By Shannon Drayer
Have the magical mystery lineups lost their magic? After five straight losses it would appear so, but for Lloyd McClendon there really isn't any mystery about the losing streak.
"We haven't played well, that's all," he pointed out before Sunday's game. "Listen, the Yankees beat us three games. We didn't lose those games, they beat us. They outplayed us. That's baseball. We didn't hit in the Felix game and yesterday we let a lot of opportunities go by. That's the way the game goes. We don't like it, but it happens to everybody."
When you are scrapping to win games you have to execute, and we didn't see that yesterday with failed bunts and hit and runs. A baserunning mistake didn't help either. Missed opportunities, as the skipper said.
"As you can see the last five days we've been in them but one thing can cause you to lose the ballgame. You just have to pick up the pieces and get ready for the next one."
• Reinforcements are getting closer. Corey Hart has progressed to taking batting practice on the field and is starting to run. Justin Smoak is running as well, and Michael Saunders was scheduled to hit in the cages today for the first time since being put on the DL. All three could be ready to be sent out on rehab assignments by the end of the week. The Rainiers at some point could have 1/3 of the Mariners starting lineup in their lineup.
"Yeah, they get better," McClendon said. "They don't help me much, but Tacoma gets better."
• Taijuan Walker made a strong start for the Rainiers Saturday night, going 6 2/3 innings, allowing a run on one hit, three walks and seven strikeouts. While McClendon liked what he saw in the pitching line, that was not the most important thing that stood out.
"I'm not really concerned about performances, good or bad. I'm more concerned about his physical capabilities," he said. "He got his pitch count up to 94 yesterday, so we are certainly moving in the right direction. We will see if he is able to answer the bell and get ready for his next start."
McClendon was asked if Walker would make another start for the Rainiers.
"I don't have a timetable for when Taijuan Walker is coming here," McClendon said. "Contrary to popular belief, I don't make that decision when he is coming here. My job is to take the players that the GM gives me and help them perform to the best of their ability. I don't pick the roster. Do I have a say? Yes. Do I dictate when Taijuan Walker is coming here? No. That's a question for the GM."
Something to remember, and from a lot of the comments I see on the blog some of you need a reminder. McClendon has input but ultimately roster decisions are made by the general manager.