The Seattle Mariners weren't going to make the playoffs this season. Going into yesterday's games, they were three back of both the Royals and A's for the final wild card playoff slot, with five games left to play. ESPN's playoff odds calculator gave them only a 0.1 percent chance. But did the Mariners have to fall to probabilities in such an agonizing fashion?
Oakland and Kansas City both lost on Wednesday, opening a small crack that the Mariners could've squeezed into. But then this happened:
Seattle's Taijuan Walker had matched Toronto's Mark Buehrle pitch for pitch through seven innings, with each giving up three hits and no runs. Walker was almost out of the eighth inning, too, with two outs and a runner on first, when Ryan Goins hit this stupid Texas leaguer that plated Munenori Kawasaki. If Goins hits a line drive, Kawasaki doesn't score. If the count isn't 3-2, Kawasaki doesn't score. But Goins did hit a blooper and the count was full and Kawasaki did indeed scamper home from first.
Down 1-0 in the ninth, the Mariners looked to be in business. Chris Taylor got aboard with a single and the speedy James Jones was brought in to pinch run. Top of the order up, nobody out. But before Austin Jackson, Robinson Cano, or anybody else could take a hack, Jones got picked off first. The Mariners would challenge the play, but to no avail.
It was Seattle's fifth straight loss, and nine of 12. Better luck next year, guys.
Photo via Tom Szczerbowski/Getty