So the Mariners lost in extra innings to the Twins on Sunday afternoon, finishing the homestand with a 4-5 record. Things didn’t get much better for them when they left Seattle. Because of severe thunderstorms, high winds and tornado warnings, air travel wasn’t too enjoyable. The flight I was on with MLB.com’s Greg Johns was one of the last flights they let land at DFW at 7 p.m. It was a bit like The Fernando Rodney Experience. Two tornados hit the ground outside of Fort Worth.
The Mariners were trying to fly into Dallas when the storm was really going full strength. It didn’t happen. Their team flight was diverted to San Antonio after trying to land at DFW airport at about midnight. The team sat on the tarmac for about two hours there before flying into DFW around 3 a.m. They arrived at their hotel around 4 a.m. With most players not getting to sleep till 4 or 5 a.m., McClendon scheduled a later arrival for players. Most didn’t get to the field till about 3:45 p.m. He also cancelled on-field batting practice for them.
“It was the worst flight of my life,” said Robinson Cano.
The turbulence was bad, the landing was tough with the planes going side to side in the final descent.
Most Read Sports Stories
- What to watch for when Seahawks take on Steelers in preseason game
- Even jaded fans must admit the Mariners have a good chance to end their playoff drought
- Las Vegas police say Marshawn Lynch was asleep in car before arrest
- With lineup at full strength, Mariners cruise to a drama-free win vs. the Rangers
- Mailbag: The true cost of Pac-12 Networks, Big Ten timing, the need for night games and more
“There’s nothing you can do about it so you might as well relax,” said Logan Morrison. “I was watching a movie and laughing at (Kyle) Seager. He was sweating through his shirt. He dry-heaved a little.”
Seager was not pleased about his fear being outed to the media. He said there were no dry heaves. So how was his experience?
“I didn’t particularly enjoy it,” he said. “I don’t mind flying. It’s not necessarily a joy of mine. It doesn’t bother me. But when it’s shaking like that, I’m not a big fan of that at all.”
Manager Lloyd McClendon had no issues with the flight.
“I don’t know what all the commotion is about,” McClendon said. “Hell, I was asleep the whole time. I woke and they said we landed. Any flight that you can talk about is a good flight.”
The Rangers had similar problems getting out of Los Angeles. They were re-routed to Austin with much of the other commercial traffic headed into DFW. They landed back home around 4 a.m.
The weather isn’t supposed to be great for tonight’s game. There are thunderstorms that are supposed to hit the Arlington area around 8 p.m., if not sooner. My guess is that the game will be delayed to start and then go from there. Could be a long night for two teams that didn’t get in till this morning.
Cruz and Hamilton back in Texas
Nelson Cruz got to stay at his home in Arlington, not far from Globe Life Park. He played eight seasons with the Rangers. Obviously, he returned to Texas last season with the Orioles, so this year it’s a little less hectic.
“This place is still special,” he said. “Last year was a bigger deal than this year. I think it’s something you get used to. Last year was more of a shock.”
His return is also overshadowed by the fact that the Josh Hamilton was also back at the stadium. The Rangers held a press conference to announce the much-rumored trade with the Angels that brought Hamilton back to Texas had been finalized.
“Hopefully, it works out for him,” Cruz said. “I know he has good memories of being here when he was with the Rangers. Hopefully, he can be the player he once was.”
Cruz received a warm ovation from Rangers fans upon his return last season. He went 1-for-5 with a homer the game. . Will it continue?
“Well, it was good till I hit that homer,” he said. “I’m with their rival now.”
Hisashi Iwakuma (strained lat) stayed in Seattle to continue his rehab. He is going through treatment and doing shoulder strengthening exercises. McClendon said Iwakuma will also do some light tossing to keep his arm “live.”
Tom Wihelmsen (hyperextended elbow) is playing catch. The plan is for him to throw in a bullpen session in Houston.
Justin Ruggiano becomes the fifth player to bat lead-off for the Mariners this season. Ruggiano has started at leadoff 18 times in his career. But this change wasn’t because of production. McClendon wanted to give Austin Jackson a day off, something he has planned to do.
Dustin Ackley and Logan Morrison were both given days off, despite a right-hander – Yovanni Gallardo – starting on the mound.
“(Jackson) needs a day, and quite honestly, I think Morrison needs a day, so they are both getting days and I don’t think it will hurt to give Ackley (a day off) as well,” McClendon said. “There’s a combination of things going on here. Obviously, get these guys a mental break with the rough starts. And we get our right-handers three days in a row so we can get them going. It’s not fair to ask them pinch hit and get big hits when they haven’t played much. This sharpens them up as well.”
Ackley is hitting .200 with a .245 on-base-percentage. He’s has four hits in his last 34 at-bats – all singles and one walk. Bad luck or not, Morrison is still hitting .159 with a .206 on-base percentage and a .209 slugging percentage. He has one extra base hit – a homer. He’s has one hit in his last 19 at-bats – the homer.
The three days in a row is in reference to the Rangers’ upcoming starters – lefties Ross Detwiler and the recently acquired Wandy Rodriguez.
For the first two series of this road trip, the Mariners have switched up their broadcast. Aaron Goldsmith will handle the TV duties on Root Sports with Mike Blowers, meanwhile Dave Sims will join Rick Rizzs on the radio broadcast. This isn’t new. They did this switch a couple times last season. Also Goldsmith does TV when Sims takes a few days off during the season. Goldsmith does plenty of TV in the offseason with the Pac-12 network and Fox Sports 1 on their college football and college basketball coverage. He will also do a handful of Fox national baseball games this season. He is expected to do TV for around 40 Mariners games this season. Sims broadcasts NFL football and the NCAA tournament for Westwood One radio and has plenty of experience.
This seems to be a big deal for many Mariners fans. Obviously people have their preferences with announcers and who they like and dislike. I’m indifferent since I rarely hear the broadcast in the press box. And the few times I watch on TV, I have the capacity to just kind of tune out what’s being said and not listen to what’s going on around me. It may be a reason for the many ex-girlfriends.
Official game notes