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

August 29, 2007 at 12:22 PM

Mariners vs. Angels, series finale

No surprise this afternoon to see Richie Sexson out of the lineup and Ben Broussard in. If Sexson is going to revert to where he was a month ago, then Broussard should play at least twice a week. No room for any more passengers on this bus. I know many of you are teetering on the cliff’s edge today. Tried to read as many of your posts as possible this morning. No, I don’t think Mariners manager John McLaren did a very good job last night. He’s a self-proclaimed “gambler” and lost big-time in going against some heavy-duty percentages (the bats of Vladimir Guerrero and Garret Anderson) in favor of some smaller ones (their limited numbers against Sean Green and Eric O’Flaherty). A bit like betting the house on ole’ lucky number seven. Or something like that, I’m not much of a casino guy.
Remember last night, when I wrote that it looked like the Angels were writing a chapter to a World Series season? Well, Bill Plaschke of the LA Times sort of agrees with me (registration required, but he writes good stuff so I’m including it).
You know the score by now: the Mariners have to win today or the AL West title becomes a dream consigned to the most optimistic of fan. Don’t expect a sympathy vote from me on that count. In my view, even a three-game gap heading into September is formidable.
That said, I think it’s crucial the M’s keep this streak from hitting five games and continue to stay within sight of the Angels. Not so much so they can catch them, necessarily, but so that they can maintain the winning pace needed to keep ahead of the Yankees and Tigers in the wild-card hunt. That will be much easier with a “pace car” of sorts in the Angels. It won’t be easy if Seattle doesn’t have a target ahead of them to shoot for and maximize their victories. It won’t be easy either way. And as we know, this team doesn’t do the easy things. Everything has to be the hard way. For once, let’s see if it can make life easier on itself, and it’s division and wild-card fortunes by winning today.
Is the season in-the-balance here. Quite possibly. It won’t be decided this afternoon, but this game could definitely be a playoff turning point. Things do look bleak on some fronts today, I realize. But they will be much more bleak with another loss. The schedule gets tougher from here.
By the way, the Los Angeles Dodgers claimed Esteban Loaiza off waivers from the Oakland A’s. I’m sure that will thrill those of you not overjoyed by the back-end of Seattle’s rotation.
The lineups:
LOS ANGELES (78-54)
CF Gary Matthews Jr.
SS Orlando Cabrera
RF Vladimir Guerrero
LF Garret Anderson
3B Maicer Izturis
DH Kendry Morales
1B Casey Kotchman
2B Howie Kendrick
C Jeff Mathis
RHP Jered Weaver
SEATTLE (73-57)
CF Ichiro
DH Jose Vidro
RF Jose Guillen
LF Raul Ibanez
3B Adrian Beltre
1B Ben Broussard
C Kenji Johjima
2B Jose Lopez
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
RHP Felix Hernandez

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