Playoff chase baseball is in full tilt and teams are counting down their magic numbers. That means making preparations for which opponent they'll play. However, one team in particular has to worry about suddenly collapsing, especially with their decades-long playoff drought.
The Seattle Mariners have not played well recently, losing five of their last six games. There have been a litany of problems, from Eugenio Suarez being out with a fractured finger to anemic hitting. Such issues have raised small, but noticeable rumblings of "here we go again."
Granted, there are some benefits that are in the M's favor. For one, they play only teams that are under .500 and have been eliminated from playoff contention. These teams are only seeing who could make the roster for next season, so it should be easy for Seattle to beat them. Plus, they hold a four-game lead for the final wild card spot. It shouldn't be an issue, right?
Other contenders for the wild card don't have it easy, either. Baltimore is starting a brutal four-game series with the Houston Astros this week. Their last six games are against the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays, which will be a tall order. Considering they've won two out of their last six games, it's considerable to believe they'll have a rough go, even if they pull off some Oriole magic.
That leaves the Chicago White Sox, who've been stymied by the Cleveland Guardians. The Sox have a much easier stretch, only facing a sliding San Diego Padres team that's over .500. They've played much better without Tony La Russa and are the biggest threat to the M's postseason hopes.
The next two weeks will be telling of how the Mariners manage their current situation. If they survive and clinch, there will be a big celebration in the Emerald City. If not, it'll be another year of misery and pain for Mariner fans.