SEATTLE -- As the Mariners opened the second half of their season against American League West-rival Texas and hoping to escape a five-game tailspin, manager Eric Wedge said there's plenty of time and plenty fight left in his club. The Mariners came out of the All-Star break with a 43-48 record and were 7 1/2 games back of the first-place Rangers, their biggest deficit of the season, as their losing streak came right when Texas was ripping off seven straight wins. But with 32 of their remaining 71 games against AL West foes, the Mariners will be able to set their own course for how the finish plays out.
"We've got a lot of baseball still to be played," Wedge said. "We're going to be playing the teams we need to play, and that's all you can ask for." The first-year Mariners manager said he's encouraged by how his team has battled this season, learning how to compete in so many close games with a quality pitching staff. "I think we saw a little bit of everything in the first half," he said. "But one thing these guys proved is they can find a way to win ballgames late, and that's a strong attribute. Obviously we need to make it a little easier on ourselves by being a little more consistent offensively and coming out here and just being a more well-rounded baseball club where everybody is doing their part." Wedge said his goal for the remainder of the season is to "be a more consistent ballclub" than the one that opened the year 5-12 and closed the first half on a 6-13 stretch. In between, the team went 32-23 and inserted itself in the AL West chase even while undergoing a midseason makeover with the arrival of a number of rookies. "You've got an interesting group of players here," Wedge said. "You talk about some of the younger players we have and some of the veterans and guys at different points in their career, but collectively they've been real good. They've been there for each other and pulling for each other. "But individually we've got to keep making sure everybody is getting better, and if we do that, we'll be a more consistent ballclub. It's a process. It takes time."