Though they have the longest current playoff drought of all of the major sports in America, there are reasons to be optimistic that this year the Seattle Mariners will break their decades-long dry spell.

Following their second consecutive shutout victory over the division-leading Houston Astros (1-0) at T-Mobile Park today (September 1), the Mariners clawed their way back to 3.5 games out of the second Wild Card playoff birth in the American League and just one game behind the Oakland A's for second place in the A.L. West.

With 28 games remaining in the regular season, can the M's catch lightning in a bottle and return to October baseball for the first time in nearly a generation?

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Here are 5 reasons why the Mariners can make the playoffs in 2021

5.) It has been 20 years -- surely the odds eventually have to catch up, right?
Not since winning a record 116 games in 2001 have the Mariners made the playoffs. It can't last forever. Why not this year to break the streak?

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4.) The Mariners are too young to know any better.
In a "rebuilding" season, even the most hopefully optimistic Mariners fan would not have expected them to even be a winning club much less have a shot at the postseason when the calendar turned to September. Like the 1995 team that "Refused to Lose", the 2021 M's have so many youngsters on the squad that they just might not realize that they really aren't supposed to be in this position -- yet.

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3.) They have a fairly favorable schedule remaining.
Seattle has 9 games against the likes of the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks and Kansas City Royals. Along with head-to-head match-ups against the A's, Astros and Red Sox -- all teams ahead of them vying for the playoffs -- the M's can control their own destiny.

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2.) They have a hot closer in the form of Paul Sewald.
Like hockey teams that ride a hot goalie to the Stanley Cup, baseball teams need a hot closer to finish crucial games down the stretch. The Mariners have that with the unlikely Paul Sewald. Since trading Kendall Graveman to the Astros, Sewald has stepped into the role and thrived. The 2021 Mariners slogan is "SEA Us Rise" but I submit that it should be "SEA Us Wald"!

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1.) Because I said so!
Fans like to think that they can will their teams to success if they cheer loud enough, wear the clothing, hope hard enough, etc. If that is, indeed, the case, then I have 44 years of pent-up frustration to propel them to the playoffs again! Go Mariners!

TSM/Todd Lyons

LOOK: 50 images of winning moments from sports history

Sometimes images are the best way to honor the figures we've lost. When tragedy swiftly reminds us that sports are far from the most consequential thing in life, we can still look back on an athlete's winning moment that felt larger than life, remaining grateful for their sacrifice on the court and bringing joy to millions.

Read on to explore the full collection of 50 images Stacker compiled showcasing various iconic winning moments in sports history. Covering achievements from a multitude of sports, these images represent stunning personal achievements, team championships, and athletic perseverance.

15 Athletes Who Came from Eastern Washington & Eastern Oregon

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