86-74, Eliminated from AL WEST, 1.0 GB in AL WILD CARD! ----
1 GAME BACK with 2 TO GO! Talk about drama, Mariners nation. It's what we are all going through right now as these Mariners have a chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 2001. The Mariners took care of business on Friday in Seattle took stay alive alive in this race. Robinson Canó is certainly Post-Season hungry as he had himself a NIGHT at the plate and on defense for Seattle in this one. Nelson Cruz and Norichika Aoki also brought the bats in this one to help Seattle secure the W. RHP Taijuan Walker took the ball for his last scheduled start of the season in this one, and had himself a fine outing, locating that fast ball of his very well. The Blue Jays were also defeated by the Boston Red Sox on Friday night, which now means that the Mariners are 1 game back in the race. With a Seattle win on Saturday night and a Toronto loss, the worse that can come out of anything is a play-in game for the Mariners to get into the playoffs. Now that sounds special. Let's go get it. With this win on Friday night, the Mariners have now jumped to a season high of 12 games over .500 at 86-74 with 2 games to play. These next couple of days should be very, very interesting.
Offensively on Friday night at the Safe, the Mariners combined to put up 5 runs on 7 hits off of Athletics' pitching. LF Norichika Aoki (.282 AVG) continues to rake in that lead-off spot as he went 2-for-3 on the night with an RBI and 2 runs scored. Nori smacked his 4th home run of the season, a solo blast in the second inning to extend an already Mariners' lead! Aoki also singled in the ball game. He now has 27 RBI on the season so far. DH Nelson Cruz (.288 AVG) continues to shine in that DH spot as he also had a solid night. Cruz went 2-for-4 at the dish with an RBI and a run scored. Cruz SMASHED his 42nd home run of the year in the third inning of the ball game, a solo homer to center. Cruz also singled in the ball game. Nelly now has 103 RBI on the season so far, which leads the ball club. 2B Robinson Canó (.298 AVG) is no doubt my pick for Mariners Player of this Game as he went 2-for-4 at the plate with 2 runs scored and 3 RBI! Robbie connected for 2 home runs in the ball game, a 2-run shot in the first inning and a solo blast in the third inning. Now that is a Canó show. Robbie continues to jump over his previous career high in home runs, as he now has 38 on the season for Seattle so far. The 3-RBI night gave Canó his 100th RBI of the season!
On the mound on Friday night in the great Pacific Northwest, RHP Taijuan Walker took the ball for what was his 25th and scheduled to be his last start of the 2016 season. Walker finished on a good note going 6.0 innings giving up 1 run on 2 hits (run earned) while walking 5 and striking out 3 A's on the night. The only problem for Walker was his command, as he wasn't able to locate pitches other than his fastball very well. Walker earned the win from the solid outing, so it looks as if he will end the 2016 season with an individual W-L record of 8-11 with an ERA of 4.22 in just under 135 innings pitched for a grand total. In relief, RHP Evan Scribner (0.00 ERA) continues to pitch well as he went 1.0 inning on Friday night with 1 strikeout. RHP Nick Vincent (3.64 ERA) tossed a blank frame in 1.0 inning of work. RHP Steve Cishek (2.84 ERA) then finished up the game in the ninth inning, going the entirety of that inning tossing a blank frame to secure the Mariners' win!
WHAT'S NEXT? :
A HUGE GAME. If Toronto wins, and we lose, we are done. We cannot let that happen, obviously. Looking to get this one off to a good start will be RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (16-12, 3.98 ERA) making his 33rd start of the season, and his last in this one. Iwakuma's 33 starts are the most by any Mariners' pitcher this year. Iwakuma and the M's are set and ready to take on rookie OAK RHP Jharel Cotton (2-0, 2.09 ERA)! Be sure to catch all of the action on ROOT Sports NW for watching or listen in on 710 ESPN Seattle radio! First pitch start time is scheduled for 6:10 PM PAC, 9:10 PM ET!
This is Tom Hayden signing off saying Go Mariners! Stay #TrueToTheBlue as our M's #KeepFighting for the PostSEAson.