Header Ads Widget

Mariner's historic victory has made the playoffs for the first time in 21 years, drought ended for Seattle

Image Credit: MLB

Raleigh's home run sends the Mariners to their first playoff appearance since 2001. The Mariners' victory over the A's is historic.

The drought ends in Seattle, as the Mariners assure a postseason journey for the first time since 2001.

More than an hour after ending baseball's longest playoff drought, Cal Raleigh was back on the field with his teammates, circling the perimeter of the field to thank the tens of thousands of fans who remained.

The Seattle Mariners defeated the Oakland Athletics 2-1 on Friday night to snap baseball's longest postseason drought. Cal Raleigh hit a game-winning home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.

For the first time since 2001, the Mariners advanced to the postseason when pinch-hitter Raleigh homered on a 3-2 pitch from Domingo Acevedo (3-4) just inside the right-field foul pole.
Seattle's celebration on the field lasted for more than 10 minutes as players and supporters lifted the burden of having endured 20 years without seeing their baseball team make the playoffs. The Mariners' 86th win, and the one that sent them back to the playoffs, came in the most stressful way possible, as has been the case for the majority of the season. For eight innings, Seattle was unable to solve Oakland starter Ken Waldichuk and an assembly line of relievers, with only Ty France's RBI double scoring Dylan Moore two batters in.

How the Mariners did make it end to the postseason drought?

Over the last four years, the Mariners' ascent out of the AL West cellar has been gradual, but it still took a sizable step forward for them to play some genuine October baseball.

The team's youth movement had appeared promising for years. Major prospects like George Kirby, Logan Gilbert, Julio Rodriguez, and Jarred Kelenic all made top 100 lists in 2020 or 2021, but that did not guarantee stardom.

Different young players had different outcomes. After a terrible start to his career, Kelenic might not have a future as a big-league starter, but Rodriguez, Gilbert, and Kirby are all getting plenty of playing time with the MLB team and doing well, Rodriguez most of all.

Image Credit: MLB

For a season in which he is hitting, the 21-year-old outfielder is a virtual lock to win the AL Rookie of the Year Award. With 27 home runs, 25 RBI, and strong center field defense, he bats 280/.342/.502. Although Rodriguez is currently sidelined due to a back injury, that is the makings of a future superstar at that age.

Gilbert and Kirby, who are both under 25, have ERAs of 3.29 and 3.21, respectively. Even though this season has been strong, Seattle's future is even more promising.

However, the Mariners' postseason run wasn't entirely dependent on prospects. The team was aggressive in free agency and the trade market last offseason, like most teams that successfully emerge from a rebuilding phase.

The team filled two holes in its lineup by trying to trade for Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez from the Cincinnati Reds, and it signed reigning AL Cy Younger winner Robbie Ray to a five-year, $115 million contract. Players like J.P. Crawford, Mitch Haniger, and Marco Gonzalez were already on board. Midway through the season, they doubled down by making another trade with the Reds to acquire starting pitcher Luis Castillo, who has since agreed to a five-year, $108 million contract.

The biggest surprise, besides Rodriguez, may actually be first baseman Ty France. France was a small piece of the trade that sent catcher Austin Nola to the San Diego Padres, but this year he was selected for his first All-Star game and is currently hitting. 276/.341/.444.

The kind of rebuilding project that results from all of that is what the majority of teams envision when creating their playbook. maintaining top prospects, utilizing prospect depth to develop MLB talent, and producing top starters wherever possible. It should be noted that the addition of a third wild card gave the Mariners a slight advantage over other teams in terms of their chances of making the playoffs this year.

Who currently has the longest postseason drought?

The Philadelphia Phillies, who last made the playoffs in 2011, before their core of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Cliff Lee started to age, hold the record for the longest postseason drought among MLB teams.

Image Credit: MLB

The Phillies might not keep that title for very long, though. They currently lead the Milwaukee Brewers by a half-game and are in third place in the National League's wild-card standings. But for now, this is how the list appears:
  1. Philadelphia Phillies, 11 years
  2. Los Angeles Angels, 8 years
  3. Detroit Tigers, 8 years
  4. Kansas City Royals, 7 years
  5. Pittsburgh Pirates, 7 years
Regarding the other major North American men's leagues, the New York Jets in the NFL (11 years), Sacramento Kings in the NBA (16 years), and Buffalo Sabres in the NHL have the longest droughts (11 years).

Post a Comment