When their three-game series with the Angels ends, the Seattle Mariners will have 113 games left to the season – although if they lose three in a row here, many will think that season is over.
Even the Seattle players are up for these. Going head to head with the first-place team when you’re the second-place team, it’s hard not to lay more importance on the outcome.
Say what you want about spotty hitting, the Mariners lead the American League with a .279 batting average. Their pitching still has issues, but whose doesn’t? Would you take this staff over, say, that of the Yankees if you had to take one or the other?
Given the fact they’re missing two starting pitchers, and that rookie left-hander Ryan Feierabend will start the middle game of the series, Seattle is in about the best position it’s been in to face the Angels.
Had Mike Hargrove had the inclination to change his rotation, he couldn’t have fared much better than having Felix Hernandez, Miguel Batista and Feierabend, other than to get Jarrod Washburn in the series.
Missing starters Jeff Weaver and Horacio Ramirez? The Mariners would have no reason to feel more confident if they were likely to start here.
Now, if we can convince all Mariners pitchers to walk Vladimir Guerrero in any at-bat of a close game, Seattle might pick up ground.