This is a big road trip, but it’s not the biggest

Let me be the one-millionth person — is there a prize for that? — to write about the importance of the Mariners’ nine-game road trip to play the Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox.

If you believe some, the season will either be saved or lost on this trip. If you believe others, a rough trip would mean nothing because there’s still half a season to play. If you believe me, it’s somewhere in between.

Yes, this is a trip that will show how the Mariners measure up against the best team in the NL and two of the best in the AL. But, as Mariners closer David Aardsma said, it’s not the number of wins and losses on this trip that will determine whether the Mariners are legitimate contenders for the postseason. It’s how the Mariners compete.

“It’s not even about winning,” Aardsma said. ” It’s about playing tough and being with them every step of the way.

“In all honesty, it is just nine games. It’s the middle of the season and it’s still June. The big trip is going to be our second-to-last road trip when we’ve got all three teams in our division.”

He’s right. Unless the Mariners fold big-time (I don’t see it happening as long as the pitching stays healthy) or the Angels or Rangers make a huge run (don’t see that happening, either), we’ll be talking about a 10-game stretch on the road in September that’ll make the current nine-game trip seem trivial.

From Sept. 3-13, they play four games at Oakland, three at the Angels and three at Texas. I’d be surprised if the division isn’t won or lost then.

“That’s going to be the biggie,” Aarsma said. “But if we can play on this trip like we have been playing, we can play with anybody.”

So enjoy this nine-game trip. Just don’t get too wrapped up in it.

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