A GRIP ON SPORTS
Up early today thanks to an early tee time. It's good though. I went out on a limb yesterday and really wanted to know what you think about it. So an early start is good. Read on.
• On August 14, 1995, the Mariners were 11.5 games out of first place in the American League West, sitting in third behind the high-flying Angels and the Texas Rangers. We all know what happened. After yesterday's games, the M's found themselves in third place, 7.5 games behind in the West, trailing Oakland and the Angels, in that order. In 1995, their eyes were on the wild-card slot. This year, all anyone is talking about is the race for the second wild-card slot. So why do I think the M's will repeat their late stretch run of 1995, pass the Angels and the A's and win the American League West? Ya, why indeed? I don't know. Just a feeling maybe that this team is putting it all together. That the pitching, solid all season, heck, record-breaking solid all season, will stay that way. That the offense, lagging behind since spring training, is finally waking up – to an extent. Enough really to instigate a stretch run. Heck, 7.5 games is nothing. A couple weeks of hot play and poof, it's gone. Ask the Tigers, the M's opponent tonight. They were more than 7.5 games ahead of the Royals just a few weeks ago. Now they are in second place, looking up at Kansas City. The Royals got hot, the Tigers cold and, thanks in part to a couple key Detroit injuries, KC surged to the front. The M's can do the same thing. Except, when they do it, it will be too late for anyone to surge back.
• One other eerie comparison to 1995. The Angels were cruising along in August until the guy that held their infield together, shortstop Gary DiSarcina, went on the disabled list. That started their slide to a one-game playoff with the M's. Yesterday, the A's had to put shortstop Jed Lowrie on the DL with a broken finger. The slide is starting.
• WSU: The Cougars had the day off yesterday but they did pick up some nice parting gifts. Jacob Thorpe's blog post describes what they are (psst, they are the modern form of playbooks). … Connor Halliday is one of seven Pac-12 quarterbacks on the Manning Award watch list.
• EWU: The Eagles have more than enough quarterbacks to get through practice every day. That wasn't the case a couple of years ago. But, as Jim Allen's story relates, they have plenty now. … Jim also held a live chat yesterday and he has a post with links this morning.
• Seahawks: The Hawks will host San Diego tonight at 7 in the second preseason game of the year. There is a lot to watch for tonight, including whether or not Cassius Marsh plays. Remember Marsh? The defensive lineman went off with a knee injury on Wednesday and it looked bad. But an MRI showed it was just a slight sprain, he practiced yesterday and could play tonight. … So could a bunch of veterans, including Marshawn Lynch. … Pete Carroll addressed a lot of things yesterday after practice ended. … Kam Chancellor has many off-field roles with the Hawks.
• Mariners: The M's were en route to Detroit yesterday, so there was no game. Which means there was plenty of time for Austin Jackson and manager Lloyd McClendon to contemplate their homecoming in the Motor City. … Baseball elected a new commissioner yesterday, promoting insider Rob Manfred into the top spot to replace Bud Selig.
• Sounders: It's back to the MLS grind this weekend for the Sounders, though they could be excused for looking back at their U.S. Open Cup semifinal win. After all, it was 6-0. … Seattle expects to play more international friendlies in the future and may bid to host the MLS all-star game. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
• That's it for today. So am I crazy? Do the M's have a chance to catch the Angels and then the A's and win the West? Or is it too much to ask? Let me know. Until later …