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Thursday, June 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports

Grip on Sports: The Mariners are running hot and cold – sometimes in the same game

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco, left, watches as Seattle Mariners’ Robinson Cano hits a home run during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 3, 2017, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco, left, watches as Seattle Mariners’ Robinson Cano hits a home run during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 3, 2017, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • The weather gods are teasing us today. It’s going to be 80 in the Spokane area. You read that right. After not hitting 70 degrees for more than 200 days, it will jump all the way to 80. Then be back to 64 on Friday. With a good chance of rain. It’s almost like the weather is running on the same track as the M’s. Read on.

••••••••••

• It was beautiful in Seattle yesterday. A warm day. A warm night. And yet, with nice weather in play, only 13,799 showed up to watch the Mariners rally past the Angels, 8-7.

It’s almost like the weather doesn’t have anything to do with the M’s popularity. Want a better barometer? Winning. Consistently.

And that has not been happening.

You know the numbers. The M’s are 12-16. They are seven games behind the Astros in the West. But, hey, they aren’t in last anymore.

There’s that.

But even those of us who have more than a passing interest in the team struggle sometimes to watch. Take last night for instance. How many of you actually didn’t give up following the Angels’ six-run sixth inning? I can’t raise my hand.

It was getting late – I know, I’m old – and the thought of watching for another hour or two, only to be ultimately disappointed, was unbearable.

So I didn’t. And the M’s came back, thanks in large part to Jean Segura, who finished with a career-high four RBIs.

All well and good. But more is needed to keep the fans interested. Yes, I know school is still in session. And, yes, I know the games take too long. But if the M’s are only drawing 14,000 people now, when there is still hope, what happens if they are 15 games under .500 in September? How many will show up then?

• I felt really sorry for rookie pitcher Emilio Pagan last night. He made his major league debut against Luis Valbuena and promptly got squeezed by home plate umpire Adrian Johnson.

Pagan’s first pitch was a no-doubt strike. The next three were all where they should be, on the margins. The high-tech ball/strike display system all had them in the strike zone. All were called balls.

Valbuena eventually parachuted a single into right field, opening the door to the Angels’ big inning. And Pagan’s first line included three runs on three hits. He deserved a better fate.

•••

WSU: It was a busy day around the Pac-12, springtime or not. Next year’s NFL draft came up (again), this time in relation to Washington. … The Huskies are the class of the Pac-12 North these days. … Was a former Husky basketball player shot or not? … Oregon is trying to reload on the football field and the basketball court. … Arizona’s Sean Miller doesn’t know how many players he needs to recruit, or if he should stay so intense. … Oregon State and Arizona State learned some things over the spring. … Utah has lost its best basketball player to the pros.

CCS: The Sasquatch split a baseball doubleheader.

Chiefs: Josh Horton is holding a bantam draft chat today. Join in.

Preps: Another busy Thursday, starting with Dave Nichols’ story on five Coeur d’Alene baseball players who will continue their education at the same junior college. … Greg Lee has a feature on Central Valley runner Anna Fomin (pictured). … The GSL golf regular season ended this week and Jim Meehan has all the news in this piece. … Steve Christilaw takes a look at Freeman’s playoff potential and the only perfect game pitcher in Spokane this year.

Mariners: Dave Nichols also has his Mariner Log from last night’s game. We’ve added the links to it.

Seahawks: Trying to determine which Hawk draft picks will have the biggest impact next season isn’t easy. … There was a roster move yesterday.

•••       

• Before I can enjoy the sun and heat today, I have to mow the lawn. With a machete. That’s what I get for being out of town the past two weekends. By the way, one of my childhood heroes will be in town for Bloomsday. Jim Ryun, America's second-greatest miler (I'm partial to my former UCI suite mate, Steve Scott), will speak Friday night. John Blanchette talked with him and has this column. Until later …

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