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

May 5, 2008 at 5:46 PM

McLaren’s mindset

Tonight’s lineup has only a minor tweak, with Jeff Clement hitting sixth at DH and Yunieksy Betancourt seventh at shortstop. That’s a reversal from Sunday in New York.
I thought I’d present some of John McLaren’s comments during his pre-game media session. He was peppered with questions about the mindset of the team and the predicament the Mariners have gotten themselves into. No bombshells, but it might give some insight into his state of mind.
Here goes:
“It’s good to be home. Needless to say, we need to start winning some ball games. There couldn’t be a better time than right here at home. We’re ready to go.
On Clement and Wladimir Balentien’s early struggles: “They came in at such a time we weren’t hitting as a team. When you go into Yankee Stadium, it’s pretty hostile. I thought they held up all right, truthfully. They’re going to be fine. We took a little extra batting practice with them today, just trying to get them settled down a little bit.”
On the team-wide offensive struggles: “We just ran into a streak where nothing was falling…Guys do get down on themselves a little bit. It’s our job as a staff to keep them moving, keep them positive. We’ve dug ourselves a hole here. Let’s be honest about it. We’ve got to get ourselves out of it. We’ve got to get going again, start feeling good about ourrselves again, swinging the bats, swinging at good pitches, and doing the things we’re capable of doing. We’re trying to do too much, not working the count, little things like that, and it shows up. That’s how you lose ball games.
“Jeff Pentland talks about this everyday in the cage, doing drills. When you’re not hitting collectively, you try to do too much. You start swinging wildly, you get frustrated, you’ve got this anger inside of you. All teams go thorugh some bad streaks. Hopefully we’ve gone through ours, and we can get it over with and start playing winning baseball.
“We had a good spring training, felt good about ourselves coming out of spring. We were doing fine, then we had some things go wrong. Since then, we stopped hitting, and everything is magnified now.
“We’re not panicking by any means, but there’s an urgency. We need to start winning. There’s a point we have to start going the other direction. We have to put some slashes in the left-hand column and get some wins, get on a roll the other way. We’re kind of treading water. We haven’t hit collectively as a team. Sometimes we have nine hits in the game, but they’re scattered. There’s nothing together.
“We’ve tried to stay aggressive, tried to stay active on the bases. There’s only so much of that you can do, too. The bottom line is we have to hit. And I know we will. We have too many good hitters not to hit. You can see some guys start to pick it up quite a bit. Hitting’s contagious. We get some guys hitting, and it will take pressure off the other guys, and kind of trickle on down. That’s what we’re looking for.”
It had better start tricking down soon, or the Mariners will get buried by an avalanche.



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