And the Mariners offensive shortcomings keep Seattle coming up short.
With starting pitcher Doug Fister giving the Mariners a chance to take three of four games from the Oakland As with a win Sunday, the Mariners hitters just never got on board in a 5-2 As win.
Seattle had eight chances with a man in scoring position to get a run home, and in all eight chances came up with nothing. In two of the cases a grounder by Milton Bradley in the first and a grounder by Ryan Langerhans in the seventh Seattle got a run home by hitting the ball so softly the Oakland defense could do nothing but watch the runner score from third.
What is needed is some robust hitting, however, and the Mariners dont seem to store any of that in their arsenal.
Its true that Oakland lefty Brett Anderson is one of the best young pitchers in the game. Its equally true that the Mariners make almost everyone look like one of the best young (or old) pitchers in the game.
“These guys have got to find a way to fight through what they are going through mentally, manager Eric Wedge said. “Weve got to get back to taking advantage of opportunities.
Sunday was the finale of a seven-game Safeco Field homestand for Seattle in which the Mariners went 3-4. They won the second game of the homestand against Detroit 13-3. In the other six games they scored 13 runs — total.
Take away the one game as a fluke in truth it was, because in only one other of Seattles 23 games have the Mariners scored more than six runs and Seattle hitters averaged just .221 and only 2.17 runs per games.
Worse yet, when you remove the 13-run game against the Tigers Tuesday, the Mariners went a composite 4-for-39 win men in scoring position in the other six games.
For a little perspective, thats one fewer hit with men in scoring position in six games than the As had in Sundays game alone, and it was a relatively unremarkable game for the Oakland offense, which in the third inning got a leadoff triple from Coco Crisp and couldnt get him home with Seattle starter Doug Fister bearing down.
“I give him a lot of credit, catcher Miguel Olivo said of Fister performance. “He had good stuff. We just need to put some runs together.
They havent done it for Fister, having scored just 11 runs for him while hes been in the game in his five starts. Six of the 11 runs scored on his behalf came in one game, which was wait for it the 13-run outburst against the Tigers on Tuesday.
“Were putting runners on base, third baseman Chone Figgins said. “Were just not getting any hits (once there are runners on).
Until that changes, its hard to see the Mariners being anything more than the last-place team they have become.
To be clear, its not like the Mariners are hitting lights-out when there arent men in scoring position. Seattles team batting average fell two points to .226 with Sundays 6-for-33 performance, the worst team batting average in the American League. Couple that with the Mariners averaging only about one homer ever other game, and theres not much to say for the offense.
Well, not much positive, anyway.
“Its no secret what we have to do better, Wedge said. His team is off Monday and will use the day to fly to Michigan for a series that starts Tuesday in Detroit. “What these guys have to do is not give in to the fight.
Tuesday will see the return to the lineup of the man who was, before he left the team with his father dying, the teams most consistent hitter. Justin Smoak has been taken off the bereavement list and is expected to play Tuesday against the Tigers. The Mariners also are recalling pitcher Dan Cortes from Triple-A Tacoma.
To make room on the roster, Seattle announced after Sundays game that pitcher Josh Lueke and outfielder Carlos Peguero both are being optioned to Tacoma. Lueke has a 17.05 ERA after giving up three runs Saturday and Peguero had two hits and a .182 average in his brief time in the big leagues while filling Smoaks spot on the roster.