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Mariners see the light

FRIDAY, AUG. 24, 2012

Rebuilding plan bears fruit with late-season surge

SEATTLE – For much of his first two seasons as manager of the Seattle Mariners, Eric Wedge has preached exactly what his team has practiced over the past month.

And while the Mariners’ second-half surge is realistically too late to make a push for this postseason, it’s at least giving hope that Seattle’s rebuilding plan is finally progressing.

The Mariners are coming off sweeps of Minnesota and Cleveland at home. They’ve won a season-high eight straight games — their longest winning streak since 2007 — and have the best record in baseball since the All-Star break at 25-13.

Even more impressive is how the Mariners have turned around their struggles at home. Seattle has won 15 of its last 16 home games after being 11 games below .500 at home in late July.

“It’s fun baseball right now and we’re starting to get that feeling that (Wedge) has kind of been looking for out of us these past couple of years,” shortstop Brendan Ryan said. “It’s coming to the field expecting to win and that’s the vibe in the clubhouse.”

It’s easy to dismiss some of Seattle’s recent success because of the teams they’ve beaten up on. They swept the Indians, Twins, Blue Jays and Royals, all at home.

But they took two of three on the road from both Tampa Bay and the Los Angeles Angels, the latter of which was part of an impressive rebound after losing five straight earlier this month. The Mariners are 10-1 since dropping the first game of their series against the Angels.

They’re doing it with youth. The starting lineup Wedge has mostly relied on of late features just two players in their 30s — Ryan (30) and catcher Miguel Olivo (34).

“It’s a mindset, it’s an approach, it’s an attitude,” Wedge said. “But having said that, you put yourself in a position where emotionally, mentally, you go out there and play aggressive with more of a tension-free approach where your mind and your fundamentals can work well together. I think we have a lot of people headed in that direction.”

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