There's always a game tomorrow in baseball. Well, not always, I suppose. There are a handful of off-days sprinkled throughout the year. But there are games nearly every day, and that can be a bit of a double-edged sword.
For most of April, the M's have ended a day with a loss, often,an embarrassing one. There's not much to say after getting drilled 16-9 by Houston, or 8-3 by Houston, or 10-3 by Houston. Nobody feels like talking about games like that, and the only comforting thought in that situation is that the team will have a chance to erase the memory of a bad game with a better contest tomorrow. Sure, it hurts to lose, but when another game is just fourteen hours away, at least there's an opportunity for fans and players alike to wash the bitter taste out of their mouths quickly.
The flip side to such a rigorous schedule is that there's no time to savor a win like yesterday's. Like so few other ballgames this year, last night's victory featured a good effort from the entire team. The bullpen threw a couple scoreless frames. The offense banged out 11 hits. Brandon Maurer was sharp, Kyle Seager had three more knocks and a dinger, while Carlos Peguero hit a home run that that isn't scheduled to land for another hour or so.
Eric Wedge and the Mariners have little time to revel in all that. Instead, the dugout boss will consider pressing questions about tonight's game: should I reward Peguero and start him against a tough lefty? Will I take Endy Chavez out of the leadoff slot? Should I end this stupid 'Ryan on the bench, Andino at short' business?
The big factor, though, will be whether Aaron Harang can turn a potent Los Angeles lineup over three times without running into trouble. The Angels have struggled out of the gate, but there's no doubt that Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and Mark Trumbo have the power to send 89 mile per hour fastballs to whichever upper deck is most convenient. Harang has always been homer prone, and after coughing up three gopher balls against the Rangers last weekend, he'll need to do a better job locating his pitches tonight.
More specifically, Wedge will need to read his starter. I thought he pulled Maurer at an ideal time last night -- the rookie had pitched well and there was no reason to jeopardize a strong start by leaving him in too long when a fresh arm like Carter Capps is available -- and I hope he's not afraid to make another quick hook if Harang gets in trouble. This bullpen is deep enough to carry a heavy burden for a game, particularly with the King slated to throw tomorrow.