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

April 15, 2009 at 11:41 PM

The final word on the best team in the American League (as of tonight’s standings)

Wednesday night’s game is the kind that makes fence-sitters want to jump on the bandwagon.
For starters, I was amazed at the volume of responses on the blog, further proof that fans are really getting into this team. We get an e-mail alert every time a response is posted, and I literally could not keep up with them. Every time I checked, it seemed as though 30 more comments had poured in. Believe me, we love it (I think I can speak for Geoff). I honestly haven’t had time to read what everyone is saying, but I will eventually.
Torii Hunter had a great quote in the Angels’ clubhouse that reflects the fact that the Mariners are starting to impress their opponents.
“They look different than last year,” said Hunter. “They look hungry. They’ve got new life with Griffey, and they still have Ichiro.
“They hit the ball well today. They play the game the right way. They’ve got good pitching behind them. They look good.”
For those that might have been wondering why Jarrod Washburn came out of the game after six innings when he was looking so good and had thrown just 87 pitches, it’s because he was sick as a dog. He’s battling the flu and could barely talk after the game. Washburn is always a standup guy when it comes to dealing with the media after games, good performance or bad, but today he simply was in no condition to address the media other than a little small talk.
Don Wakamatsu talked after the game about “pressurizing” the other team, which is a pretty good term for what the Mariners are doing — lots of bunts, lots of base stealing, lots of taking extra bases. Rob Johnson stretched a single into a double, and Russ Branyan tagged up and took second on a sac fly to take the M’s out of a double-play situation. Yes, the famous “little things.” Griffey had a great quote about that after the game: “We’ve been able to do some little things to win games, and we’ve done some big things, too.”
The Japanese media is out in full force to cover Ichiro’s pursuit of Isao Harimoto’s hit total, which he tied with the grand slam. Here’s what Ichiro said about that hit, his 3,085th between Japan and Seattle:
“A lot of time when I have a record on the line, I have a tendency to hit a home run in those situations, so it crossed my mind maybe it would happen.
“But a grand slam? That barely happens in any situation, so it definitely didn’t cross my mind.”
And here’s a funny quote from Ichiro (via interpreter Ken Barron):
“For me to get a home run on the same day Junior had a historical homer for him, that’s very special for me. But also today, probably the two lightest guys in the major leagues hit homers together – me and Endy Chavez. That’s very special.”
And when someone asked him if he felt he had to do something special his first day back, he said: “I didn’t think I had to do anything special today, especially because the team made it easy for me to come back and play. I’m very thankful for that. Also today, I felt if the team didn’t win once I got back, I thought all you guys would write about that. So I’m glad that’s not going to happen.”
Oh, one other thing. When the Mariners scored seven runs in the seventh inning, it earned $7,000 for Angelo Terranova of Port Angeles in ESPN 710’s “7 in the 7th” contest sponsored by 7 Cedars Resort. Not quite as good as the woman from Cashmere that won $1 million as the result of an Alex Rodriguez cycle in the 1990s, but not bad.



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