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.
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.
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.
“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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