The Seattle Mariners have one last game to get through before making their first playoff appearance since 2001, hosting the Detroit Tigers in the regular-season finale on Wednesday afternoon.
Seattle clinched the fifth seed in the American League on Tuesday and will open the best-of-three wild-card round at the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday.
Seattle had owned the longest postseason drought among the four major sports in North America before clinching a playoff spot on Friday night.
The Mariners (89-72) have come a long way since falling 10 games under .500 on June 19. They closed the first half on a 14-game winning streak and stayed in the playoff hunt by going 38-30 since the All-Star break.
Things haven’t been completely rosy down the stretch, however.
Seattle’s Sam Haggerty was placed on the 10-day injured list on Tuesday after suffering a groin strain in a 4-3 loss to the Tigers on Monday night. He was injured while stealing second base in the bottom of the ninth.
Haggerty is hitting .256 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in 83 games this season. He hit .321 in August but just .125 in September with one home run and five RBIs.
Haggerty has platooned in left field with Jesse Winker this season, but Haggerty has proved to be a better defender.
“So unfortunate because Swaggy’s had such a big impact in what he does and helping our team,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “Coming off the bench or playing in left field, he’s had a really good year, so it hurts. It really does hurt that he’s not going to be available and be on the roster going forward here.”
The Mariners received a couple of more scares in their doubleheader sweep of the Tigers on Tuesday.
Jarred Kelenic was hit in the ribs in the first game, and the outfielder stayed down for a few minutes before staying in the game.
Dylan Moore, a valuable utility player for Seattle, was hit in the hand by a pitch in the second game and was later lifted for a pinch hitter.
Seattle plans to send left-hander Marco Gonzales (10-15, 4.14 ERA) to the mound on Wednesday, while left-hander Tyler Alexander (4-11, 4.72 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Tigers (66-95).
Alexander allowed three runs on five hits in five innings in his most recent outing, a 7-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Friday in an outcome that ended Detroit’s six-game winning streak. Alexander struck out six and walked four.
“I thought I had really good stuff but poor command at times,” he said afterward. “It was weird. I’d lose it on one batter and then lock it back in. When I’d lose it, I’d lose it. I would randomly throw four uncompetitive balls. The walks weren’t even close.”
Alexander faced Seattle on Aug. 31 and allowed two runs and four hits in 4 2/3 innings but did not get the decision in the Tigers’ 5-3 loss.
Alexander is 0-1 in four appearances (three starts) against the Mariners in his career, with a 5.68 ERA.
Gonzales is 2-3 lifetime in six appearances (all starts) against the Tigers, with a 3.89 ERA.
–Field Level Media