Among those who spoke was DH Edgar Martinez, who told his teammates that they appeared to be pressing. (After batting .278 in the first half of the season, Seattle through Sunday had hit .259 since the All-Star break.) "Edgar talked about having fun, about relaxing and not trying to win two games in one day," says closer Shigetoshi Hasegawa.
The powwow had a positive effect: After the loss to Texas, Seattle won four straight until Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Angels. Despite the end of the streak the Mariners still trailed the Red Sox by only a half game in the wildcard race and Oakland by 3� games in the AL West.
If Seattle reaches the playoffs, it would be a dangerous team: The Mariners have the best bullpen among AL playoff contenders (3-38 ERA); were out-scoring opponents by 149, the best differential in the league; and were 31-25 in games against other AL contenders (tied with the Yankees for best record in the league).
Brewers Closer Danny Kolb
Lights Out and Injury-free
Righthander Danny Kolb threw 98 mph when the Rangers drafted him in 1995, but his career was derailed the past four seasons by a series of elbow and shoulder injuries that led to his release in spring training this year. The Brewers signed him to a minor league contract, called him up on June 18 and made him their closer after trading Mike DeJean to St. Louis. From July 19 through Sunday, Kolb was 18 for 20 in save situations with a 2.13 ERA.
"He reminds me of Robb Nen," says Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin. "Robb had a great arm but was hurt all the time. Danny always had the arm strength. He just never had a chance to pitch when his arm didn't hurt. Danny could be like Nen [now with the Giants] and prove to be our closer for the next four or five years. A lot of times the team that rehabs a pitcher runs out of time, and another team reaps the benefits."
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