Mother Nature did Thursday what the Seattle Mariners have not – she benched Richie Sexson, at least temporarily.
Sexson, batting .207 and booed roundly at Safeco Field this week, will likely have to sit out a few games with a strained left hamstring. That means Ben Broussard will play first base.
If that adds more punch to the lineup, the Mariners need it and more – they’re mired in a six-game losing streak, and their bullpen is running on empty. By the time they got to the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday and Eric O’Flaherty stumbled, there weren’t many options.
Rick White was one of them, and he forced home the winning run with a walk.
By Saturday, when major league rosters can expand, the Mariners will have more arms available – Ryan Feierabend, John Parrish and Sean White will all join the team.
So will outfielders Wladimir Balentien and Jeremy Reed, and catchers Rob Johnson and Jeff Clement will be up within a week.
Will it matter?
Not unless the Mariners can snap their losing streak and get a winning run going on the road, against Toronto, New York and Detroit. None of those spots have been kind to Seattle this year – the team is 4-6 in those cities.
What the team needs tonight is a rock-solid performance from Jarrod Washburn, who needs to get through seven innings or more. It needs help from Broussard and a mistake-free game by Jose Lopez at second base.
More than anything, it needs to stop the losing.