by the A’s, with Saturday’s loss particularly stinging. In that game, Seattle took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth when Josh Donaldson hit a two-run homer off Tom Wilhelmsen to tie the game, and then Brandon Moss hit a three-run homer in the tenth to win it.

That game was representative of the A’s season as a whole: both Donaldson and Moss spent much of the season in Triple-A Sacramento. Moss has several years of major league experience and has hit very well for Oakland, but Donaldson is a true rookie who didn’t hit that well in the PCL until this year – heck, the Rainiers have owned the guy: Donaldson is a career .154 hitter (15-for-97) with three home runs against Tacoma over the last three years.

But magic is in the air for Oakland this year, and they’ll get a chance to play in the one-game wild card playoff.

Oakland hasn’t officially clinched yet, but they are in a great spot. On Sunday, the Yankees, Rangers, and Orioles all clinched playoff spots – but the Orioles and Yankees are still battling for the division title, with the loser going to the one-game wild card; that’s a huge difference and those teams have a lot on the line with three games to play.

In the National League the Nationals, Braves, Reds and Giants have all clinched playoff spots, with the Cardinals holding a two-game lead over the Dodgers for the final wild card spot.

The season ends Wednesday, with Thursday set aside as an off-day for any possible one-game playoffs in the event of a tie for the division title (Yankees-Orioles, perhaps?). The new one-game wild card playoffs are Friday, and then the best-of-five Division Series will start over the weekend.

Links:

  • Larry LaRue was at the series in Oakland, and here is his report on Sunday’s game.
  • On the plus side: Erasmo Ramirez had a “gritty” start and seems to be solidifying a spot in the 2013 starting rotation.
  • In case you missed Larry Stone’s Sunday baseball package in the Seattle Times, here you go: a column on what the Mariners need to due to regain relevance, a notebook with an interesting Seahawks-related item involving Ryan Braun and Aaron Rodgers, power rankings, and thumbs up-and-down.
  • Geoff Baker weighed in on the Mike Trout vs. Miguel Cabrera MVP debate. His thesis: just enjoy the battle, this is great.
  • In a column entitled “What We Learned About Baseball This season,” SB Nation’s Wendy Thurm includes a warning to the Mariners about moving the fences in.
  • In the PCL, they are playing football games this Fall at the home of the Sacramento River Cats, Raley Field.
  • For two weeks now, workers have been building a massive haunted house on the concourse at Cheney Stadium. It’s been amusing for front office employees, walking past piles of fake corpses on their way to work. Here are the gory details. Note: this is not a Rainiers production; it is an actual haunted house company that rented the stadium to host their show.

Here on the blog, we’ll follow the Mariners final games this week, and the one-game playoffs on Friday. A week from today I’ll do one of the fun annual posts: we find all of the ex-Rainiers in the MLB Playoffs.

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