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July 27, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Mariners now need to hope their “plan” can salvage some of this season and beyond

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You can talk al you want about long-term plans and yes, some of them do wind up paying off. But you can’t completely abandon the short-term either.
For the past three weeks, finally ending today with a 9-2 win over the New York Yankees, the Mariners sabotaged a lot of the short-term good they’d accomplished the first three months of the 2011 season.
The Mariners hadn’t scored this many runs since a 9-6 win over Tampa Bay back on June 5.
Remember those days? Late-game comebacks and home run heroics by Miguel Olivo?
How could you? The team has gone 13-32 since that day. The Mariners had dropped 17 in a row before finally winning today.
So, as tempting as it is to pop champagne corks, it’s time to keep this in perspective. There is a ton of work left to be done. The Mariners seemed to know this after the game. Their celebration following a 17-hit onslaught was rather subdued. More like relief than outright joy.
“Every time you turn on Sports Center, it’s the bottom line, or it’s the next thing coming up — how many we’ve lost,” Brendan Ryan said. “That gets old. Nobody wants to be made fun of or anything like that.”
Ryan said that when folks see guys like Adam Kennedy making a great glove stab down the line at third base today, it’s not for a lack of trying. And he’s telling the truth. The Mariners as a group have played hard. They just haven’t executed. Some of them haven’t lived up to their contracts or the backs of their baseball cards.
Ichiro had four hits today and did help the team win. But this team needed a whole lot more of that a whole lot sooner.
For now, Ryan is looking forward to unwinding a bit. He’s an intense guy, you may have heard.
He’s looking foward to having “a couple of Pepsis and a couple of laughs” on the flight back to Seattle.
“I don’t think any of us want to go through that again.”


Mike Carp sure didn’t sound like he wanted a repeat. Carp had four hits and four RBI today, becoming only the third rookie in club history to accomplish both in the same game.
His triple in the seventh broke open a tight ballgame and helped secure the victory.
“It’s been tough,” Carp said. “Especially with all the media coverage on it and stuff. Everywhere we go, you hear it, you see it, it’s just right in your face. We haven’t been doing anything about it. Today we did. So, it was nice.”
That’s right. No “garbage time” hits today. This was a day the Mariners set out to win. And executed the way winning teams have to.
“I wanted this game so bad,” Felix Hernandez said after improving to 5-0 with a 1.29 ERA his last five decisions against New York. “We were fighting. The 17 games we lost, we were fighting a lot. But finally, we found a way to win a game.”
M’s manager Eric Wedge wasn’t breathing easy until it was done.
“It means everything right now,” Wedge said. “These guys haven’t felt good in a very long time. We’ve got a long flight and an off-day (Thursday) and this is a real big win for us. When you’ve got a monkey on your back that size, it’s damn hard to get it off.”
But it’s not off completely. Now, the real work begins. This kind of stuff can’t keep happening. This team can’t keep losing 90+ or 100 games and expect to still have a diehard following when they’re finally ready to win.
Everybody has to up their games.
The young players not living up to the hype. The veterans who have taken lots of money without delivering results. The front office that put an offense this poor out on the field two years in a row. And the president and ownership types that keep breaking even financially on a team that could have used a few more bucks thrown its way last winter. That’s when real improvements have to be made to teams. That way, you don’t have to go scrounging for bats earlier than the official trade deadline run-up in order to salvage your season. That way, you don’t have a total on-field collapse for three weeks when you finally play some good teams all in a row. That way, you’re not showing up to a gun fight with a pocketknife.
Zduriencik sounded pre-game like a man who plans to up his own game. We’ll see. His hands have been partially-tied by mistakes of his predecessor and questionable decisions by the team’s ownership — be it Hiroshi Yamauchi, locals like Chris Larson, or their representative Howard Lincoln and his president Chuck Armstrong.
But it’s not all their fault. Some of Zduriencik’s moves have blown up in his face. And have made an already tight financial situation even worse. Zduriencik says the evaluation of players will be as intense as ever this off-season, including what was seen throughout this streak.
“I think you re-evaluate all the time,” he said. “You’re in here every day seeing who’s in it. The old saying: ‘Who’s in it to win it?’ That’s the key here. Am I a big leaguer? Or am I a big leaguer that wants to win a World Series? A big leaguer that wants to take it to the next level? That’s the question that’s being evaluated. That’s what you’re looking at here.
“Yeah, Ok great. It’s nice to be up here and live this lifestyle. That’s super. You’ve earned it. Now, there’s a responsibility that comes with that. You owe it to this organization to get better…they owe it to us to go out and get to the next level. That’s their responsibility and I hope they see this.”
“I think we’ll look at a lot of things. We’ll look at them right now. We’ll look at them this off-season. There’s no question what we need to have and there will be some resources available to go out and try to do something. We will evaluate harder than we’ve ever evaluated before.”
They’ll have to.
This entire organization will have to “up” its game starting right now. It’s the only way to make people forget about the three weeks that just killed the 2011 season.

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan

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