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What is the Mariners’ magic number to clinch playoff spot?

We’re tracking how Seattle is doing in terms of wrapping up a playoff berth.

J.P. Crawford of the Seattle Mariners celebrates his walk-off double against the Texas Rangers to win 3-2 at T-Mobile Park on September 28, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

9/30 update: Seattle certainly refuses to go quietly. After J.P. Crawford’s heroics brought them a walk-off win on Thursday, the Mariners’ bats made sure Friday’s affair was far less stressful, tagging Nathan Eovaldi for three runs in the fourth and five runs in the fifth en route to an 8-0 win. What does it mean for their path to the postseason? The M’s can pull even with Texas in the AL West by winning the next two games, although because the Rangers have already clinched the season series (and head-to-head tiebreaker) even that wouldn’t be enough — Seattle would also need the Astros to split their final two games against the D-backs, forcing a three-way tie atop the division that the Mariners would win thanks to a superior intradivision record.

(As for a Wild Card spot, Seattle also doesn’t control its own destiny there — even if they win their next two games, they’d still need Houston to drop one of its last two, in which case they’d snag the sixth spot over the Astros thanks to winning the season series.)

Hard as it is to believe, we’ve officially reached the final weekend of the 2023 MLB regular season. Five of the league’s six divisional races have been decided, but there’s still plenty to be settled over the next few days — including the AL Wild Card and AL West races, both of which involve the Seattle Mariners. Seattle was swept by Texas last weekend and lost two of three to the Astros earlier this week, but they kept their playoff hopes alive with a dramatic walk-off win over the Rangers on Thursday night. Let’s take a look at where Seattle stands with a three days left in the season and how they can wrap up a postseason berth.

Mariners playoff scenarios

Here’s where Seattle stands: The M’s are a game back of Houston for the final AL Wild Card spot, and three games back of the Rangers in the West, creating two possible paths to October.

The divisional path is a real long shot: Seattle can only win the West if they not only sweep Texas this weekend, but if Houston also wins exactly two of three in Arizona to force a three-way tie. The Mariners would lose a head-to-head tiebreaker to the Rangers, even after three wins this weekend, but they would win a three-way tiebreaker in this scenario thanks to the superior combined record over the other two teams.

The Wild Card, however, is more attainable — largely because Seattle won the season series over Houston this year. That means they just need to pick up a game on the Astros this weekend, one way or another. Houston has three games against a D-backs team also playing for its postseason life.

AL West standings

1. Texas Rangers (89-71)
2. Houston Astros (88-72), 1.0 GB
3. Seattle Mariners (87-73), 2.0 GB

AL Wild Card standings

1. Tampa Bay Rays (97-62)
2. Toronto Blue Jays (88-71)
3. Houston Astros (87-72)

4. Seattle Mariners (86-73), 1.0 GB