Mariners Leading AL Wild Card Chase On 10-Year Anniversary Of Perfect Game By Felix Hernandez

On July 1, a headline of the Seattle Mariners leading the American League wild card chase was unimaginable. Six weeks later, the Mariners enter a special day in baseball history with the most wins of the AL wild card challengers.

On Aug. 15, 2012, former Mariners ace Felix Hernandez threw a perfect game in a 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. It was the 23rd perfect game in MLB history, and no pitcher has thrown a perfect game since. Ironically, exactly 10 years later, Rays pitcher Drew Rasmussen took a perfect game into the 9th inning yesterday before allowing a hit to the leadoff hitter as the Rays beat the Orioles, 4-1.

As the New York Yankees (72-43) and Houston Astros (75-41) lead their respective divisions by at least 10 games each, the Mariners (62-54), Toronto Blue Jays (61-52) and Tampa Bay Rays (60-53) are the leaders in the AL wild card chase.

The big turnaround season by the Baltimore Orioles (59-55) has the birds still flying towards the playoffs, and the Orioles are by far the most profitable team in baseball in moneyline betting this season. The Minnesota Twins (58-55) and Chicago White Sox (59-56) are 2-games behind the Rays for the third and final AL wild card spot and chasing the AL Central-leading Cleveland Guardians (61-53) for the division title.

Odds to Win World Series

The Mariners odds to win the World Series are currently +4000, or 40/1 on FanDuel Sportsbook, and +1500 to win the American League pennant. The Mariners have 46 games remaining in the regular season, and sit in second place in the AL West 13 games behind the Houston Astros. Could the Mariners catch the Astros to win the division? Very unlikely without another 10-12 game winning streak. Consider the Mariners odds are currently +7500 to win the division while Houston is a mammoth -30000.

At the start of July, the Mariners were +12000 to win the World Series with a record of 37-42. Seattle had just completed a stretch of winning 8-of-11 games. But starting July 2nd, the Mariners rattled off 13 straight wins to get into the wild card chase. Seattle has played .500 baseball since, but are in position to make the playoffs.

Mariners Stats and Schedule

On Friday night, Scott Servais earned his 500th win as Mariners manager – second most in franchise history. The Mariners reached 10 games above .500 that night for the first time this season before losing Saturday and Sunday.

Seattle made a major splash ahead of the Trade Deadline when they acquired the Reds ace Luis Castillo, and gave up three of the organizations top-5 prospects in return. Castillo joins 2021 AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray to bolster the Mariners starting pitching in a season where their bullpen has been the teams biggest strength.

On Aug. 9, Castillo tossed 8 shutout innings of 3-hit ball to beat the Yankees, 1-0. The next day, Robbie Ray held the slumping Yankees to 2 runs and 3 hits over 6.1 innings of a 4-3 Mariners win.

Since June 21, the Mariners bullpen is 15-4 with 19 saves and a 2.37 ERA over 163.2 innings pitched. The relivers have allowed 57 walks and 178 strikeouts in 48 games over that stretch as Seattle has risen to AL wild card contender playing nearly .700 baseball going 33-15 with a pair of losses to complete the recent weekend. The bullpen ERA over those 48 games is the best in baseball, along with a .184 batting average against.

Reliever Eric Swanson leads the league with a 1.00 ERA over 36 innings. He’s allowed just 4 runs and 25 hits with 48 strikeouts and 7 walks.

The Mariners are 50-13 (.794) this season when scoring at least 4 runs. After leading the Majors in 1-run wins last season (33), the Mariners also top MLB again this season with 27 while going 27-14 in 1-run games.

Another Mariner with league-leading stats is rookie Julio Rodriguez. He went 0-for-5 Sunday to drop his average to .270, but Rodriguez is the clear frontrunner for AL Rookie of the Year with current odds of -600. As Seattle was starting their 12-game winning streak to start July, Rodriguez was the -220 favorite to win Rookie of the Year.

Among all Major League rookies this season, the 21-year-old center fielder ranks 3rd in hits (102), 3rd in runs (56), 1st in home runs (18), 1st in RBI (59), 2nd in stolen bases (21), 1st in total bases (179), T1st in extra-base hits (39), 1st in fWAR (3.2) and 1st in wRC+ (135), per MLB stats.

The Mariners have played the most difficult schedule in the Majors thus far, according to Baseball-Reference’s Strength of Schedule (S.O.S.) metric.

But looking ahead, the Mariners play one of the easiest schedules the rest of the way. Seattle has seven straight road games starting today against AL West losing teams LA Angels and Oakland A’s. Luis Castillo pitches against Angles star Shohei Ohtani on Monday. Then it’s the Washington Nationals at home for two games and the Cleveland Indians for four before closing the month at Detroit against the Tigers.

September starts with 11 games against winning teams, but the second half of the month with a playoff position on the line features 20 straight games against losing teams including 10 straight to close the regular season.

On the 10-year anniversary to celebrate Felix Hernandez’ no-hitter and perfect game, we’re also reminded that the Seattle Mariners are the only major league team to have never played in the World Series.

But the Mariners are in position to snap a 20-year playoff drought. Seattle has only made the playoffs four times in their 45 seasons, and last made the post season in 2001. That year, Seattle tied a MLB record with 116 regular season wins. But the Mariners lost to the Yankees in the AL Championship Series.

The MLB predictions at FiveThirtyEight have the Mariners finishing with 88 wins and give Seattle a 79% chance to make the playoffs.

The 20-year playoff drought is coming to an end for the Seattle Mariners.

You can bet on it.

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