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One loss that seems like more

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It's only one game. OK, maybe it is more than that. Read on.

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• The Mariners lose games all the time. Heck, everyone in Major League Baseball loses a third of their games, so why should one loss mean anymore than another? And yet ... Yes, last night's 3-2 defeat at Texas seems to be more than just a simple setback in a season that will include – at least – another 60 or 70 of them. When your star pitcher, Felix Hernandez pitches like he did – seven superlative innings – and you had a chance to pin a defeat on a division rival's star pitcher – Yu Darvish, who hadn't given up a run entering the game – then you better do it. The M's didn't despite getting two quick outs in the ninth with a 2-1 lead. But Fernando Rodney isn't one of those guys who always seems to get the job done quickly. As a closer, he's more akin to former Oriole star Don Stanhouse, who Earl Weaver famously called "Full Pack." Why? Because, Weaver said, I smoke a full pack of cigarettes every time he's in there. But this one can't be pinned completely on Rodney. After he gave up a two-out hit and a walk, he induced Donnie Murphy to hit a routine ground ball to Brad Miller at shortstop. But Miller bobbled it, then his throw to second, still in time to get Mitch Moreland to end the game, was high, pulling Robinson Cano off the bag (pictured below). A wild pitch and a bloop single later, the M's had lost 3-2. Miller was apologetic, Felix was probably apoplectic and Lloyd McClendon was philosophic. Still, the M's had blown a game they should have put away. But let's be clear. We should be used to this type of crud by now. They've been doing it for years. And that's what makes it more than just one loss. If you've ever watched "The Natural," you know losing is contagious. Heck, according to the psychiatrist or hypnotist or whatever was in the movie, it's as bad as an old-fashioned social disease. But Mariner fans know better. They know losing is worse. Especially when it happens like last night.

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• WSU: There never are any games lost during spring football, at least not on the scoreboard. Jacob Thorpe handled the off day as he has all spring, with a five-question blog post and a live chat. He also has links this morning in this post. ... The Cougar baseball team will be in Eugene to face Oregon in a series that begins today to avoid playing on Easter Sunday. ... How did each Pac-12 football team do quarter-by-quarter last year? If you really want to know, here is the answer.

• Gonzaga: There will be a new coaching staff for the Zag women next year as two of the assistants are on the way to join to Kelly Graves in Eugene. Tom Clouse has a story on the changes in the program now run by Lisa Fortier (pictured). ... Though the Zag women didn't announcing any signings yesterday, one player from Canada reportedly signed a letter of intent in the late period. ... Gonzaga's Alice Kim won the WCC golf championship.

• EWU: The Eagle basketball team also received an LOI from a player, a junior college forward that fills a need up front. Jim Allen has the story. ... Jim also continues his spring previews with the defensive line.

• Preps: Jim was also out at Central Valley last night for a big GSL soccer match, won by Ferris 1-0 in a shootout. ... It's Thursday so Greg Lee has his track and field notebook.

• Seahawks: When Sidney Rice was cut loose early in the offseason, people wondered who would fill his role as the big wide receiver. Now we have the answer. Sidney Rice. He agreed to re-sign with the team yesterday. What does that mean? ... There is some discussions going on in the Bay Area about Aldon Smith and his future with the San Francisco 49ers. He was part of an ill-fated draft class.

• Mariners: OK, we passed along the links to the loss above. But there was more bad news yesterday. Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings. Taijuan Walker will be shut down for a while to give his shoulder another chance to recover. Not good. ... Nick Franklin was officially recalled yesterday and went right into the lineup. ... The M's and Rangers play again this afternoon. ... The makeup game in Oakland has been set for May 7 as part of a doubleheader.

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• That's it for today. Have a good Thursday. It rained all night at my place and was still rainy when I got out of bed. And the heavy stuff is scheduled for later in the day. My lawn, trying to recover from the winter, wants to thank whomever scheduled the moisture. Until later ... 




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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