They say that losing can help build character.
If thats the case, the Mariners will soon be challenging St. Francis of Assisi and Dr. Albert Schweitzer in the character derby.
After starting the season with consecutive wins in Oakland, Seattle has now lost seven games in succession after a late rally Sunday couldnt avert a 6-4 loss to Cleveland. No one can see just how deep the yawning cavern swallowing Seattle is.
The Mariners have fully encamped in last place in the American League West, and theres no telling if there is any path that will lead to prosperity from where Seattle sits now.
Only Boston and Tampa Bay came into Sunday with fewer wins than Seattles two, and in both instances you can make a case that its just an early-season stumble and that things will get better for the Red Sox and Rays, both of whom could contend.
Its not at all clear you can talk about the Mariners that way.
In two of the last three seasons Seattle has lost 101 games, and despite a change of managers (Don Wakamatsu and interim skipper Darren Brown have been replaced by Eric Wedge), the play on the field is mostly the same occasionally decent pitching, questionable defense, rotten offense and how that changes no one seems to know.
“Were just going to see what kind of character we have, Adam Kennedy said. The veteran backup infielder, who had one of Seattles five hits Sunday, has played the last three games after starting second baseman Jack Wilson took himself out of Wednesdays game.
“You want to win every game, every week, every series, Kennedy said. “Weve lost the last seven games, but we shouldnt let that define our season. Were led by a good guy, Wedgie, and I think his leadership is what we need.
Wedge talks the talk, putting the best spin he can on things mostly out of his control the six runs allowed in four innings by starter Erik Bedard, for example, or for the need to play all four of his backups Kennedy, outfielders Ryan Langerhans and Michael Saunders and catcher Chris Gimenez in the same lineup just nine days into the season.
Langerhans hit a two-run homer and Saunders a solo shot in the seventh inning, but the Mariners were down 6-1 at that point thanks to Bedard having been pounded for six runs in four innings. There is a limit to how much catching up this roster is up for, and on Sunday, the Mariners werent capable of erasing an early 6-0 deficit.
“If wed started 0-6 on the road trip and had won two of three in this first home series, Langerhans said, “there would be reason for optimism. The fact is we have to get it done. No one in here is going to panic.
“Weve got to do better.
No argument here.
Only one of the players in the opening day lineup is hitting over .250, and that is Wilson (.333), who has sat out the last three games after committing errors on consecutive plays Wednesday in Texas and subsequently removing himself from the game.
Wedge suggested before the game that Wilson might be back in the lineup soon. If he is back Monday, hed replace the only other player on the roster averaging over .250 in more than a handful of at-bats Kennedy (.312).
Its not a pretty picture. The seven-game losing streak makes one think about 2010s 101 losses. The seven-gamer is the second of its kind in Seattles last 32 regular season games. There was a similar seven-game skid Sept. 8-15 last year.
The team has hit four home runs; two in the seasons first 78 innings, then two in the seventh inning Sunday. Langerhans has two of the homers, Saunders one, leaving only one starter, third baseman Chone Figgins, as the only starter with a homer. The 3-4-5 spots in the lineup, where most of any teams power is expected to be concentrated, have yet to produce any long balls.
“Id trade the (team home run leadership) if we could flop the record around and be 7-2 instead of 2-7, Langerhans said.
Trades like that cant be made, but if this goes on, trades of players seem inevitable.
Even nine games into the season, that kind of prognostication isnt difficult to make.