The Mariners didn’t do the Angels any favors by starting Wednesday night’s game at 7 p.m. The Angels will bus to the Seattle airport afterward for a three-hour red-eye flight to Minneapolis.
With no delays, they are scheduled to land at around 5 a.m. CDT and be in their hotel by 6 a.m. ahead of Thursday’s 7 p.m. game against the Twins, an itinerary that can disrupt the circadian rhythms of even the most well-traveled of players.
Not exactly the best way to start a four-game series against one of three teams ahead of you in the American League wild-card race.
“It’s terrible, but that’s what you get for playing on the West Coast,” setup man Joe Smith said. “In fairness, when the Mariners scheduled it, they probably thought it would be a big game. You just try to get some sleep on the plane. We’ll have to run on adrenaline.”
That can get a team through the first game of a series. It’s the second and third games that can be challenging.
“That first day you’re still riding high, and then it’s usually the second and third day when you struggle,” closer Huston Street said. “You play a game at night, then you’re sleeping at altitude in an airplane seat, and the flight is only three hours, so it’s not like you’re going to sleep seven hours on the plane.
“Plus, it’s September. You have to figure out a way to overcome. You have to make sure you go to bed early that first night, really catch up on your sleep, and hydrate.”
Third baseman David Freese said preparations for such a grueling two-day schedule began well before Wednesday.
“The important thing is you have to prepare for this before it happens by getting rest, staying healthy, so a night like this doesn’t affect you as much as it can,” Freese said. “It’s up to you to know yourself, what you need to do and to step up when the time comes. It’s all mental. I believe that.”
Back to work
Street was available to pitch Wednesday night after being down on Monday and Tuesday because of an illness that caused him to lose 13 pounds in three days and take two bags of intravenous fluids on Monday.
Street began suffering flu symptoms on Saturday and was vomiting in the bullpen during the sixth inning on Sunday. What happened in the ninth made him more ill — he gave up five ninth-inning runs in a devastating 5-3 loss to Houston.
But he refused to use his illness as an excuse.
“When I started throwing up, they asked me straight up, ‘Can you go? Do you feel like you can go?’ My answer was yes, absolutely,” Street said. “And I felt fine out there Sunday. You’ve got a lot of adrenaline, it’s a big game, it’s a big moment. I’m not blaming it on that by any means whatsoever.”
On second thought
Second baseman Taylor Featherston is in a one-for-20 slump, but that wasn’t the reason he wasn’t in the lineup for the first time since he was activated off the disabled list on Sept. 1.
Featherston twice failed to get sacrifice bunts down Tuesday night and did not properly communicate with shortstop Erick Aybar on a relay play that allowed Seth Smith to score from first on a single to left-center field.
“Taylor is doing some things well for us, but he had a rough game [Tuesday] night,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “He’ll be back in there, but it’s a good day for him to exhale a little bit.”