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September 13, 2010 at 5:09 PM

M’s with Tacoma ties soak in Rainiers success

It has been apparent for months that the Mariners’ September would be meaningless, but few expected that tonight’s opponent, the Boston Red Sox, would have such dim playoff hopes on Sept. 13. The Sox are eight games behind the Yankees and Rays in the AL East, and 7 1/2 games out of the wild card, with 19 games remaining. Barring a miracle, they will miss the postseason for the first time since 2006. Then again, the Mariners are the perfect team to begin a miracle run against, and Tacoma’s own Jon Lester, tonight’s pitcher, is having another great season.
Here are today’s lineups:
Red Sox
Marco Scutaro 2B
Ryan Kalish CF
Victor Martinez C
David Ortiz DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jed Lowrie SS
Josh Reddick RF
Daniel Nava LF
Lars Anderson 1B
Jon Lester, LHP (16-8, 3.26)
Ichiro RF
Chone Figgins 2B
Russ Branyan DH
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Jose Lopez 3B
Casey Kotchman 1B
Matt Tuiasosopo LF
Adam Moore C
Josh Wilson SS
Doug Fister, RHP (5-11, 3.84)

The Mariners’ plane returned from Anaheim last night in time for several players, along with manager Daren Brown, to get to Safeco Field to watch the final few innings of Tacoma’s clinching win over Sacramento in the Pacific Coast League playoffs. Among the players who attended were Adam Moore, Matt Tuiasasopo, Chris Woodward, Ryan Langerhans, Chris Seddon, David Pauley and Brian Sweeney.
“It was good to see them celebrate, for a group of kids I spent over 100 games there with them,” Brown said. “You talk about April, May, June, all the stuff you see them go through, from the early work, you see them go through slumps, you see the pitchers go through bad times. And then to see them keep plugging along, it was good to see them pop the champagne. I’m excited for them.”
Brown believes the bond that develops in the minor leagues is a strong one.
“I’ve tried to build that. I think it takes a whole coaching staff. When you get along as a coaching staff, and get along with all the players in the clubhouse, you build a family mentality. I think it shows. There’s a little bit of a bond built there. They spent a lot of time with those guys, and I think it is a camaraderie. They were happy for them.”
Added Moore, “I was really excited for them and happy for them. Obviously, that’s good for this organization, having a team at the highest level of the minor leagues going down there and winning.”
The Rainiers’ success extends their season to another round of playoffs (versus Memphis, all on the road because of the renovation of Cheney Stadium), but Moore believes playing in playoffs will benefit the players.
“I think it helps,” he said. “Everyone wants to come to the big leagues, but at the same time you’re there in Triple-A getting your work done, and putting yourself in a key situation like a playoff game or playoff atmosphere is a lot of fun. To see guys come through in key situations when the game is on the line and the season is on the line…you start all the way back in January; to come through in situations like that in a playoff atmosphere is good to see and says a lot about that team.”
Woodward and Moore even joined in the post-game celebration on the field — Moore getting doused with champagne while wearing his travel-day suit, much to his chagrin The Rainiers celebrated on the field because the clubhouses were off-limits for partying, with the major-leaguers returning Monday.
“Being the deep thinker I was, I decided to go in the clubhouse and wait for them,” Brown said. “All the beverages were on the field, so I wouldn’t get soaked. I congratulated them all in the clubhouse. I was happy for them, happy for (Jose) Castro, stepping in. He was our hitting coordinator early, and all of a sudden he’s managing in the PCL finals. It was unexpected for him, and he’s done a nice job.”
One of the key hits for the Rainiers in their 4-1 victory was a two-run homer by Matt Mangini, who has had a solid year at the plate (.313, 18 homers, 63 RBI in 117 games), while committing 28 errors at first and third base.
“He impressed me this year,” Brown said. “Coming into the year, I really didn’t know what to expect from him. I’d seen his numbers at AA. He had shown some power. I didn’t expect him to come in and hit .310, hit 18 or 19 homers. At third base, you can look at the numbers. He made 20-some errors. Offensively, he’s come a long way. He’s played third base, first base, so he’s leaving his options open where he could play. He’s an interesting guy. He’s performed well down there. It makes you start thinking, could he do it up there? You’ll always looking for a guy who can come up and be an offensive impact.”

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins, Chris Woodward


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