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Mariners blog

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

May 27, 2008 at 5:00 PM

It smells like victory

All right, I’m going to be the first to call a Mariners’ victory tonight. Why? Because on paper, they have no chance. You’ve got unbeaten Dice-K going for the Red Sox against a guy in Miguel Batista who has been horrible in his last four starts (16 ip, 29 hits, 13 walks, 19 earned runs). You have a Mariners’ team that is flailing as badly as any team in recent memory going up against the world champions. Seattle doesn’t have a prayer, right? So, sports being the perverse and unpredictable business that it is, that means the M’s are going to win. How’s that for convoluted logic?
A couple of interesting nuggets from the pre-game. One, Richie Sexson is out of the lineup, and Miguel Cairo is playing first base. Is this the beginning of the phasing out of Sexson, whose average is UP to .200 after dipping into the .190s? Here’s what McLaren had to say: “We’re just giving Cairo a chance to play and keep him in the mix, and give Richie a day off. You can read into this a lot of ways. It has nothing to do with Richie hitting below .200 or anything. We’re just getting a different look tonight, that’s the easiest way I can put it. There’s no one trying harder than Richie…He’s battling hard. He’s having his struggles like a lot of the rest of us on this ballclub are. He needs to keep himself going, keep working hard. Hopefully, the cream will rise to the top.”
Nugget No. 2 is that the Mariners held infield and outfield drills before the game for about 15 minutes. Teams used to do this every day when I started covering baseball in the 1980s, but somewhere along the line it stopped happening. It may be slowly coming back — the Royals, Rays and Rangers are all doing infield this year.
“You know what? I’m just changing the routine,” McLaren said. “We’ve actually been fielding the ball really well. I’m just trying to change the routine up, maybe give a little spring training theme. I’m trying to break the monotony a little bit.”
McLaren said he was even thinking about reviving the “American Idol” competition from spring training to lift morale.
“We need a laugh. A dancer, or something. Something just to break things up.”
When he was coaching in Toronto, McLaren said, the team once brought a stripper to the clubhouse during a slump.
“It got mixed reviews,” he said. “Some of the guys that are pretty close to the Lord weren’t too happy.”
Hey, he got his laugh with that comment. Unfortunately for him, it was the media that was laughing, not his players.

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