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I'd say "that's why they play the games", but it's still March, so I guess that's why they sit around thinking optimistically about the games yet to be played.

John Lackey will join Kelvim Escobar in opening the season on the disabled list after an MRI performed Friday revealed a strained triceps. The problem is just above the back of Lackey's elbow, a different area than the discomfort in the inside of the elbow joint that set Lackey back this spring and kept him from making his first Cactus League start until March 10.

Lackey will not throw at all for the next three to four weeks and will be re-evaluated before he is cleared to begin a throwing program.  That timetable would seem to indicate an early May return as the most optimistic scenario.
On a more positive note, Escobar went through a strength test on his pitching shoulder Friday and began his throwing program on Saturday, playing catch from about 45 feet for five minutes.

Reagins said a mid- to early May return for Escobar is an optimistic target "if everything goes well." (link) defines "mojo" as "the art or practice of casting magic spells; magic; voodoo."

Rising, indeed. With still another couple weeks to go in ST, the Mariners' closest rivals suddenly find themselves having to deal with a situation in which they'll lose at least 10-15 starts by their top two horses. I don't care who you are or what kind of depth you have - this is never a good thing for a team to endure, and if you're an Angels fan, there's just no positive way to spin giving 10+ of Lackey/Escobar's starts to Ervin Santana and Dustin Moseley.

As an M's fan, though, even if it is a little unseemly to take joy in someone else's injury problems, you have to see this as an encouraging development. The division's probably going to be a tight race, and something that makes the Angels worse is every bit as valuable as something that makes the Mariners better. After all, it doesn't matter how you make the playoffs as long as you make the playoffs. If we can do it with 82 wins because the entire LAnaheim roster contracts viral encephalitis, then whatever, we're still one of eight teams gunning for a title. And that's all we really want.

Probability is that these injuries - assuming their given timelines are correct - make the Angels a win or two worse. And that, in turn, improves the Mariners' chances of winning the division by roughly 6-12%. That's pretty substantial. I'm still deathly afraid of watching our offense, but even so I feel like we're getting closer and closer to pulling up right alongside the preseason favorites. We might even be there already.

Of course, it's important to remember that anything can happen within a small sample. After Felix went down last year, the M's won all four of the games started by his replacement, Cha Baek. The Red Sox went 5-2 in games started by Schilling replacements. Small samples are volatile, and instead of going, say, 6-6 in the missed starts, the Angels could go 8-4 or 10-2 and actually come out of it unscathed. That is entirely within the realm of possibility.

However, the odds are that these events will hurt them and help us. And if you pile enough of those up over the course of the season, then you're going to find yourself leaving work a few hours early an awful lot come October.