Mariners notebook: The stretch run begins now, McClendon says
BOSTON – This is it. If there was any question about how these final 36 games will be approached, Lloyd McClendon answered it – full go.
Dustin Ackley very well may be the last regular to get a day off. It is safe to say the Mariners are in a stretch run.
“This is it. It really is,” McClendon said. “We have got to up our game in a lot of different ways, both mentally and physically because they all get tough from here on out.”
Wednesday in Philadelphia may have been a wake-up call. The Mariners know they let a win get away. Logan Morrison said as much after the game and reiterated it today in Boston.
“It doesn’t matter who we play or where they are in the standings. It’s the big leagues. They are going to come out prepared and ready to play. We have to be more prepared and more ready to play and realize that the games mean a lot more to us than it does to them,” he said.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier with just nine games at home in the month of September. Luckily playing well on the road was something the Mariners mastered early this season.
“If we are going to be successful, we are going to have to do it on the road,” McClendon said. “(The schedule) is what it is, we will deal with it. We’ve done it all year with the travel and schedule. We don’t talk about it, we don’t make excuses about it, we just go out and do it. It’s no different in September.”
• Dustin Ackley is back in the lineup after getting the day off Wednesday in part to give his sore back a break. McClendon doesn’t believe the back will be a problem going forward.
“He’s fine,” he said. “Just getting him cleaned up. It’s been a while since he has had a complete day off. It was nice to kind of rest him a little bit.”
• Michael Saunders has missed the last two games with the Rainiers after being hit with flu-like symptoms. He most likely will miss another 2-3 games pushing his return further back.
• Robinson Cano will participate in the All-Star Series 2014. For the first time since 2006, MLB will send a team of All-Stars to play a series of five games in Japan against Samurai Japan (Japan’s National Team). Ron Washington will manage the group, which will include Adam Jones, Yasiel Puig and Albert Pujols. An exhibition game against the Hanshin Tigers and Yomiuri Giants will take place before the series opener at Kyocera Dome in Osaka. Games 2-4 will be played at the Tokyo Done and Game 5 will be at Sapporo Dome.
• Dominic Leone spent the off-day at home in Norwich, Conn. Best part of being home? Mom cooked dinner of course.
“No one cooks Italian like her. Chicken parm is her specialty. Great to be home,” he said.
Leone, who grew up a Red Sox fan, was thrilled to be at Fenway Park.
“I used to come to games every chance I could,” he said. “I came back last year, mid-September. Two buddies of mine came up for a game just to watch. It’s crazy. I was sitting out in right field and now I’m in the clubhouse. Oh wait, I’m in the dugout. The dugout! It’s pretty cool.”