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Originally published August 22, 2014 at 7:06 PM | Page modified August 22, 2014 at 9:26 PM

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Lloyd McClendon says Mariners have to improve game for stretch run

With 20 of 35 games remaining on the road, Mariners will need to continue success away from Safeco Field.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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McClendon a great manager, but number one improvement is start Taylor everyday at short. Enough of platooning. MORE
@aff Yea, I suspect that will happen. Taylor is not only a great shortstop, but swings a much better stick as well. MORE
What a 9th inning Friday night! Heck of a come-back! Let's hope it carries over into a starting attack Saturday! MORE

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BOSTON – Lloyd McClendon didn’t go out of his way to talk about it. But in a pregame conversation Friday, the Mariners’ manager said his team is starting the stretch run to the end of the season. After Friday’s game, Seattle will have 35 games remaining.

“This is it,” McClendon said. “It really is.”

Going forward players won’t be getting days off for rest unless absolutely necessary.

“We have to up our game in a lot of different ways, both mentally and physically, because they all get tough from here on out,” he said.

The Mariners will have to make that run on the road. Only 15 of the remaining 35 games are at home. But they are 34-26 on the road.

“If we are going to be successful, we are going to have to do it on the road,” McClendon said. “I think we’ve got nine home games in September. I don’t know who in the hell made that schedule up. That’s pretty tough. It is what it is and we’ll deal with it. We’ve done it all year. We don’t talk about it. We don’t make excuses. We just go out and do it. It will be no different in September.”

Robinson Cano, who has played in a few stretch runs with the Yankees, is ready for it.

“This is a time where a manager isn’t going to sub,” Cano said. “You don’t want to take a game off, because every game means a lot. It’s must-win right now. You gotta be ready every single day. That’s why in the offseason I work really hard because this is the time where the team really needs you — these kinds of situations. Whatever you did in the past doesn’t count right now.”

Cano excited for Japan

Cano had planned to go to Japan for vacation. So why not play some baseball while he’s over there? On Thursday, Major League Baseball announced that Cano, Albert Pujols, Yasiel Puig and Adam Jones are slated to travel with an all-star team to Japan to face the Samurai Japan — the Japanese national team — in a series of games in November.

“I had a great experience in 2011 when I went to Taiwan,” he said. “Those are great experiences that as a player you want to have. I have the chance to be able to end my career here in the United States and hopefully nothing happens, but those are things I want to do again because I had a lot of fun with a bunch of great guys.”

Note

Michael Saunders, who missed the last two games on his rehab stint, will miss the next two or three days as he battles the flu.

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