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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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April 1, 2008 11:33 PM

The aftermath: 5-4 Rangers win

Posted by Larry Stone

Sorry for the lack of updates, folks, but on a night game with so many plot twists, my main priority has to be writing my newspaper story on our tight deadline. If you had seen me sweating blood in the latter innings trying to make sense of it all, you'd understand.

What a devastating loss for the Mariners -- but mitigated by a truly outstanding effort by His Highness, the Big Dog. I was impressed not just with Felix's stuff, excellent as usual, but his economy of pitches, and especially his composure. Yeah, his throwing error was bad, but he made a handful of great fielding plays and always seemed in control of himself, and the game. I'd say this bodes well for a big year from him.

On the downer side, 15 left on base is obviously unacceptable. I know the vultures are already circling Richie Sexson, but I don't think it's fair to write him off after two games. He was quite a standup guy after the game, availing himself right away to reporters -- all of us under very tight deadlines.,

He admitted he got over-anxious in the at-bat in which he struck out with the bases loaded against Benoit. He said he felt the fans were behind him in that at-bat, and observed that they only boo because they want so badly for him to succeed.

"Down deep, they want me to be successful,'' he said. "This is just two games. I am going to have a big year. This is not a major setback."

I was surprised that McLaren didn't pinch-hit Mike Morse for Brad Wilkerson in the seventh against lefty Eddie Guardado. It seemed like the ideal situation for Morse's hot bat, and McLaren said he considered it. But I think he wanted to show confidence in Wilkerson, who ended up striking out with a runner on base. Wilkerson had a tough 0-for-5 night and is still hitless.

I wouldn't worry too much about Putz. Back to back nights in the cold weather -- I'm sure it was not easy getting loose. I didn't have time to wait around for J.J. to come out to his locker and give his take, but if anyone has earned a little grace, it's Putz.

I'm not sure if anyone is still up, but I'm going to sign off and get some sleep myself. I'll be back at it tomorrow.

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