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Mariners blog

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

July 8, 2009 at 9:55 AM

Mariners see one rival’s top hitter return, while another’s hurts his knee

vlad.jpg
Just as the Mariners were getting clobbered last night, the Angels took a giant step backwards when Vladimir Guerrero injured his knee making a routine fielding play. They’re calling it a strained muscle behind the knee for now. He’ll have it re-evaluated today, but likely won’t be in the lineup for the finale of the Angels-Rangers series.
A guy who will be in the lineup is Josh Hamilton of the Rangers, now back in action after being out since May with a torn abdominal muscle.
What an AL West race this is turning out to be, huh?
Photo Credit: Kirby Lee/U.S. Presswire


More like a series of fits and starts for everyone involved, including the Mariners. In the end, this division could go to whichever team is left standing. On the Angels front, they saw John Lackey take another loss and will now have Ervin Santana trying to make a go of it on the mound today once again. He’s been on the DL after a dismal comeback attempt from his first DL stint.
So, yes, in some ways, the Mariners are looking fortunate in having Erik Bedard come back strong off the DL last night. Now, he just has to go deeper. The team’s run differential, as I mentioned yesterday, had been +7 when he pitches. It’s now at a minus-1, which shows you what relying too heavily on run differential stats can mean.
One thing to note, though, is that his team’s run differential when Bedard leaves a game — a more meaningful stat — is now up one to +12. As we mentioned yesterday, he does tend to leave with his team ahead or right in the thick of things. His bullpen just couldn’t hold the 3-2 lead, which can happen when they have to close out the final five innings.
Shawn Kelley looks like a guy who was rushed back too soon from his minor league rehab assignment, but this team needed his arm. Right now, the Mariners have to find a way to win this series today, then somehow beat the Rangers three of four and regroup over the All-Star break.
The bullpen arms need rest. And this team has to get another hitter before — preferably well before — July 31, or else it won’t matter how badly the Angels and Rangers struggle. You can only rely on that for so long. At some point, a contending team usually kicks it into high gear. The Mariners have to be ready to do the same themselves. Right now, they are merely hanging on.

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