For Mariners, back end of rotation at forefront

Now, Sele has big role in determining outcome of championship series

ALCS notebook


October 22, 2001|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK - This was not what Seattle Mariners manager Lou Piniella had in mind when the postseason began, but his team's chances of winning the second tier of the playoffs - for the moment - have come down to the second tier of his starting rotation.

The Mariners went with No. 4 starter Paul Abbott in a potential get-even start last night against the New York Yankees. He pitched five innings and didn't allow a hit, but he also walked eight in Seattle's loss.

Now, Piniella must look to 15-game winner Aaron Sele tonight in a game that will play a huge role in determining who ends up in the World Series.

Trouble is, Sele has never won a postseason game. He is a combined 0-5 in six Division Series and ALCS starts, and four of those starts have come against the Yankees.

So, how is Piniella feeling?

"I thought he pitched well in Game 1 of this series," Piniella said. "He gave us an opportunity to win. Three runs in six innings; that's a very acceptable start. It just so happened that Andy Pettitte pitched better.

"But Aaron is experienced. He knows what he is going to do. He's not going to get rattled out there. He's going to give us a good, professional effort, and that's all we can expect."

Sele doesn't apologize for his postseason record. He has never given up more than four earned runs in a playoff start, though he did give up four runs (two earned) in two innings in the Mariners' blowout loss to the Cleveland Indians in Game 3 of the Division Series.

"The starting pitcher's job is to go out there and to pitch ballgames and give your team a chance to win. Whether you get the win or loss, the ultimate goal is to get your team a victory, whether it's in the regular season or the postseason."

Yankees shake it off

The Yankees gave up more runs - 14 - in Game 3 than any Yankees team has ever given up in a postseason game, which is saying a lot when you consider how many postseason games this franchise has had, but shortstop Derek Jeter said yesterday that one loss is just one loss.

"It's over with," he said, "so we can't change what happened. But when you get into postseason, it's about wins and losses, regardless of what the score is.

"Whether you are beaten by 10 runs or one run, it's still a loss, or you win by 10 runs or one run, you have to forget about it and come out the next day. So we have forgotten about last night's game, and I'm sure they have as well."

Yankees manager Joe Torre feels the same way, but he had hoped not to test that theory.

"I remember before the first game, I complimented Lou on the way his ballclub bounced back from losing, 17-2," Torre said. "Little did I know, a week later or whatever it was, he was going to [beat us] the same way. The one thing about it, it's just one loss."

Game 3 meeting

Piniella continues to receive praise for firing up his team with the guarantee after Game 2 that the Mariners would force the series back to Seattle. He also got praise from his players for the brief team meeting before Game 3, but discounted his impact on the 14-3 blowout.

"I haven't been in too many meetings," he said. "I think I've had two all year, one Opening Day and one last night. So that goes to show what I think of team meetings. I think if you have too many of them, they lose their purpose. At the same time, we've got a veteran team that's very professional, that knows what needs to be done, but I just did want to say a couple of things that I thought were important. Because I said some things or didn't say some things, those things don't win or lose a game."

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