DETROIT — The Mariners arrived at Comerica Park this week with momentum. They saw an opportunity to take advantage of a basement team. And they capped a three-game sweep with a 7-0 victory over the Tigers Thursday afternoon.
No team should look down on its opponent, but for Seattle, dominating this series — its ninth sweep of the season — seemed like a given, especially as it entered September with the possibility of breaking a 20-year playoff drought every ever closer.
With that sweep, the Mariners are now 15 games over .500 and, because the Tampa Bay Rays didn’t play Thursday, finished the day tied for atop the AL Wild Cards, a top seed among winners. non-divisional teams that will host the best-of-three Wild Card Series.
With just 31 games remaining and the Astros well entrenched atop the AL West, the Mariners’ goal in these final weeks will be to guarantee home playoff games for a baseball-hungry fan base in October. And the Mariners think they’re on the right track to do that.
“I think we are improving. And I think that’s the best way to put it,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “You’ve often heard me say, ‘It doesn’t matter; let’s improve’. We are improving at the right time. … That’s what excites me, and the guys are excited to come to the stadium every day because I don’t think we’ve reached our full potential yet, and it’s pretty high.”
The Mariners’ methodology this week in Detroit was an extension of their success in late August — gunshots and more gunshots.
On Thursday, the Dominican rookie Julio Rodriguez and Ty France hit back-to-back solo homers in the third inning, capping a series in which the club hit seven homers. In the month of August, Seattle finished second in the American League with 39 home runs. The Mariners have won 11 of their last 15 games, hitting 25 homers, compared to six of their opponents.
The Tigers don’t even resemble the type of team the Mariners would face in the postseason, but just the same, Seattle’s lineup is performing as club management has long envisioned, and it’s all coming together in a opportune moment.
What’s next for Seattle? This weekend, a three-game series in Cleveland against the top Guardians, whom the Mariners won two of three games last weekend in Seattle.
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Seattle has lit up at just the right time