Originally posted on The Baseball Page  |  Last updated 8/24/12

It's surprisingly hard not to be excited about the Mariners right now. It is a nice change of pace from the previous decade or so. Whispers of "refuse to lose" are slipping out - timid whispers that respect the decade of futility, combined with the long odds the team faces right now, but whispers nonetheless that signal a little hope and excitement.

It would be easy for me to slam the door in this blog post. I would point out that the excitement is getting generated during an eight-game winning streak, and the Mariners are not going to win all of their remaining games. They also have four teams to leapfrog in the wild card standings, and it is next-to-impossible to get four teams to collapse simultaneously.

That's not where I'm going to go with this post though. Instead, how about I dial out a few hypothetical scenarios for you, and you decide how likely the Mariners are to take a wild card spot?

The five teams ahead of the Mariners in the wild card standings are the Rays, Athletics, Orioles, Tigers, and Angels, in that order as I write this post. The top two advance to the playoffs, which is why the Mariners only have to beat out four of them instead of all five.

Let's take the Rays out of this hypothetical to make things simpler. They are in first place among wild card teams and also sport the best run differential of all the wild card teams. I will assume they earn the top wild card spot.

Let's also assume that all teams win as many games as expected, based on their run differentials on the year (not their current winning percentage; this mostly hurts the Orioles). However, for the Mariners, we will assume that they keep up their torrid second half pace instead of using their run differential.

The Athletics play the Orioles three times, the Tigers three times, and the Angels seven times between now and the end of the season. I will assume the A's take two out of three against Baltimore, two out of three against Detroit, and four out of seven against Los Angeles of Anaheim.

The Tigers also play the Angels a surprising six times between now and the end of the season. I will assume that they split those six games three apiece.

Lastly, the Mariners play the A's six times, the Orioles three times, and the Angels nine times between now and the end of the season. Let's assume they win all those series two out of three games.

Making all of the above assumptions, here is where the standings would end up at the end of the season:

  1. Athletics, 88-74, 0 GB
  2. Tigers, 86-76, 2 GB
  3. Mariners, 85-77, 3 GB
  4. Angels, 85-77, 3 GB
  5. Orioles, 83-79, 5 GB
Let's make a couple final tweaks. Instead of the Mariners simply winning every series against the Angels and A's, let's say they sweep one from Oakland, and one from Los Angeles of Anaheim. Then the standings would look like this:
  1. Mariners, 87-75, 0 GB
  2. Athletics, 87-75, 0 GB
  3. Tigers, 86-76, 1 GB
  4. Angels, 84-78, 3 GB
  5. Orioles, 83-79, 4 GB
Moral of the story: the Mariners need to keep winning. The second scenario, in which they tie for the second wild card spot, assumes that they win every series the rest of the year with two sweeps thrown in against wild card rivals. The Mariners play nearly half of their remaining games against teams above them in the wild card standings. They control their own destiny to a degree, even with how far back they are. However, everyone else above them also plays each other quite a bit, which makes it virtually impossible for every team to collapse. As a result, the Mariners probably should not root for losing streaks above them. Splits are much more advantageous, because a losing streak for one team likely means a winning streak for another with how interconnected the schedules are for the wild card teams. This is the reason it is hard to leapfrog several teams in the standings instead of just one or two. But the Mariners have some sort of chance...

Follow Seattle Mariners Musings on Google+ for more musings!
https://plus.google.com/105677879295452460162

 

Be sure to check out other great articles at Seattle Mariners Musings.

Play Our Fantasy Game Today and Try Your Hand at Winning $250 for FREE

 

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Fugget about it: Christian Hackenberg isn't ready for the big stage

Jeffrey Loria says ‘no sadness’ about selling Marlins

MLB umpires wearing white wristbands to protest ‘escalating attacks’

Report: Ric Flair awake, communicating after surgery

NFLPA head says Roger Goodell ‘lied’ about drafting new personal conduct policy

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jeanie Buss compares Lonzo Ball to Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant

Blake Bortles staying away from social media, news to stay focused

Veteran Giants OL Michael Bowie charged for assaulting girlfriend

Buccaneers-Jaguars game drew ridiculously awful ratings

Report: Cam Newton to see increase in workload next week

Desperate Seahawks must trade for left tackle to save season

Sports & Politics Intersect: Echoes of Charlottesville ripple across the sports world

Best of Yardbarker: NFL goes in on Ezekiel Elliott, NFLPA

BIG3 Playoff Preview: Can anyone stop Trilogy?

The 'Bye bye to the Beast Incarnate?' quiz

Why the SEC is not the best football conference anymore

Box Score 8/18: Reds and Cubs claw through a 23-run game

The 'M! E! S! S! Mess! Mess! Mess!' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Giancarlo Stanton won't stop hitting homers

NFL shifts blame for Zeke suspension to police and NFLPA

Box Score 8/17: Interleague games bring the fireworks

The 'Forget Calvin, bring back Jerry' quiz

The top 20 left-handed pitchers of all-time

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Sports & Politics Intersect: Echoes of Charlottesville ripple across the sports world

BIG3 Playoff Preview: Can anyone stop Trilogy?

The 'Bye bye to the Beast Incarnate?' quiz

Why the SEC is not the best football conference anymore

The 'M! E! S! S! Mess! Mess! Mess!' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Giancarlo Stanton won't stop hitting homers

NFL shifts blame for Zeke suspension to police and NFLPA

The 'Forget Calvin, bring back Jerry' quiz

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Charles Oakley slams the phone — and his opponents — down

The '27 up, 27 down' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker