Mariners face tough foes down stretch

Mariners face tough foes down stretch

SEATTLE -- The Mariners don't have playoff aspirations, but every team they will face the rest of the season will be in the thick of a postseason push. The Mariners began a three-game set on Monday with the Orioles and are set to play the Rangers, Angels and A's to close out the 2012 campaign.

Despite tough matchups, Mariners manager Eric Wedge doesn't believe his young team is looking to the offseason a couple of weeks early. In fact, he admits there's a different feel during games.

"I think there's more of a buzz out on the field, just because it's a little bit different," Wedge said. "In regard of the way these guys are going about their business, I've been proud of the way they've handled themselves. Regardless of who we're playing, they're showing up and getting after it.

"There are some games that are perceived as more meaningful than others because, quite frankly, they are. From our standpoint, every game, every win means something for us. I know they do for other teams, too, but as we're building this thing and moving forward, every win means something."

With expanded rosters in the month of September, Wedge has the job of balancing playing time with winning. He'll continue to roll out a lineup consistent with those earlier in the season, he said, but that doesn't mean the younger players won't see time. It all depends on what he feels gives the Mariners the best chance to win. On most days, so far, that has been the same guys who were with the team before September callups.

"Guys have been grinding through this thing all year, or guys have been up here most of the year, been through the ups and downs," Wedge said. "It says a lot about how you finish a season and how you play towards the end. Whether you win or lose, how you go about your business, that means more than anything. I'm proud of the way they've been going about their business. We've got 15 games left and I expect them to keep doing the same thing."