Nobody has to remind Ben Broussard what a late-season collapse feels like. The Mariner was a member of the Cleveland Indians two years ago...
DETROIT — Nobody has to remind Ben Broussard what a late-season collapse feels like.
The Mariner was a member of the Cleveland Indians two years ago when they sat poised to knock the Chicago White Sox out of the postseason with a week to go. The Indians were 1 ½ behind Chicago on Sept. 24 and leading the wild-card race, but went 1-6 the rest of the way, with just one of those games played on the road.
Chicago swept the final series in Cleveland and went on to win the World Series. The Indians, meanwhile, blew the wild-card lead to the Boston Red Sox that final weekend.
“It was bad because we were two games up in the wild card the last week, lost every game that last week and missed the wild card by one game,” he said. “So, I’ve been close and tasted it.”
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Broussard is now tasting a deeper kind of losing stretch, one that has never been equaled by a team as good as the Mariners were a couple of weeks ago. Seattle was 20 games above .500 upon entering its 127th game of the season 15 days ago.
Mariners manager John McLaren admits it has been a struggle at times to avoid being overwhelmed with negative thoughts as his team’s record-setting stretch of losses piles up. McLaren was asked whether he’d just been tempted to just say “the heck with it” and try to have fun by rolling out an experimental lineup.
“I think your gut’s got to take over and tell your mind, don’t give me bad thoughts, we’re here to win,” he said. “I’ve always been from that school. It’s what keeps me going. My gut’s got to override my mind a lot. To stay mentally tough and focused.
“Your mind plays games with you when things aren’t going good. My gut just keeps telling my mind ‘Stay out of the way for a while. We can do this.’ “
McLaren insisted he has tried to stay true to himself, keep his cool and avoid lashing out at others as a negative situation mounts.
“It’s the down time, when there’s a lot of time to think, that you battle yourself a bit,” he said. “There’s nothing to train you to lose 12 out of 13 games. It’s something you’ve just got to know that you’ve got to deal with. I have to lead by example. I try to be the same person every day and try to be myself, win, lose or draw.”
• Richie Sexson was back in the lineup Saturday after missing seven games with a sore left hamstring. He played first base and went 0 for 3 with a walk.
There had been talk of using Sexson as a designated hitter but the team, after consulting with head trainer Rick Griffin and Sexson, opted to play him at first base so he could stay loose and warm. Jose Vidro would have moved to first base had Sexson been the DH.
• Curtis Granderson of the Tigers hit his 22nd triple of the season off Jeff Weaver in the fourth inning. Granderson is the first major-leaguer since 1949 to notch as many triples in one year. Dale Mitchell of Cleveland hit 23.
Mitchell went on to hit only 20 more triples his entire career, which ended in 1956.
• The Mariners allowed three more seventh-inning runs. They have given up 20 combined runs on 16 hits in the seventh inning of their past four games.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read his daily blog at www.seattletimes.com/Mariners
For the record
vs. AL West: 22-22
vs. L.A.: 4-11
vs. Oakland: 10-3
vs. Texas: 8-8
vs. AL East: 23-17
vs. AL Cent.: 20-18
vs. NL: 9-9
vs. LHP: 24-10
vs. RHP: 50-56
Extra innings: 4-1