The Mariners start a series with the Los Angeles Angels tonight that will help shape the American League for the next month - Seattle could turn a 3 1/2 game lead against the Angels into 6 1/2 with a sweep, or see their lead cut to a half game.
Eric Wedge insists all games have the same importance until late in a season if a team is still in contention, so perhaps these games simply seem more exciting.
Off the field, the team activated Mauricio Robles from the disabled list and send him to Class A High Desert, and moved closer David Aardsma from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. In other words, it has no impact on when Aardsma can pitch again.
For the first time since May 22, Aardsma played catch today - and did so with catcher Adam Moore, who hadn't thrown a baseball since his April 7 knee injury. Both men felt good, and will throw every other day all week.
And now, the Mariners lineup vs. Angels RHP Dan Haren:
Ichiro RFBrendan Ryan SSJustin Smoak 1BAdam Kennedy 2BMiguel Olivo CCarlos Peguero LFFranklin Gutierrez CFMike Carp DHChone Figgins 3BJustin Vargas P