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Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

June 15, 2011 at 9:44 AM

Cleveland makeups give Mariners arduous travel schedule

(A lone fan sits through the May 14 rain delay at Progressive Field in Cleveland. The Mariners-Indians game was eventually rained out, as was the next day’s. Photo by Associated Press).

Word came down today about the makeup dates for the two games rained out in Cleveland on May 14 and May 15, and it’s going to set up a travel hardship for the Mariners in September.

It’s not quite as bad as 2007, when the Mariners had to keep returning to Cleveland to make up a four-game snowout, but it will be a nuisance.

The first of the washed-out games will be made up on Tuesday, Aug. 23, the middle day of a regularly scheduled three-game series in Cleveland. The postponed game will be played at 1:05 p.m. (Cleveland time) as part of a split day/night doubleheader, followed by the regularly scheduled game at 7:05 p.m.

The May 15 postponed game is the tricky one. It will be played on Monday, Sept. 19 at 4:05 p.m., Cleveland time. That date was a mutual day off for both teams. But now the Mariners will be playing at Safeco Field on Sunday, Sept. 18 in the final game of a three-game series with Texas. They will fly to Cleveland, play that game on Monday, then fly to Minnesota to begin a three-game series with the Twins on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

Three days, three games, three cities (with another flight to Texas scheduled three days later): Not a great formula for a team that is hoping to be in contention down the stretch. And that is truly the stretch drive — after the makeup game with Cleveland, the Mariners will have just nine games remaining: the three-game Minnesota series, three at Texas and three at home vs. Oakland. With the makeup on Sept. 19, the Mariners will play their final 13 games without a day off. Their last scheduled day off will be Sept. 15 in the middle of a homestand.

Mariners traveling secretary Ron Spellecy says that the M’s will leave for Cleveland after Sunday’s game. Don’t forget — they’ll have September callups to transport as well. Spellecy said the M’s requested a 4 p.m. start in Cleveland on Sept. 19 rather than the normal 7 p.m., in order to ensure they don’t arrive in Minnesota in the wee hours.

“With the start being 4 p.m., we should be fine,” Spellecy said in an e-mail. “Had the game been at 7 p.m. it would have been more difficult.”

Ichiro could not be reached for comment, but when I asked him, after a game in San Diego, about going to Cleveland for a makeup game in 2007, he uttered one of his all-time great quotes: “To tell the truth, I’m not excited to go to Cleveland, but we have to. If I ever saw myself saying I’m excited going to Cleveland, I’d punch myself in the face, because I’m lying.”

I’m guessing that sentiment still applies.

The hardship is not nearly so great for the Indians, who were going to start a homestand on Tuesday, Sept. 20., anyway. They will play at Minnesota on Sept. 18, fly home, play the Mariners on Monday, then stay home to face the White Sox on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

Root Sports and and the Mariners radio network will carry both makeup games.

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