Three keys to clinching a playoff spot, making a deep postseason push
The Mariners currently sit one and a half games up in the playoff race, but they have a tough road ahead. Let's take a look at my three keys to a successful September and a deep October push.
There’s a reason you play 162 games in the season. If you had started the playoffs in July, the Mariners would have been on the outside looking in. After a steep two-month climb, Seattle has put itself in a playoff spot.
Just 16 games remain in the 2023 campaign, but they haven’t clinched anything yet. A stretch starting with the Dodgers will finish with division rivals Houston and Texas. The Mariners hold onto a 1.5-game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays, who will spend the entire rest of the season facing divisional opponents.
Because the season is so long, it is important to be clicking at the right time. So what needs to click for Seattle to secure a playoff spot and make a deep run in the postseason? Let’s take a look.
(Reminder! All MVP subscriptions come with a Sea Level T-Shirt and an autographed card from your choice of Dom Canzone, Cade Marlowe, or Matt Brash)!
Stay hot, kid
Julio Rodriguez’s success in the second half has helped carry the Mariners to the position they find themselves in today. The 22-year-old superstar is hitting .352 with 17 home runs in the second half, to the tune of an otherworldly 189 wRC+ according to Fangraphs.
This second-half performance has catapulted Julio into the history books, becoming the 44th player in baseball history to post a 30 home run and 30 stolen base season. He has a chance to become the fourth Mariner in franchise history to win both a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger in the same season.
Superstars can be aircraft carriers for teams, and Seattle has a legitimate superstar in their 22-year-old centerfielder. This offense has been a bit anemic at times, so why not lean on the kid?
For months I have been hoping for either Eugenio Suárez or Ty France to get hot and take this offense to the next level, but at this point that probably isn’t going to happen. We certainly shouldn’t count on it, but what could certainly happen is Julio carrying this offense for two more weeks.
Seattle needs him to come up huge over these last two weeks if they want to hold on to their slim lead in the playoff race. Any sort of prolonged slump would severely hurt the team’s chances. While this isn’t fair, the team has put themselves in a tough position going down the stretch.
I have a feeling “The J-Rod Show” is up for the test.