The MLB Postseason field is becoming clearer by the day, with one team clinching a spot and another reducing their magic number to just one. Plus, the Mets are pulling out all the stops ahead of their massive series with the Braves in Atlanta this weekend.
Mariners Walk-Off Brings Magic Number to 1
The Seattle Mariners’ magic number to clinch a Postseason berth is down to one after a wild walk-off victory against the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.
Mitch Haniger got the Mariners on the board early with a two-run blast in the first inning against Rangers’ starter Jon Gray. Seattle’s early lead wouldn’t last long as the Rangers scored four runs in the third inning. Haniger again tied things up with another two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning, and Jared Kelenic gave Seattle a three-run lead with a bomb in the sixth, but the Rangers weren’t done yet.
Texas scored three runs in the seventh and eighth innings to even things up at seven-a-piece and took the lead in the tenth inning on a Kole Calhoun RBI single. Cal Raleigh tied the game in the bottom of the tenth on a sac fly, but the drama continued.
After Marcus Semien put the Rangers ahead 8-7 in the eleventh inning, Luis Torrens tied the score once again in the home half of the eleventh. That’s when J.P. Crawford called game:
The Mariners’ victory puts them on the verge of snapping a 21-year playoff drought. Seattle enters play today in possession of the second Wild Card spot in the American League, two games behind the Toronto Blue Jays (who clinched their Postseason berth on Thursday) for the top spot, which would give them home field advantage in the opening round best-of-three.
The Mariners will need to take care of business in their weekend tilt with the Oakland A’s and get help from the Red Sox if they hope to overtake Toronto with just a week remaining in the regular season.
Blue Jays Clinch Wild Card Spot
The Toronto Blue Jays are heading back to the Postseason after a one-year absence. An Orioles’ 5-3 loss to the Red Sox punched Toronto’s ticket, and the Blue Jays didn’t even have to play to make it happen. The Blue Jays had an off day on Thursday.
Still, Toronto’s work isn’t exactly done. They entered the day leading the American League Wild Card by 1.5 games over the Tampa Bay Rays, and they’ll want that top spot because it comes with home field advantage in the first round of the Postseason. The No. 2 and 3 seeds will have to travel, with the entire best-of-three series taking place at the home team’s ballpark,
Toronto is back in action on Friday, with Alek Manoah facing the Red Sox at Rogers Centre.
Mets Calling Up Top Prospect
The New York Mets are pulling out all the stops for this weekend’s series with the Atlanta Braves, which may very well decide the NL East champion, including calling up their top prospect.
Daniel Alvarez and Mark Feinsand reported on Thursday that New York has promoted catcher Francisco Alvarez, MLB Pipeline’s No. 1 overall prospect.
Alvarez is eligible for the Mets’ Postseason roster and depending on how his brief audition goes over the next week, he’s a candidate to beat out Darrin Ruff and Mark Vientos to assume the DH role against left-handed starters, a problem area for the Mets this season.
Alvarez hit .315 with a .424 on-base percentage and 1.019 OPS in 132 plate appearances against left-handers in the minors this season. After missing three weeks an ankle injury at Triple-A, Alvarez is hitting .362 with a .483 on-base percentage and three home runs in his last 13 games.
The Mets lead the Braves by one game heading into the biggest series of the season in Atlanta.
Mets beat writer Will Sammon wrote a cool story on Alvarez back in July when he participated in the Futures Game:
David O’Brien and Tim Britton collaborated on a story over at The Athletic regarding this weekend’s Mets-Braves series, and why it’s the biggest meeting between the two teams since 1999:
Odds and Ends
- Baltimore Orioles rookie Adley Rutschman passed Cal Ripken Jr. on the Orioles’ rookie leaderboard for doubles in a single season on Thursday with this first-inning double off the Green Monster at Fenway Park, his 33rd double of the season.
- Javy Baez is a character …
- I was told that the White Sox shouldn’t extend the qualifying offer to Carlos Rodon because he was damaged goods and wouldn’t be able to hold up for a full season … I was lied to:
- The Philadelphia Phillies lost to the Cubs again on Thursday and have now lost seven of their last 10 games and are clinging to the final Wild Card spot by just a half-game with seven to play. Matt Gelb writes about the Phillies being on the verge of their worst late-season collapse since 1964:
- Peter Gammons dives into the Astros’ development of their starting rotation, one of the best in baseball this season:
- Yadier Molina will manage Team Puerto Rico in the 2023 World Baseball Classic:
- Shohei Ohtani nearly threw a no-hitter last night:
- Every home run from Thursday: