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Seattle Mariners Clinch First Postseason Berth Since 2001

(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

Seattle Mariners Clinch First Postseason Berth Since 2001

The Seattle Mariners are finally back in the MLB postseason.

After one of the longest playoff droughts in American sports history, Seattle’s extended postseason absence is over. With Friday night’s outcome against the Oakland Athletics, the Mariners closed the door on 21 years of no October baseball, clinching a wild-card spot in the American League. Seattle walked it off against the Athletics, with catcher Cal Raleigh, as a pinch hitter, hitting a game-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth. After all the pain Seattle fans have experienced in the past two decades, their chance to finally celebrate has finally come to fruition. 

The Mariners have been a no-show in the playoffs since the magical 2001 campaign. In 2001, Seattle claimed the best record in baseball with 116 wins. That record of 116 wins still is tied for the most in MLB history along with the 1906 Chicago Cubs. However, with the 2001 team losing in the ALCS, the Mariners have never won a World Series Championship. However, with them being back in October, this roster has the opportunity to end two droughts in one year.

When asked about the possibility of clinching a spot in the postseason after last night’s game, multiple players spoke about how much they’ve been dreaming of the opportunity.

“I’ve been waiting for four years for this,” J.P. Crawford told MLB.com. “I can’t wait.”

Outfielder Mitch Haniger expressed his thoughts by stating, “I’ve visualized and dreamed about this for a while.”

Last season, Seattle was eliminated on the last possible day of the 2021 MLB season. During the offseason, general manager Jerry Dipoto made a series of moves to make sure they could finally become a playoff team. The biggest move Dipoto made over the offseason was signing the reigning AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray to a five-year, $115 million deal. Seattle also acquired outfielder Jesse Winker, and infielders Eugenio Suarez and Adam Frazier via trade. Along with the acquisitions Seattle made, they locked up shortstop J.P. Crawford and pitcher Andres Munoz to contract extensions. 

With all the offseason moves, one of the biggest additions to the Seattle Mariners’ roster was top-prospect Julio Rodriguez. The American League Rookie of the Year frontrunner has exceeded expectations in his first MLB season. Rodriguez, who is currently on the 10-day IL, leads the team in almost every offensive category. Rodriguez has 27 home runs on the season with a batting average of .280 and an OPS of .844 during his rookie season. However, Rodriguez isn’t the only big storyline of the season.

The pitching staff in Seattle is one of the most underrated in all of MLB. With trading for All-Star Luis Castillo, the Mariners have the pitching to make a postseason run. Castillo, Ray, George Kirby, and Chris Flexen all have been reliable starters this season. Relief pitchers Erik Swanson, Penn Murfee, Paul Sewald, and Munoz could play a crucial role in the success Seattle could have during the playoffs.

With Seattle finally penciled in for the playoffs, nothing is official on who they’ll face in the first round. As of now, Seattle would start on the road and go across the border to face the first-place wild card team the Toronto Blue Jays. It has been a long time coming for the city of Seattle to experience postseason baseball once again. Now, they can celebrate their first postseason appearance in 21 years in walk-off fashion. 

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