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Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

August 23, 2007 at 8:37 PM

M’s put up 7-spot, win 9-4

Make it seven games in a row for the Mariners with at least 10 hits, pounding out 15 tonight in a 9-4 win over the Texas Rangers that was not as easy as it looked. Mariners trailed 3-1 in the sixth before rallying for the seven runs to earn the victory for Jeff Weaver. Yes, I did call him an “ace” earlier in the day. Check out his “quality starts” (another tonight), games of more than seven innings, not to mention his shutouts and complete games since about mid-June. I didn’t say he is a staff ace. Only that he’s the closest thing this team has had to one the past two months.
Here’s what I don’t understand: my private email getting flooded with complaints about Richie Sexson the night this team scores nine runs on 15 hits. I could almost understand it if the team lost 4-0 or something, but what gives? Jose Vidro hit his second home run since May 25 tonight. You should all be popping some bubbly or something. Seriously, though. I realize Sexson came up short with guys on base early in the game.
But let me ask you something: when is the best time to play a guy to try to ride him out of a slump, or out of mediocrity into what you suspect is greatness down the road? Isn’t it when the rest of the offense is so lights-out that you can afford to carry a guy who isn’t? Sexson isn’t exactly slumping. He was hitting .270 in August with an .837 on-base-plus slugging percentage going into tonight. Wound up with a hit later on in the game.
Yes, I know Ben Broussard hit a home run yesterday and has performed well as a bench player. I know Sexson was lousy the first four months of the year. But as I keep explaining, this isn’t about the four months before August. It’s about the one month after August and the team is trying to get Sexson hot again so that he can produce so much more than he is now or than Broussard could hope to. I can understand the plan. I didn’t agree with it a month ago, but if you weren’t going to do anything about it then and Sexson is now starting to come around (you can’t argue with his OPS this month) why not see what happens? You might as well if you’ve taken it this far. Especially with the team having won 18 of 25. It’s not like keeping Sexson in there is killing the team. It clearly isn’t.
I don’t know, maybe it’s me. Part of me feels like if Sexson hits three home runs tomorrow and Jose Vidro goes 0-for-5 in a 12-1 win by Seattle, we’ll have 100 comments on the site posting about why Vidro should sit. Are any of you enjoying this run? I’m no shill for the club. You folks should realize that by now. I won’t even call myself a “fan” in print because I’m not any team’s fan (Montreal Expos aside) and some of you find it funny. I understand.
But fan or not, I am impressed by what the M’s are doing. If I was a fan, I’d be going wild about the team and chastising the nasty old journalists for trying to point out flaws. Instead, it almost seems to be the other way around. As if I have to sell some of you on being happy about what’s happening with your own, contending team. If the Blue Jays hang on in Anaheim tonight, the M’s will be a game out of first place. They are two up on New York for the wild-card. There’s a time to be critical and a time to keep it all in perspective.
Everywhere I’m going, with all the interviews I do on ESPN and in other places, I’m hearing that John McLaren should be a candidate for manager of the year. Frankly, at this stage, I think he should win. Maybe be a co-winner with Mike Hargrove, but certainly be a winner. No, he isn’t perfect. But look at what he is doing with a team that most computers and stats analysts figure is a .500 club at best.
At what point does he start to get your respect or recognition. And now, I’m not telling, I’m seriously asking. Feel free to answer. I promise you, I won’t bite.

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