McClendon: "The pressures keep building and building, and it’s my job to put things back in perspective for this club and get them to the point where they can relax and play the way they’re capable of playing."
Perplexing and frustrating were two words Lloyd McClendon used Tuesday to describe his feelings on the Mariners’ ongoing offensive woes.
“I find myself sitting in bed at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning trying to figure out what the hell is going on,” the Mariners manager said. “At some point — and I’m not like the masses — but at some point we’ve got to get it going. You have to start showing signs of coming out of this — (or) do something drastic if we don’t.”
A day after the Mariners managed two hits — two! — off journeyman Joe Blanton in a 4-1 loss to the Royals, McClendon used his pregame press briefing Tuesday to preach a calm response among Mariners fans. (It’s worth noting that he ranted in a rather calm manner.)
“Every journey is different in a baseball season. And this journey has been very, very strange in a lot of different ways,” he said.
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“The expectations have been so high from an external point of view that unless this team wins the World Series and goes sweep in four, it’s almost like it’s been a disaster to this point. So the pressures keep building and building, and it’s my job to put things back in perspective for this club and get them to the point where they can relax and play the way they’re capable of playing,” he added. “A lot of times with players, if you don’t live up to those expectations — and I’m speaking from experience here — you somehow think you’ve been a failure. And that’s not the case. And that’s what our season has felt like to this point. We’re seven games under (.500) with a ton of baseball left to play. I just heard a guy on MLB Network say, ‘The season’s over for the Seattle Mariners.’ It’s just absolutely amazing. I remember last year, we were eight and half games out and (many thought) the season was over for the Seattle Mariners. But in the end it was a hell of a journey and we took it down to the last day.”
The outside expectations for the Mariners, he said, “are getting to the point where they’re absolutely ridiculous. … People outside of this team need to take a breath and just relax a little bit. This team is going to be OK.”
Many analysts had the Mariners pegged as a playoff team this season. They are 32-39 entering Tuesday’s game against the Royals, 8.5 games out of the AL West lead.
“This season’s not over,” McClendon said. “We need to just take a step back and everybody take a deep breath and just allow these guys to play, and they’ll be OK.”