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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Mariners join Rays at six back of New York

Recapping how the Yankees’ top AL opponents fared on September 1st.

Seattle Mariners v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

The Yankees got one more buffer day yesterday from their atrocious August before having to gear up for their true beginning of September. They weren’t the only ones off, as the Astros, Rays, Blue Jays, and Twins all rested as well, but a couple notable American League teams did play.

Seattle Mariners 7 (73-58), Detroit Tigers 0 (50-81)

The Rays are obviously the Yankees’ most immediate threat since they threaten their long-held grip on the AL East crown at just six games behind with a series looming at the Trop this weekend to kick off an important month. However, one of many extremely unfortunate consequences* of the Yankees’ disastrous August is that they must now consider the possibility of dropping into the Wild Card race.

*Remember when New York was 15.5 games up? Ah, salad days.

If the Rays (or even the not-too-distant Blue Jays) find a way to overtake New York, then the Mariners’ ultimate record will impact seeding. Absolutely no one will be happy about actually playing the potential first-round Wild Card Series, but, well, this could be what it very well comes to for this collapsing team. And guess what? There are no guarantees that Yankee Stadium even sees playoff baseball because the Mariners are right there with Tampa Bay now at six games behind the Yankees after thumping Detroit yesterday, and after a few more series with contenders, boy do they have a cushy landing pad for the home stretch:

Imagine telling yourself at the All-Star break that the Yankees might stumble to the lowest Wild Card seeds (or worse). It would still take another great fall like August, but I wouldn’t blame anyone for worrying.

Anyway, all that pessimistic talk is more interesting than this actual game. (The most interesting play was ruled a dead ball.) Eduardo Rodriguez surrendered back-to-back homers to Julio Rodríguez and Ty France in the third as the Mariners stormed ahead, 6-0, by the middle of the fourth. Logan Gilbert tossed six shutout innings while striking out nine and allowing two hits; Detroit mustered only four in the afternoon shutout.

Other Contenders

  • Baltimore Orioles 3 (69-61), Cleveland Guardians 0 (68-61): Cedric Mullins homered on Shane Bieber’s first pitch of the ballgame, and while Biebs fanned 11, he also coughed up solo shots to Anthony Santander and Ryan Mountcastle. Kyle Bradish outdueled the former Cy Young Award winner with seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits. Félix Bautista closed out the win, and Baltimore inched its way up to 1.5 games behind Toronto for the last Wild Card spot.