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Mariners Sweep Preseason Series With Rangers

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In recent years, the Mariners/Rangers rivalry has been pretty one-sided. In 2008, the Rangers took 11 of 19 games. In 2009, the Rangers took 11 of 19 games. In 2010, the Rangers took 12 of 19 games, and it felt like every game was started by Ian Snell. Then in 2011, the Rangers took 15 of 19 games, and it still felt like every game was started by Ian Snell for some reason. Over the last four years, when playing the Rangers, the Mariners have put up a 27-49 record. That is a really terrible record. That'd be a 58-104 record over a full season in which the Mariners I guess only play the Rangers.

But we've all gotten the sense that things are turning. Under Eric Wedge, and having gained more experience, the things the Mariners used to do, they will no longer do. This is a new team with a new purpose, and while the Rangers are the two-time defending American League champions, Monday we saw the 2012 Mariners put the finishing touches on a preseason series sweep. The Mariners scored six runs, and the Rangers - the dreaded Rangers, the terrifying Rangers, the supposedly unbeatable Rangers - scored four runs.

A win, you say. Right, this was a win. Don't diminish what this win means. This win marks the start of a new era in the rivalry between AL West competitors. In the previous era, it was a rivalry between big brother and little brother, baby bird and the ground. In the new era, it will be a rivalry between colleagues, between competitors of equal standing. This rivalry's about to get a lot more balanced, and if you can't see the writing within this afternoon's box score, be glad I'm here to interpret. This was a win, and this was a lot more than a win.

So now that I've written three paragraphs all tongue-in-cheek-like, yeah, what's actually going to happen is that the Rangers are probably going to keep on kicking the Mariners' asses. They'll probably do that in 2012, and odds are good that they'll do that in 2013. The Rangers are just devastatingly good, while the Mariners have the potential to be kind of good. Not equals. Still, preseason series sweep! No matter what the Rangers do to the Mariners over the course of the summer, they'll never be able to say that they weren't swept in March. I guess they will be able to say that, quite easily, but they would be lying. It's pretty easy to lie. Watch this. I'm not wearing socks! That was a lie. Or that was a lie.

I'm in a mad rush so thankfully this game didn't tell us anything we didn't already pretty much know. Blake Beavan threw an effective five innings on just 64 pitches, which, against the Rangers, is pretty good. But it wasn't the Rangers' full lineup and I've never even heard of Greg Miclat, and more importantly, Beavan missed one bat. He got two strikeouts, but just one swinging strike, on a breaking ball. So, Blake Beavan is still very much Blake Beavan, and not Felix Hernandez. After Beavan, Hong-Chih Kuo threw balls, Shawn Camp threw hittable strikes, and George Sherrill threw balls because he actually hates March, he just hates it, and he doesn't want to give March the satisfaction of a good George Sherrill. Then Chance Ruffin threw a one-run ninth inning against four more batters I've never heard of.

Offensively, the surprise was that Jesus Montero drilled an extra-base hit to the left-center gap instead of the right-center gap. Miguel Olivo blasted a three-run homer that just got out of the yard, and homering is one of the things that Miguel Olivo does. Vinnie Catricala pulled a home run just fair down the left field line, and that's also one of the things that he does. Nobody who hit for the Mariners today did something that he doesn't do. Ichiro was thrown out on a play at the plate even though he appeared to be safe, and after he was called out he got up and had a brief and terse conversation with the umpire. Either players actually care about these games, or they forget that they're meaningless games and get into regular mode. I guess those are sort of the same thing. Ten batters faced Mark Hamburger, who can't ever be said to be throwing cheese, because he's a hamburger. (hamburger)

Out the door I go. Off to Arizona for a few days tomorrow morning so I don't know what the posting schedule's going to look like. Wait, the Mariners are tied atop the Cactus League standings with three other teams right now? This shit is unacceptable.