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Seattle Mariners Have Moved into Playoff Contention

The Seattle Mariners are the surprise of baseball. The team from the Pacific Northwest is now a legitimate contender for the playoffs in the American League.

Too many games over the past 13 years or more at Safeco Field have had less than wonderful results for Seattle fans.

However, things look like they are changing in Seattle as the Mariners have worked their way close to the top in the playoff race.

Seattle is 6.5 games behind the Oakland A’s in the American League West, but now hold the second wildcard spot in the AL by a ½ game over the Detroit Tigers.

Seattle has won 5 straight and 9 of their past 10 to move into third place in the AL West.

The Mariners have the majors’ best pitching staff and the best division in baseball could provide a division champion and the two AL wildcard spots.

The last time fans in Seattle were very proud of their Mariners was in 2001, when the club set an American League record for regular season wins at 116 and drew over 3.5 million fans.

That year they lost in the playoffs to the New York Yankees. The Mariners have not been back to the postseason since.

Since then, the revolving door of managers has seen 9 come and go and the team has been in the AL West cellar on 7 occasions.

The attendance dropped by half, in a city where the Seahawks won the Super Bowl and have the loudest fans in the NFL and the Seattle Sounders soccer team attracted half the amount of fans as the Mariners in just a quarter of the number of games.

However, things are changing in the home of Microsoft and Starbucks.

Seattle not only has the majors’ second best run differential, but the best AL pitcher in Felix Hernandez.

The veteran right-hander has the best changeup in baseball. Hernandez has 16 straight starts of seven innings or more and two runs or fewer.

No other pitcher has ever accomplished that. Over that stretch, Hernandez is 8-2 with an ERA of 1.41.

Hernandez tops the list of starters for the Mariners, but the next two are not that bad either.

Hisashi Iwakuma has a record of 11-6 with an ERA of 2.72. Chris Young signed with Seattle following his release by the Washington Nationals when spring training ended. Young is 11-6 with an ERA of 3.20.

The top three pitchers for Seattle have the best combined ERA of any three starters in the league. Seattle’s starting rotation has a 3.28 ERA that leads the league. It bullpen also leads the league with an ERA of 2.33.

The team ERA is 2.95 and no team in the majors over the past 25 years has finished their season with an ERA less than 3.00. An American League team has not accomplished that since 1974.

The offense is picking up some, with Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager the biggest bats for Seattle.

Hernandez helped convince Cano to sign with Seattle and not re-sign with the Yankees.
Hernandez told him that in Seattle they treat you as if you are family.

Just 41 games remain for Seattle in the regular season and the Mariners have a legitimate chance of reaching the postseason for the first time in 13 years.

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