A GRIP ON SPORTS
Well that was fun. As fun a Friday night as I can remember in a while. Maybe all the way back to high school. The M's win. Dominate really, and take over the lead in the second wild-card race. The Seahawks win. Dominate really, and take over, well, nothing, as it was just the second preseason game. But they won. And easily. That's enough. Read on.
• The M's played like a contender again yesterday. They hit the ball with power. They came through in the clutch. They defended well, absent one misplay by Chris Taylor at shortstop. And they pitched superbly again. James Paxton had one pitch working for him – his fastball – and still managed to navigate through a tough Detroit lineup for six innings. The bullpen was, well, the bullpen. The end result was a 7-2 win. Now the M's have the second wild-card in their grasp, going into today's first-ever matchup between Felix Hernandez and David Price, two of the premier pitchers in the American League. And, thanks to the A's loss to Atlanta, the M's are just 6.5 games out in the AL West.
• The Hawks aren't behind anyone in anything, but their loss in Denver to open the preseason caused some heartburn in the Puget Sound area. Even though it was a late loss. And it was in the preseason. So a win against the Chargers was "imperative." At least to the fans' well-being. And, as is his way, Russell Wilson (pictured) made every Hawk fan happy. He hit his first nine passes. He scrambled away from every rush. He passed accurately, ran for a couple scores and was nearly perfect in his half of play. And the Hawks won, 41-14. The defense still has some holes to fill – especially in the middle against the run – but everything about Friday night screamed a step forward. And that's what the preseason is really about. Getting better and staying healthy.
• WSU: The Cougars aren't all that far away from beginning the season. Less than two weeks actually, which means it's a good time for Jacob Thorpe to start his position-by-position preview. He begins with the always underrated special teams and will continue in Sunday's paper with the quarterbacks. ... Jacob also has a morning post with links today and a practice report after last night's workout. He posted a picture of tourist DaVonté Lacy on the blog yesterday as well. ... It's Saturday so we pass along the mailbag from ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog.
• Indians: Two things happened last night in the Tri-Cities that haven't happened much to Spokane this season. The Indians were shut out and they lost a series, their first against a Northwest League North team. ... Spokane has a pitcher who has a commitment to fulfill with the Army. Chris Derrick has a feature on Nick Dignacco (smiling in photograph).
• Seahawks: One of the reasons Wilson was so on-point early was the Hawks were running the ball well. Robert Turbin (pictured) turned on the turbos and gained 81 yards on 12 first-half carries. That, and other things, made Pete Carroll happy. He was more than willing to talk about it afterward but, really, when has Pete Carroll not been happy to talk? ... Though a handful of starters did not play, the Hawks came out of the game relatively injury-free.
• Mariners: When was the last time the M's were 11 games over .500? The answer is 2007, when they finished 14 over. But there was no second wild card then and they didn't sniff the playoffs. ... If you're not excited to watch Price and Felix (pictured) go at it today, then you're not a baseball fan. Of course, the game will probably finish 12-9 as that seems to happen a lot when we anticipate a great pitching matchup.
• Sounders: The sea-level-playing Sounders travel to altitude when they face Western contender Real Salt Lake in a morning match (on the West Coast) with playoff implications. ... The Sounders practiced yesterday in Salt Lake in preparation of today's match.
• The weekend is upon us. How do I know? It's quiet in the neighborhood, unlike the usual NASCAR-like start around 7 a.m. as everyone heads off to work on a weekday. By the way, actually made a couple of putts yesterday but was still became intimately acquainted with a gaggle of pine trees at Downriver. Those guys have a thing my golf balls. I don't get it. Until later ...