Minnesota, currently holding the second wild-card spot, has lost five of its past six. The Mariners have responded by losing five consecutive games to remain four games back and fall to 74-78.
Mathematical elimination from the postseason doesn’t usually make a sound. But the logical/symbolic elimination of the Mariners from yet another postseason was the shotgun-like crack of Rougned Odor’s bat squaring up a baseball — a sound that echoed throughout a largely empty Safeco Field on Wednesday night.
The groan from the 15,962 spectators in attendance that followed as Odor’s towering fly ball cleared the wall in right-center for a grand slam was part frustration and acceptance that the remaining hope of a spot in the wild card was done, even though the Mariners were still technically alive.
A seven-run fourth inning, punctuated by Odor’s second career grand slam, made an eventual 8-6 defeat against the Rangers inescapable for the Mariners, and an October spent watching others play meaningful games an inevitable reality.
Perhaps more galling was the Minnesota Twins, the team holding the second wild-card spot, lost earlier in the day. The Mariners knew it when they took the field. And yet, it didn’t prevent them from that sloppy, game-changing frame.
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“The fourth inning was where it unraveled,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “We had the walks, made a couple errors in that inning and then the big mistake pitch to Odor that dug us a really big hole.”
Over the past six days, the Twins have invited the Mariners, Rangers and Angels to steal their projected spot in the wild-card game. Minnesota has lost five of its past six, including being swept at Yankee Stadium the past three games. The Mariners have responded by losing five consecutive games to remain four games back and fall to 74-78.
“They hurt,” Servais said of the defeats. “There’s no question about it. I think everybody feels it in our clubhouse. We’ve got to play better baseball. You aren’t going to the playoffs if you continue to make errors, don’t execute in crucial situations or make pitches. That’s just where we are at. That’s the reality of it.”
Four games back, 10 games left to play — with three against the Indians looming — math says there’s a chance, sort of like playing the lottery. Sense says there isn’t and the longest postseason drought in…