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

September 29, 2007 at 7:13 PM

Mariners vs. Rangers, game 2

Pretty funny stuff by “Adam” in the comments thread. You should all have a read. Mariners have a 2-1 lead after five…
So, let’s look at the possible AL series coming up. Right now, the Angels will open in Boston and the Yankees will travel to Cleveland.
Kelvim Escobar won his 18th today against Oakland and heads to the post-season 18-7 with a 3.40 ERA. More importantly, he’s 1-0 with a 1.32 ERA and a .197 batting average against in his last three outings at Fenway Park between 2004 and 2006. No outings there this year, his best in the majors. I like him going in Game 2.
That means, if John Lackey can win the opener, the Angels could come home with a 2-0 lead and needing to win one of three games to clinch. That’s a big “if” though, since Lackey is 0-2 with an 8.38 ERA at Fenway this season. But even a split looks good for the Angels, since they were 54-27 at home this year compared to only .500 on the road after today’s games.
I just can’t see the Red Sox taking this series. Unless, of course, Escobar’s arm troubles flare up again. Angels need at least one win in Boston. They should get that.
In the other series, I like the Indians for reasons that deal mostly with starting pitching and homefield advantage. New York has the more playoff-seasoned starters, but the Indians have the better arms in 2007. Not to mention a huge homefield advantage, where they are 51-29 at Jacobs Field with a 107 OPS + (7 percent above average) compared to a 93 OPS+ (7 percent below average) on the road. With CC. Sabathia going in the opener, the Indians should win. After that, we’ll see how Fausto Carmona holds up in his first playoff game.
I don’t think the Yankees are going to roll over and die, though. They were the hottest team in baseball in the second half and will be tough to beat at Yankee Stadium — where their 29 losses equal Cleveland’s mark at home. New York’s chances this series will depend on Alex Rodriguez finally shedding his tag as a playoff loser. I think A-Rod will do better than people think. He’s got a 1.490 OPS with six homers against Indians pitching this year — including a 7-for-17 (.412)mark off Sabathia.
So, even if the Yanks lose the opener, we could see A-Rod get off to a fast start, which would bode well for his club going forward.
This is actually a fairly even series all-around, though the bullpens could be the turning point. We’ll see how Joba Chamberlain performs for the Yankees in the eighth, if needed, in his first post-season taste and the true wild-card could be Cleveland closer Joe Borowski. He is singlehandedly discrediting the “save” stat this season and will have to pitch better than he has in tight ballgames. Any pitcher can notch a save when given a three-run lead. It’s the one-run games that truly matter.
Bottom line? It will be close, but Cleveland takes it in the decisive game at home.
Looks like Miguel Batista regained his usual form in the second inning, throwing 25 pitches and yielding an RBI double to Nelson Cruz. That made it 1-0 for Texas heading to the bottom of the second. But a double-play grounder by Kenji Johjima tied it in that half after Jose Guillen and Jeff Clement started things off with singles to put runners at the corners.
Some of you have asked me how I see the playoffs going. Well, now, “Cubby” and all the rest of you, I should say right off the bat that Ii’m sticking with the Angels to win the World Series. I picked them to win back in spring training and see no reason why it shouldn’t happen.
Well, that’s not true. Here’s two reasons it might not happen.
Scot Shields
Kelvim Escobar
Shields has to get back to being one of the game’s dominant set-up men and not the guy we saw in the second half. I wrote earlier this season that the pickup of Justin Speier was key for the Angels because he might wind up being the guy who can get the ball to Francisco Rodriguez.
Escobar has not been the same in September and saw his Cy Young chances go out the window after soreness flared up in his shoulder. With apologies to John Lackey, Escobar has the best stuff on that staff. The two of them are a huge one-two punch in any short series. But if Escobar is not throwing up to par, it becomes more interesting. Jered Weaver is a good pitcher, but not on the same level as those other two. He’s the type of guy who might last five innings in a playoff game because he’s prone to wildness and some big innings. Everything gets magnified in the post-season. Going six innings is a challenge.
Back soon with a look at series matchups.
Second to last game of the season has just started. I’m sitting here in the pressbox looking at at TV monitor with the Washington Huskies game on it. Hardest thing to do in football, I think, is to play with a slight lead when you are the overwhelming underdog. It’s almost like you wake up out of a daydream and go “Oh wow, we aren’t supposed to be doing this.”
Washington played much better before it opened the scoring.
Anyhow, enough of that. Miguel Batista just got out of the first inning on nine pitches. That’s the fewest he’s thrown in a first inning all year. Scoreless after one frame.
For all of you Adam Jones fans out there, John McLaren says he’s going to start him tomorrow.
TEXAS (75-85)
2B Ian Kinsler
C Gerald Laird
CF David Murphy
DH Sammy Sosa
LF Jason Botts
1B Brad Wilkerson
RF Nelson Cruz
3B Travis Metcalf
SS Ramon Vazquez
RHP Kevin Millwood
SEATTLE (86-74)
CF Ichiro
3B Adrian Beltre
LF Raul Ibanez
RF Jose Guillen
DH Jeff Clement
C Kenji Johjima
1B Mike Morse
2B Jose Lopez
SS Willie Bloomquist
RHP Miguel Batista
HP Jerry Layne
1B Bill Miller
2B Marvin Hudson
3B Ed Montague (crew chief)



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