SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners are approaching the most critical point in their season, with their final 10 games set to decide their playoff fate.
As of Thursday, Sept. 21, the Mariners are tied with the Texas Rangers for second in the American League West division, trailing the Houston Astros by just half a game. And over their final 10 games, their only opponents? The Rangers and Astros.
The Mariners will first travel to Texas to play a three-game series against the Rangers on Friday, before returning home for three games against the Astros starting on Monday, and then closing out with a four-game set (also at home) against the Rangers.
An added wrinkle: If the Mariners lose too many of those games, they could find themselves out of the playoff picture entirely, given that the Tampa Bay Rays have an eight-and-a-half game stranglehold on the first of three wildcard spots. The Blue Jays hold the second spot, and the Mariners are tied with Texas for the third and final position.
The Mariners will need to win at least half of their remaining games in order to have a chance of pulling it all off. According to Playoff Status -- which calculates odds for all playoff contenders -- Seattle has a 73% chance of making the postseason if they win five of their final 10 games. Those odds tick up to 99% if they win six of 10. In the latter case, that would also give them a 56% chance of taking the division crown.
If they win seven of 10, they’re a mathematical lock for the postseason as a wildcard team, with a 93% chance of winning the AL West. Winning at least nine of 10 gives them a 100% chance of ending the season as division champs.
Their chances dwindle dramatically if they win four of 10, with 25% odds of sneaking in as a wildcard team. If they can only muster two wins to close out the season, their odds sink to 1%.
That said, the Mariners, Rangers, and Astros have all scuffled in September. Both Seattle and Houston have an 8-10 record for the month, while Texas hasn’t fared much better at 9-10.
This all kicks off Friday, when rookie phenom Bryce Miller takes the hill against Rangers righty Dane Dunning.
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