When the Mariners (29-36) embarked on their eight-game road trip through Cleveland, Houston and San Francisco last week, they stood 8.5 games behind the Astros in the AL West. They will return to Safeco Field Wednesday night still 8.5 in arrears after losing to San Francisco Tuesday 6-2 at AT&T Park an hour (box score) after Houston dispatched the Colorado Rockies 8-5.
It’s down to this: For the Mariners to win 90 games, a presumed baseline for a playoff berth, they will have to go 61-36 the rest of the way, a .628 winning percentage. Best team in the AL right now: Kansas City at .583.
With the Giants leading 3-2 in the eighth, reliever Tom Wilhelmsen recorded two quick outs but then, inexplicably, issued free passes to Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford. Big mistakes. Matt Duff, who had a two-run homer in the second inning, followed with an RBI single and Casey McGeehee contributed a two-run double for a 6-2 lead.
Brad Miller accounted for all of Seattle’s offense: An opposite-field solo homer in the fifth (sixth of the year) and an RBI single in the sixth. Miller produced Seattle’s only multi-hit game.
Heckled in every at-bat, Robinson Cano went 0-for-4, his average dipping to .236, forcing Giants’ fans to revise their initial chant of “.239! .239! .239!” James Jones started in center in place of Austin Jackson, given the day off, and went 0-for-2 with a pair of walks and a stolen base, With the Giants leading 3-2 in the sixth and Jones on third, Mike Zunino had a chance to tie the game, but whiffed. He’s batting .163. The Mariners went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded six.
Seattle starter J.A. Happ worked six innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Happ threw far better than in his last outing (2.1 innings at Cleveland) but was stuck with his third loss against three wins after throwing 95 pitches. Happ hasn’t won since May 9 vs. Oakland. Since then, he has two losses and five no-decisions.
Ex-closer Fernando Rodney, still trying to find his form, threw a 1-2-3 seventh. Former University of Washington star Tim Lincecum earned the win, improving to 7-3 with 5.2 innings — he gave up no hits in the first four frames — and issuing four walks.
“Tom’s command was what went wrong. He couldn’t get the ball over the plate. He walks one guy (Posey) and then walks the other guy (Crawford) when he had two strikes on him” — Lloyd McClendon, Mariners manager, on the walks issued by Wilhelmsen.
“A win would have made it a great trip, but 4-4 is just an average trip. We just couldn’t close it out. The perception is that we’re treading water, but the reality is that we are not playing as well as we could be. We’re not getting the hits that can put us over the top” — McClendon
The Mariners have lost 13 of their past 22, are 2-5 in interleague games and 7-12-2 in series played . . . The Mariners used Mark Trumbo (back spasms) as a seventh-inning pinch hitter (ground out to first) and expect him to return to the starting lineup Wednesday . . . When Logan Morrison went 3-for-5 with a stolen base in Monday night’s 5-1 win over San Francisco, he became the first in franchise history to produce three hits and a theft while playing first base and batting leadoff.
The Mariners return to Safeco Field Wednesday for the first of two against Giants. Felix Hernandez (9-3, 3.38), coming off the worst start of his career (0.1 IP, 8 ER at Houston), will face World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner (7-3, 3.16). First pitch is 7:10 p..m.
So the M’s 1 game winning streak was snapped today…… On a positive note, it’s been 2 straight games and they haven’t lost by double digit runs or been shutout! Things are looking up. James Jones had 2 walks & created havoc on the bases, hopefully he is here to stay. With their loss tomorrow nite against Bumgarner, they can look to start another 1 game winning streak the day following.
The thing with Jones is getting on base…that became a problem last year after pitchers figured out what to throw him. I like his speed and he can help defensively, but he’s got to learn to hit the pitches that have been getting him out at this level. It’s a simple solution but (as is proven every year in this game) simple doesn’t equal easy.
Have there been two bigger whiffs in Top 5 draft picks than Ackley and Zunino? Way to identify talent with those two golden tickets, Jack. :
Well, let’s see…There was Al “Choo Choo” Chambers (1st overall in 1979), Roger Salkeld (3rd overall in 1989), Jeff Clement (3rd overall in 2005) and Danny Hultzen (2nd overall in 2011). Just outside the top five, we’ve seen Tito Nanni taken 6th in 1978, Darrell Akerfelds taken 7th in 1983 and Marc Newfield picked 6th in 1990.
The draft is a crap-shoot for EVERY team and EVERY GM, not just the Seattle Mariners and not just Jack Zduriencik, and baseball is the toughest of the sports with drafts to project a player’s ability to perform at the top level of his chosen sport. I’m not trying to explain away Zduriencik’s picks of Ackley and Zunino (Ackley in particular was the consensus choice for the pick after Strasburg the year they were drafted), just that it’s not as easy as it might seem.
Oh yes. I realize. How many times have we heard about the “Big Three” arms we having just waiting to be All-Stars… Still… You’d think that JZ could hit on just one of ’em… Isn’t he supposed to be some lifelong baseball guru? Just like Bill Bavasi? Sheesh.
Jack is a solid judge of talent. He’s the only MLB executive to be named Exec of the Year and not be a GM. He just doesn’t get how to put together a team. He calls up players on a whim, usually before they’re ready. He doesn’t take into account how those players will affect the locker room. He’s sending a bad message keeping Zunino and Ackley but getting rid of Ruggiano and Castillo.
From 1990 to 2010 the M’s have always had a Gold Glover in the OF. That stopped under Jack and you need those type in Safeco Field. Someone who can cover a lot of ground and throw out the runner at 3rd from RF. Assuming the M’s finish with a losing record this will be the second time under his watch they’ve been selected to win the division and failed miserably. That can’t be tolerated.
They get Bumgarner, McCullers and Keuchel in the next several days but then get a break from ‘lights out’ pitchers. They need to make something of a run then. Not feeling optimistic. But you never know. Baseball is a funny, funny game.
And when is Mr single Cano dropped to 6 or 7 in the order? He is obviously not going to turn this around & hitting 2 or 3 is absolutely killing the team.