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Wednesday, October 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Grip on Sports: The M’s start isn’t what fans wanted to see

Houston Astros’ George Springer celebrates his game-winning three-run home run in the 13th inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Wednesday, April 5, 2017, in Houston. (Eric Christian Smith / Associated Press)
Houston Astros’ George Springer celebrates his game-winning three-run home run in the 13th inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Wednesday, April 5, 2017, in Houston. (Eric Christian Smith / Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Remember that fast start we all wanted the M’s have? Well you can forget about it. It’s down the drain unless they reel off 10 consecutive wins or something after last night’s extra-inning heartbreak in Houston. Read on.

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• We’re not going to get into this in real depth right now, for a lot of reasons. One of which is actually sort of important and is covered below.

But the M’s had a chance in their season-opening series with the Astros to make a statement. They did. The wrong one.

The pitching has been good to great, especially the starters. But the hitting has been horrendous, especially with runners in scoring position.

Last night they led 2-0 thanks to Jean Segura’s two-run home run. Then the bullpen coughed up that lead. The M’s finally retook the lead 3-2 thanks to a Kyle Seager’s bases-loaded walk in the 13th. But it could have been so much more.

And so much more was needed when George Springer lifted a high fly ball to left that happened to make the stands, giving the Astros a 5-3 win and a reason to jump around at home plate.

The Mariners are 0-3 with one more game left in Houston. Is it too early to label a game a must-win? Sure it is. But always remember, games in April happen to count the same in the standings as ones in late September. And the M’s have just handed the Astros a three-game edge.

• Are you a Mariner fan? Do you find it a bit daunting to root for the team from 285 miles away – or more? You are not alone.

There really should be a support group.

Lacking that, we are going to offer some support of our own. Every Sunday night here, and Monday morning in the S-R, we will offer our thoughts on the week that was – and the week ahead.

We’ll write from the same perspective an Inland Northwest Mariner fan has. That is, from miles and miles away. We watch games on TV. We listen to the radio. We read the local paper and the Puget Sound ones. And every once in a Mariner-blue moon, we trek across the pass and take in a game in person. Just like you.

What will we cover? The good, the bad and the ugly. All of which seem to be in abundant supply during the course of a 162-game major league schedule. After three games, though, only the latter two have been evident. Maybe the former will show up tonight.

•••

Gonzaga: You know this was a successful season when Mark Few stands in front of a large, pep-rally-like crowd and makes a joke. A politically tinged joke. Such was the mood around Gonzaga yesterday as the area’s fans welcomed the team back with cheers and chants (“one more year” seemed to be a popular one). Whitney Ogden has a story and Colin Mulvany and Dan Pelle combined on a photo report one last time. … Back to the court. Would a 6-foot-10 transfer from Duke fit in at GU? Yes, Chase Jeter would. Jim Meehan has the story of the Las Vegas native putting Gonzaga on his list.

WSU: Treshon Broughton, a defensive back who exhausted his eligibility in the fall, was arrested in Pullman in February. The circumstances of the arrest are detailed in Chad Sokol's story. … Spring football is in full swing throughout much of the Pac-12, with Washington doing its work without much participation from quarterback Jake Browning. That doesn’t mean others aren’t showing their wares. … Oregon is also now going at it, with a new coach and new players. … California took a little break for spring vacation and now is back. … Josh Rosen had to take an injury-forced break last year. … Utah has some new talent it will be counting on. … Arizona State is back on the field. … The Pac-12 should be well represented in the first round of the NFL draft. … In basketball, Arizona may have a new assistant coach who is familiar to all: Lorenzo Romar. … The Wildcats lost another player to the pro ranks. So did UCLA. … USC isn’t losing Andy Enfield anytime soon. … The new staff at California has another member. … So who will win next season? Right now it’s probably easier to pick the bottom of the conference, not the top. … In women’s basketball, former Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves is going to get a new contract worth a lot more money. You buy at Starbucks next time you’re in town Kelly.

EWU: The Eagles were on the field yesterday for spring practice, which gave Jim Allen the opportunity to catch up with the redshirts from last season afterward.

CCS: The baseball team swept a doubleheader from Blue Mountain.

Preps: It’s track and field day, with Greg Lee offers up a feature on Shadle Park jumper Jakobe Ford, as well as the honor roll and a look around the leagues. … The Seattle Times delves into a WIAA policy on transgender athletes and how it came about. … A former Mt. Spokane pitcher, Drew Rasmussen, is almost ready to return to the Oregon State rotation after Tommy John surgery.

Mariners: Hopefully, you’re getting used to the drill. We link Dave Nichols’ Mariners Log, and we add the M’s coverage to the bottom of the feature. There are a lot of stories today that were written more than once last night.

Seahawks: John Schneider went on the radio yesterday to plug his charity. And made all of Seattle listen. Yes, there have been talks about a Richard Sherman trade. And yes, there have been talks with Oakland about Marshawn Lynch returning. Other than that, not much is going on. … The Hawks are starting to have to deal with veterans losing skills. In that, they want to be like the Patriots. … Eddie Lacy is holding a yard sale. … Jon Ryan is a baseball owner. Never change Jon.

Sounders: As the goalkeeper, Stefan Frei has a good view of his teammates. And of the season ahead.

•••       

• We have the Masters feed on the computer, though the “featured” groups don’t feature much of anyone I’m all that interested in. Whatever. It is Augusta National. April. The Masters. Until later …

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