A GRIP ON SPORTS
Maybe John Buck really was the heart and soul of the 2014 Seattle Mariners. Read on.
• You wouldn't think a backup catcher would mean all that much to a team, would you? But since the M's cut Buck they've struggled. Cause and effect? More than likely not. The M's have had some pretty long losing streaks this season so a three-game slide since Buck was fired isn't any sure indication the lack of his presence has been a negative. However, the way the clubhouse reacted when he was let go the other day might be more indicative. As all the stories related, the M's were discouraged following the news. Down in the dumps. And their bats, at least with runners in scoring position, have yet to perk up. Last night was another good example. Facing a rookie pitcher, the M's had more than enough chances to win the game. But the Twins did, 4-2, as the defense let down the start-by-committee group and the offense made enough mistakes on the bases and at the plate to remind one of Brazil's soccer team. And now, on the heels of that deflating series with the not-all-that-good Twins, the best team in baseball, the Oakland A's, come to town. If ever the M's needed a Cy Young performance out of Felix Hernandez, tonight's the night. Shut down the Oakland offense, score just enough runs to ensure a win and begin the last pre-All-Star series with a victory. That might just cure whatever is ailing them. Even if it is thepassingofbuckitis.
• WSU: Next up as ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog examines the upcoming season: cornerbacks. That's not a area full of experience for the Cougars going into the season.
• EWU: Want to be in attendance at the college football season's first game? Tickets go on sale this morning.
• Shock: Spokane's first-round playoff opponent – San Jose, though it's still down the road a bit – faces Tampa Bay tonight.
• Shadow: The Shadow has its fate in its hands after a win yesterday.
• Indians: Want to win a pennant? Win series. Two-out-of-three. Three-of-four. No need for long streaks. Just win series. It's a pattern the Indians have tried to follow this year. The won another series last night, defeating Tri-City 5-2 and taking two of the three games. Chris Derrick has more in this game story and blog post.
• Seahawks: Richard Sherman is tired of the Michael Crabtree conversation. ... Once the Hawks won the Super Bowl, the really important stuff began. ... Another magazine looks at the Hawks. ... Single-game tickets go on sale soon. ... That supplemental draft yesterday? It was a dud.
• Mariners: The Mariners had 12 hits last night – and one injury. The oft-injured Michael Saunders hurt himself on a swing (ya, swinging the bat is sort of an important part of the game and usually – usually – doesn't result in an injury) and will have an MRI today. It sort of fits with the way things have been going recently. ... Dustin Ackley is striving to become more consistent.
• Sounders: OK, I was probably wrong yesterday when I said Portland coach Caleb Porter would be fined for his bombastic comments about the officiating. Seems like the governing body of the U.S. Open Cup has little authority – or little desire to use whatever it has. ... The World Cup has had an effect here.
• We're headed to the Seattle area for the weekend. Making the warm trek across the state. Then spending the weekend in nice warm gyms. It's what we do this time of year. That and put together this column in the mornings. Until later ...