It takes a lot for the sporting public to notice a Saturday highlight other than a football one in early October. It has to be especially good on a weekend when Alabama staves off an upset, but my god what the Seattle Mariners are doing is beyond good.
The second day of the new MLB playoff format went much like the first, with every team that won on the first day sealing a trip to the division series other than the Padres. The Mets survived to force a game 3. The Guardians walked off and into the next round against the Rays. The Phillies brought the Cardinals nostalgia-filled season to an end. The Blue Jays were well on their way to forcing a decisive rubber match with the Mariners, leading 8-1 after the fifth frame, until the M’s decided that they were going to continue to pull more horseshoes out of its posterior.
Seattle won four of its last eight games of the regular season, including the playoff clinching win, via walkoff, and yet what they did Saturday topped all of those late-game heroics. The Mariners came back from seven runs down in the final three innings, scoring nine runs to secure a trip to the ALDS. In fact, after they cut it to 8-5 in sixth, Toronto pushed the lead back to four in the seventh when Danny Jansen singled, scoring Teoscar Hernandez.
It mattered not, and it didn’t even take extra innings like Cleveland needed to finish off Tampa. Tied after eight, Adam Frazier’s double to right in the ninth scored Cal Raleigh, giving Seattle its first lead of the day and completing a seven-run comeback.
It was only the third time in MLB postseason history that a team overcame a seven-run deficit to win a game, and holy lord have the heavens blessed the Pacific Northwest this year.
The M’s not only have 13 walk-off wins this season, they bucked a 21-year playoff-less streak. If there was ever a time to test your luck, Seattle fans might want to start buying lotto tickets or trying their hand at the blackjack tables because this fairytale run refuses to end.
Under the old format, the Mariners would’ve advanced to the ALDS after Friday’s win, but where’s the fun in that? Why in the world would a boring 4-0 W suffice? This team has a storyline to perpetuate, and now its Houston’s turn to try to squash the hopes and dreams of its AL West foe.
Aside from a hot goaltender in hockey, no other occurrence in playoff sports is quite as inexplicable as a baseball club remaining so hot they black out a la Frank the Tank in Old School and give repeated flawless performances.
It’ll take that kind of brilliance to upend a James Carville-ian Astros’ team who seems fanatical about silencing any debate over its greatness that arose from the sign-stealing scandal.
That said, if there ever was a team up to the task of surmounting insurmountable odds, it’s a club that’s on a heater so hot that they’re giving Jeremy Piven panic attacks.