TOP OF THE TOWN ‑ This kind of surprised me. The Mariners played nine of the 11 other teams that made the 2022 baseball postseason and blew the lid off them except for the obvious one –Houston Astros, who I believe will win the World Series that starts Friday (October 28) in Houston with Astros hosting the upstart Philadelphia Phillies. You recall that the Mariners whipped the Toronto Blue Jays in two straight postseason games in Toronto to advance to the American League Division series against the Astros. The dreaded Astros swept the Mariners in three straight games, but it was not easy. The Mariners gave the Astros all they could handle, and then some. Houston won the first game 8-7 in the bottom of the ninth on a three-run home run by leftfielder Yordan Alvarez after trailing 7-3 going into the 8th inning. They won the next game 4-2, bolstered by a two-run home run by Alvarez in the sixth inning after trailing after five innings 2-1 and won the third game in a tiring 18-inning contest that was won by the Astros with a solo home run by rookie shortstop Jeremy Pena, So with a little luck (and perhaps walking Alvarez) the Mariners could very well have beaten the Astros and might be in the World Series for the first time in franchise history. That’s no joke. The Mariners did very well during the regular season against other teams that made the postseason. The Mariners were just 7-12 in the regular season against the Astros, but throw that out and the Mariners went 27-15 against the Tampa Bay Rays (2-5), Philadelphia  Phillies (1-2), New York Mets (2-1), Blue Jays (5-2, and 2-0 in the postseason), San Diego Padres (3-1), Yankees (4-2),  Cleveland Guardians (6-1) and Atlanta Braves (2-1). The Mariners did this remarkable record against the best baseball had to offer with a team that at times struggled through injuries to key players and were one of the worse hitting teams in baseball. But they made up for that with one of the better pitching staffs in baseball, including relievers, and a defense that was among the best in baseball. They also got good power from three guys – rookie sensation Julio Rodriguez (28 home runs) catcher Cal Raleigh (27) and Eugenio Suarez (31). First baseman Ty France added 20 homers and Carlos Santana 15 as the Mariners hit 197 homers, tied for 7th in baseball. Looking to 2023, the Mariners have a solid foundation to contend again for the post-season. They need to add some offense, probably at second base. Their rotation is pretty good with the top three being Luis Castillo, George Kirby and Gilbert Logan. Robbie Ray may fit in as the 4th starter and that leaves one spot. The bullpen will again be retooled, but there are two good arms there in Andres Munoz and Erik Swanson, along with Paul Sewald. One of the key questions surrounds what will the Mariners do with Mitch Haniger? When healthy he is very productive, but he becomes a free agent at the end of the World Series. Another question is what will happen to often injured Kyle Lewis? I think Lewis, by his attitude has made himself a target to be traded. It’s pretty obvious that Jesse Winker is gone. He had a bad year and is shaky in the outfield. Some reports have Santana also gone, although I think his clubhouse presence and his ability to fill in at first base is a positive. Plus, he has some power. Abraham Toro is also likely gone. Although he is a good bench guy. A final thought: Scott Servais should be a shoo-in for American League Manager of the year. That’s it for today. Stay safe.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved.