The Mariners have finally secured a postseason spot after two decades, but they can’t settle for just getting there.
SEATTLE — At this time of year, with the MLB playoffs just around the corner, we hear a lot of managers talking about resting their players and getting them as healthy as possible for the postseason. We see it in other sports. Teams secure their playoff spots and choose to seed their stars for the final game (or games) to keep them healthy going into the postseason.
The risk of this approach? You break the team out of their current routine. You don’t play to win; You play not to lose, and that’s dangerous. You play to avoid getting hurt, and any athlete will tell you that if you change your game and play conservatively, you are at greater risk of injury.
Mariners manager Scott Servais is trying to strike that delicate balance. Sam Haggerty — who Servais has said on numerous occasions is bringing some spark and fire to this team this season — injured his groin in the ninth inning Monday while stealing second base, leaving the Mariners a run behind the Detroit Tigers stayed behind. Haggerty has had to be helped off the field and his postseason availability is in jeopardy.
Should Servais be blamed for his decision to play aggressively on the basepaths and try to win a game that would have kept his team alive in the race for top wildcard spot?
The answer is simple. no
He is leading a team that has reached the postseason for the first time in 21 years. As the players celebrated as if they’d won the World Series on that pivotal night, Servais knew bigger goals were at stake.
You never want to have that “lucky to be here” feeling, even if you’re making the playoffs for the first time in over two decades. This is the fastest ticket for a journey home.
You need to keep an eye on the next prize, which is “winning” playoff games.
If you think pitching and defense will win in the playoffs, then the Mariners are built for a strong postseason. They have the best defensive team in the American League (AL). They have three strong starting pitchers and their bullpen is in the top five in the AL on earned run average.
Pitching and defense – check.
The Mariners’ biggest concern is the plate. Although they’ve had a few clutch hits lately, the Ms have the third-worst batting average in baseball.
They’re third in walking in the majors, so they’re much better at keeping an eye on the ball than they are at putting their racquet on the ball.
However, there are no free tickets at this time of year.
bottom line? Servais has to keep everything as routine as possible – there’s no point taking your foot off the gas.
Some rest before the playoffs can help, but too much rest and you’ll be caught napping and when you wake up your season will be over.
https://www.king5.com/article/sports/mlb/mariners/silvi-says-mariners-mlb-playoff-return/281-d02d6f7a-4d3a-4754-8ebd-bcf950ff9336 Silvi Says: Mariners can’t settle for simply making MLB playoffs