Let's enjoy the illusion for a little longer

When Your Seattle Mariners ventured out on their current road trip, they were hanging in there on the fringes of contention after taking two of three from the Toronto Blue Jays, an objectively better team. Then they went to Dallas-Ft. Worth and swept the Rangers in a three-game set to move to ten games over .500, a season-best, and some in greater Mariner fandom were back to feeling hopeful—they're gelling! They're going to make a run! Our long national nightmare is over!

Well, not so fast.

Going from DFW to Houston was more than just a 250-mile jaunt down I-45. It's also a move from the bottom to the top of the big-league talent pool, and the M's got a dose of reality when the Astros outscored them 30-10 in three games. That Seattle escaped with one win was a shocker.

Today they M's are on Oakland for the first of two games against the Athletics, the team the Mariners are ostensibly chasing in the Wild Card standings. They're only separated by three games, so it could be a huge series. The problem is, the Red Sox are are also in the WC mix. Even if one discounts the Blue Jays after their recent slump (they're only 1½ back of the M's, though), overcoming both the A's and the Red Sox is a tough hill to climb for a club that has so much trouble scoring runs. Even if the M's take both games in this series in the East Bay, they'll still be third in the hunt for the second Wild Card berth.

But despite the knowledge that the odds are very much against the M's, the fact that they're even in the conversation at this point in the campaign is pretty cool. That in and of itself just doesn't happen very often. Outside of some of us here at GS.net, nobody expected the Mariners to be even a .500 club this season.

They're not going to win it. It would take not only a big change in the Mariners' offensive production but a collapse unseen since that of the 1995 Angels in at least one of not two of the clubs ahead of them. Yet, we're in the home stretch with less than 40 games to play and the games are meaningful. It's fun. I mean, not so much when the Astros are beating their brains out, but generally speaking the M's have been fun to watch and follow in a way they haven't been in years.

Enjoy it. Hopefully it's a primer for the next few seasons and a coming Mariner dynasty, a run of division titles to rival the Braves' 11 consecutive division championships from the mid-’90s to the mid-’00s, by the end of which people will by clamoring all over the baseball world for someone, anyone, to beat the Mariners for god's sake. But so long as management insists on the barest minimum bench complement and keeps trotting out a lineup with several sub-.300 OBPs in it, that too seems unlikely.

So let's have fun with this. It's way better than playing out the string  trying to avoid 100 losses, right?

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