Getting above .500 is becoming a hair-pulling exercise for the Mariners, who failed once again Saturday night in a 4-3 loss to Cleveland (box score). Seattle (24-25) hasn’t had a winning record since coming out of Opening Day 1-0.
2B Robinson Cano returned from two days of illness to give Seattle a spark with a two-run homer in the third inning. That brought the Mariners to within 3-2, but it wasn’t enough on a night when Seattle went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
LHP Roenis Elias, having allowed just three earned runs over 20 innings of his previous three starts, struggled with control (four walks) and took the loss after lasting just 5.1 innings. McClendon said Elias came into the game with a stiff back. The bullpen kept Seattle in the game.
The Mariners had plenty of chances but couldn’t convert. They were hitless in six at-bats with runners in scoring position before LF Dustin Ackley finally came through with an RBI single to close the gap to 4-3 in the seventh. 3B Kyle Seager was 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles but struck out with the bases loaded in the seventh.
“He’s kind of like the guy we saw last night, (James) Paxton: A big left-hander who throws hard. The consistency has been sometimes hit-and-miss with Hags. But when he’s good, he’s as good as anyone.” — Cleveland manager Terry Francona on Indians reliever Nick Hagadone, a Sumner High School product who played at the University of Washington
The news on Paxton didn’t get better Saturday, when the Mariners announced they would be shutting him down for two weeks before re-evaluating the injury. Even if Paxton is ready to begin throwing again at that point, it’s unlikely that he’ll be ready to come off the 15-day disabled list June 8, when he is eligible to be activated. The big question is who will replace him in the rotation; Tuesday’s starter is TBA . . . Cano was back in the lineup Saturday after missing most of the previous two games with an ear inflection . . . Lucas Luetge, we hardly knew ye. The southpaw reliever was back at Triple-A Saturday night, barely 24 hours from when he’d been called up to replace LHP Joe Beimel. Luetge didn’t throw a pitch in Friday’s game, and Beimel returned from his son’s high-school graduation and a one-day stint on the restricted list.
The four-game series wraps up Sunday afternoon, with Seattle LHP J.A. Happ (3-1, 3.71 ERA) going against Cleveland RHP Danny Salazar (5-1, 3.65 ERA). If you don’t like that matchup, wait until Monday night, when Felix Hernandez and one-time Mariners top prospect Michael Pineda open up the Yankees series at Safeco Field.
The Mariners are on a pace to score 605 runs on the season, not even close to the 700 or more they were hoping for when they signed Nelson Cruz. Cruz hasn’t disappointed, but Ackley sure has despite his defensive plays of late in the outfield, and Morrison looks like merely a smidge better than the departed Justin Smoak at first. Looks like the die may be cast offensively for the season, unless they decide to call Marte up to play shortstop, play Miller more in the outfield, and dump—who? Bloomquist? They look like a .500 team at best as they play their 50th game, especially with the extended absence of Paxton to go with the DLed Iwakuma.
Plenty of room for concern, that’s for sure. How bout both Texan teams self-actualizing in the SAME year. How about that for ‘concern’? Of course, they could both finish with a .450 winning percentage. There’s time for every eventuality still. I believe the M’s need to go 66-47 from now to the end to make 90 wins. Getting two out of three once in a while will not accomplish that. They need a tear. 6 or 8 or 10 wins in a row. With this lineup…..they may need what the Giants delivered in May – 8 shutouts in a single month.