OT dilleet re: wild card it looks like the Angels have the will to win the big ones
Before the season I picked the Angels and Tigers as the best teams in either league. I've gone on about this at length on the baseball board. The Mariners can hit the ball, that's sure, but they don't have pitching that generally matches up with Anaheim's. Yesterday should have been an exception, and indeed we chased the Angels' starter before the 2nd inning, but then allowed those relentless Halos to get back in the game, and then another bad umpiring call may have cost us the game. Same umpire as yesterday. Dunno what's up with the umpiring corps these days, but this is 3 or 4 (if you listen to Jose Lopez) blatantly bad calls that have gone against us in two games.
About our announcers, I don't have a problem with them at all, as you know. I love Niehaus, and Rizzs is no worse than many another. Mike Blowers is actually quite good as a color guy, too, I think. Funny thing about that ... on Saturday Ken Levine did a game with Rizzs. He was a regular with Niehaus for two years back in the early 90s, when the Mariners stank, and I don't think I've ever enjoyed listening to two guys play off each other as well as those two did then. I understand that he also did a year with Jon Miller and the Orioles. I think Levine planned a limited run so he could write a book, which he did ( http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CE5DB103DF937A35757C0A965958260
), and then went back to writing and producing for TV (Cheers, Frasier, etc.)
He did a competent job with Rizzs (who he replaced those two years, when Rizzs was briefly Ernie Harwell's replacement in Detroit, where he was not well received), but I would have enjoyed it so much more if he'd done that game with Niehaus. Levine did drop at least one howler about that 30-3 Texas-Baltimore game the previous day, saying that with Baltimore at the plate and down by that much, the tying run "hadn't been born yet".
This year I figured the Mariner to win 85 games and miss the playoffs, so doing exactly that wouldn't really be a disappointment. We don't really have the pitching for a deep playoff run. But then again, we didn't in 1995, and we almost made it to the Series that year, so you just never know. One good playoff start from Batista or Washburn (I expect that much from Weaver and Felix) might be all it takes for a series win. Repeat a couple times and we're there.
I agree that the Yanks are a more immediate threat than the Angels, who seem out of reach. But the M's really just have to put their heads down and win the games they play, and let the playoffs take care of themselves. I expect a good game tonight, too, especially if Felix is on. That happens, combined with the stuffing I expect Roger to get from Josh Beckett today, and we're no worse off than we were a couple weeks ago, with a 2-game lead on the Yanks and many more still to play. Including the series at Yankee Stadium we play next week.