A GRIP ON SPORTS
There is only one more day until fireworks explode on the scene. Though the M's had their own little celebration last night in Texas, with Kendrys Morales supplying the biggest blasts. Read on.
• The Mariners gambled a bit last off-season, bringing in four mature bats for the lineup. And the gamble, for the most part, has paid off. When they've been healthy, Morales, Raul Ibanez, Jason Bay and Michael Morse have done what was expected: add pop to the order. But the key part of that last sentence is “when they've been healthy.” Only Ibanez, who is threatening to set some sort of old guy home run record, has been healthy all season. It shows, as he belted his 20th homer last night. Bay has had some physical problems, as has Morse, who is currently on the disabled list. Morales (pictured) tweaked his back about a month ago and is just now starting to heal up. There is no stronger evidence he's feeling better than last night's six-RBI, two home run performance against the Rangers. Every time the M's needed a clutch hit, Morales delivered. Morales is hitting .282 with 11 home runs and a team-leading 48 RBI. All of which is why he was brought to Seattle on a one-year contract to begin with. No one thinks Morales will sign here during the season (his agent is Scott Boras and he just doesn't like his clients to do that) so the hotter Morales' bat becomes between now and July 31 can only help the M's in two ways. A hot Morales makes the lineup that much better and helps Seattle win a few games. That's one way. But a hot Morales makes him much more desirable for other teams and makes his trade value better. In the long run, that could be the more important aspect of Morales' tenure here. If the Mariners talk with Morales and Boras and don't see a future relationship blooming, then he should go at the deadline. The M's aren't headed anywhere this season (except the middle of the pack), so why not pick up a prospect for a guy that won't be here next year anyway? Makes sense, doesn't it? The only flaw in that logic is Jack Zduriencik will be the fellow making the trade and his track record is anything but stellar. I won't go into all of the trades, but I will mention last year's deadline deal: Steve Delabar for Eric Thames. Delabar is 5-1 with a 1.58 earned run average for Toronto. Thames? He is no longer in the M's organization. Remember all the “in Jack we trust” talk in Seattle just a couple years ago? I'm not sure that's the case anymore. But in this situation, the trust has to be there. The M's have to make some moves before the deadline if they want to build on whatever foundation they've laid.
• WSU: Eastern Washington handed the Cougars all they could handle last fall in their first meeting in a century. So the two schools decided to do it again, this time in 2016. … The Pac-12's non-conference football schedule this fall is just OK. … You can always find more on the Pac-12 Network, just not on DirectTV. … Utah athletic director Chris Hill faces the fire over the school's former swimming coach.
• Gonzaga: Former GU guard Grant Gibbs, who transferred to Creighton, was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.
• Shock: The Shock has added depth to their already deep receiving corps, signing former Eastern player Nicholas Edwards (pictured). Jim Meehan has the information in his weekly notebook.
• Chiefs: Spokane has hired a new assistant coach.
• Mariners: Morales was the main story last night in the 9-2 win over Texas but there were other subplots. … Ibanez just keeps putting up great numbers. … Tom Wilhelmsen is getting closer to his early season form – and job. … Nick Franklin may make a run at the rookie of the year award. … Dustin Ackley's thumb was sore but he was still in the lineup Tuesday. … Former Mariner Milton Bradley will be joining the California Penal League soon. … Homer Bailey threw his second no-hitter last night (and this season's first), stopping the Giants 3-0.
• Sounders: It's been a while but the Sounders return to action tonight, hosting lowly D.C. United. United is last in Joshua Mayers' MLS power rankings. … Whether Mario Martinez returns is up to him, according to Sigi Schmid. … If Djimi Traore had to make a choice, he would stay. … The Sounders seem to be somewhat healthy.
• Did I say I was going to play golf yesterday? Sorry, but that was utter failure on my part. It turned out to be just too hot and, believe it or not, the course was too crowded. Anyhow, I apologize for getting your hopes up. You know what I mean. Your hopes I would overdo it and be unable to write today. My bad. Until later …