Mariners Update

  • Monday, October 2, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

Herald Staff

  • White Sox talk it up: They won more games than any team in the American League, yet the Chicago White Sox get the feeling they’re decided underdogs in their AL Division Series against Seattle.

    Losing five of the last seven games in the regular season will have a lot to do with that. So will a defense that made 34 more errors than the Mariners. Then there’s the gimpy pitching staff, whose Game 1 starter spent a few minutes explaining how a man can still be effective when he’s hurting.

    Still, the Sox say, there’s that 95-67 record and the AL Central Division championship. Won’t anybody pay attention?

    Jim Parque, who will start against the Mariners today, took the opportunity to take some shots at reporters.

    “You guys are the ones writing the stories about us, but my colleagues all feel that we’re a formidable team,” Parque said. “Anybody can beat anyone at any given time. But it just seems like the media’s put a damper on our season, just saying we’re stumbling into the playoffs.

    “We’ve had to deal with it the entire year, being last on SportsCenter and all that.”

    So, their feelings are hurt as well. We already knew this was an ailing bunch of Sox pitchers, with Mike Sirotka, James Baldwin and Cal Eldred each in some sort of disarray.

    Parque, whose arm is sound, feels their pain.

    “Throughout the entire year you have a lot of little aches and pains that bother you, and you work through those,” he said. “I’ve never hurt myself so, knock on some wood, that I can’t pitch for a prolonged period of time.”

    Mariners manager Lou Piniella wouldn’t get dragged into a dump-on-the-Sox debate.

    “They’ve had the best record in the American League all summer long, and that’s not an accident,” Piniella said.

  • Roster moves: Both teams have until this morning to finalize their 25-man rosters for the series, and both were taking their time doing it.

    Piniella said he’ll carry 11 pitchers, meaning he’ll have to make a tough decision or two when it comes to deciding on 14 position players. Those on the bubble would figure to be catcher Chris Widger and outfielder Charles Gipson.

  • Words of wisdom: Mark McLemore, the Mariners’ veteran second baseman, shouting to anyone within earshot as the Mariners entered the clubhouse after practice Monday: “It’s OK to be scared. Just don’t panic.”

  • Sunlight series: Starting times were determined for this weekend’s games in Seattle, with both the Friday and Saturday games starting in the afternoon. Friday’s will start at 1:08 p.m. (televised on ESPN) and Saturday’s at 1:18 (on FOX). If there is a Game 5 on Sunday in Chicago, it’ll start at either 1:08 or 5:08 p.m.

  • Back to reality: Nobody experienced 24 hours of emotional peaks and valleys more than M’s outfielder Raul Ibanez. The two-run double that broke open Sunday’s victory against the Angels was the biggest hit of his career, but the excitement was dulled by concern for his mother.

    In Miami, his 67-year-old mother, Moraima, lay in an intensive care unit after heart surgery.

    “It makes this look pretty small,” Ibanez said in a bustling the Mariners clubhouse after practice Monday.

  • Feeling fine: John Halama, who took a line drive off his left leg Sunday in Anaheim, walked with a slight limp Monday but Piniella said he should be available to pitch out of the bullpen in the first two games and possibly start on Saturday.

    “He’s got a little puffiness on it, but he’s fine to pitch,” Piniella said.

    Mark McLemore has played for six teams over 15 major league seasons, but never has he been on one with more character than the Mariners. “I always liked the way Jay (Buhner) and Stan (Javier) played,” said McLemore, who signed with the M’s over the winter. “I played with Arthur (Rhodes) in Baltimore and he’s gotten better and better. He’s found his niche.”

    He compared the M’s professionalism with the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves. “They come to win,” he said. “They know how to take care of business.”

    McLemore saw Harold Baines walking towards the M’s dugout during the White Sox batting practice and hollered, “What the hell do you have that on for?” He was referring to the glove Baines wore on his hand. Baines, of course, is a designated hitter.

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