The Mariners continued their playoff push to the final day of the season before getting eliminated by an Oakland A’s victory on Sunday afternoon.
Seattle finished the year with a record of 87-75 – a huge improvement of 16 wins from last year’s 71-91 mark, and a substantially better record than anyone in the local media predicted. They missed the playoffs by one game (or two games, depending on how you look at it. One game out of a tiebreaker).
They get extra credit for keeping the pressure on Oakland all weekend. In Friday’s post (scroll down) I was linking to Mariners season wrap-ups since the national media thought they were toast. It turns out that they had one last push in ’em.
So what comes next for Seattle? A break of sorts, to watch the MLB playoffs. But the front office will immediately start working to try to improve key spots and build on the strong 2014 season. Obviously, they need to improve the offense – designated hitter is a glaring hole; you can bet that we’ll be hearing all winter about how the Mariners are looking for a right-handed bat. There isn’t much on the free agent market so they may have to try the trade route instead (here is a preliminary list of expected free agents; Victor Martinez is the big fish but I keep hearing Detroit will make every effort to keep him).
The MLB playoffs start on Tuesday, with the one-game American League wild card at 5:00 (Pacific). That will be Oakland at Kansas City – the match-up is Jon Lester vs. James Shields.
On Wednesday the National League wild card game (also at 5:00 Pacific) will be San Francisco at Pittsburgh, with Madison Bumgarner facing Edinson Volquez.
The AL Division Series starts on Thursday, and the NL on Friday. These are best-of-five: Detroit vs. Baltimore, LA Angels vs. AL wild card winner, St. Louis vs. LA Dodgers, Washington vs NL wild card winner.
- The Mariners won their final game of the season, but were eliminated from playoff contention midway through it.
- It was a memorable final start of the year for Felix Hernandez, Larry Stone writes.
- Even though the Mariners didn’t make the playoffs, the fans appreciated improved baseball. The team took some big steps forward, according to Jerry Brewer.
- From Bob Dutton’s final Mariners notebook: Felix Hernandez led the league in ERA, Fernando Rodney led the majors in saves, and Logan Morrison batted .320 from August 1 to the end of the season. Attendance was up quite a bit, too.
- Jim Caple has a national perspective on the Mariners season.
- Jeff Sullivan wraps up the Mariners season by saying that every day mattered.
- On Sunday, Ryan Divish wrote about the Mariners minor league player of the year award, and he also posted his MLB power rankings.
- John McGrath has his MLB rankings with comments on all 30 teams.
- The last former Tacoma Tigers player in the big leagues is not sure if he is retiring.
- The initial MLB draft order is set and the Mariners success means they won’t pick until No. 21.
- The Salt Lake City newspaper has a nice story on Bees infielder Shawn O’Malley (from Richland, WA) who is enjoying his first taste of the major leagues.
- Brace yourself: the Oklahoma newspaper is preparing us for a possible name change for the Oklahoma City RedHawks. Until this is resolved I’ll be having nightmares about what ridiculousness lies before us.
We’ll be back with a new post on Wednesday. On Thursday – after the wild card games are done – we’ll have the annual and always fun Ex-Rainiers In The Playoffs post.