Monday, April 17, 2006

More Than a Feeling

Wow! What a great series, and yet what a disappointing note to end on.

Could it be more appropriate than that Mike Timlin (the oldest Red Sock) wins the final game?

The M's got up early this morning and were in the game, including a couple of signs that Beltre is still alive, and decent pitching from Gil Meche, given the bandbox park and the powerful opposing lineup.

Where does that leave us? We come home for a nine-game homestand against Texas, Detroit, and the World Champs before closing out April in Baltimore. The Mariners record stands at 6-9, having coughed up three of four to Boston by one-run margins in every loss, sandwiched around a nice 3-0 shutout victory.

Happily, the entire AL West is struggling to keep their collective heads above water; entering this morning's game, Seattle's 6-8 mark was only 1 game back of the 6-6 Angels. Oakland and Texas have today off, while the Angels square off against the Orioles tonight.

On the whole, I think that this road trip was as encouraging as it could be. Sure, we went 3-4, but you'll take that against Cleveland and Boston, I think, and 3 of the 4 losses saw the M's genuinely IN the games. Meanwhile, the A's (Loaiza, Dan Johnson, Ken Macha's stupidity), Angels (K-Rod injury scare, Garret Anderson...Mike Scioscia's odd moves), and the Rangers (Kinsler's injury, the disaster in CF so far, and Brad Wilkerson's lingering shoulder issues) all have just as many "issues" as we do.

Don't look now, but I'm beginning to become just the tiniest bit optimistic that my projections of the Mariners' season are horribly, horribly wrong. And that's a good thing.

Tomorrow we get to open the homestand with the King facing the weakest link in the Rangers' rotation, young John Koronka. This one-time Cubs prospect fared quite well in his AL debut against the Angels last week, but he'll turn 26 this season and is really at best a swingman/long relief type in the majors. If he keeps the ball on the ground, he can strike out enough and earn enough DPs to counteract his hits and walks. If the ball is in the air, look out.

Here's hoping that the M's can be patient, that Koronka fails to keep his pitches down, and that Seattle's hitters take advantage. A nice, blowout victory would lift our spirits, eh?

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