When I first sat down to write this recap, Miguel Olivo unleashed a solo shot against Francisco Cordero. That’s nice, I thought, and continued Photoshopping a photo of a sad Felix Hernandez. Perhaps on another day, one where the Mariners did not give up 5 runs in the 8th, enter the 9th with a 6-run deficit, or go 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position, I would have turned my cap inside out and cheered for a comeback.
To be fair, though, this game looked promising at the start. Chone Figgins waited out a 6-pitch at-bat for Henderson Alvarez’s changeup, then hooked it over the right field fence for an early lead. Jason Vargas carried a no-hitter through 3.2 innings, losing his bid when Figgins misread a shallow fly ball to left. Olivo, Saunders, Seager, and Jaso picked up extra base hits. Seattle took more walks (3) than strikeouts (2), a welcome change from yesterday’s walk and 13 strikeouts.
And then the 8th happened. With two men on, Charlie Furbush pitched around Rajai Davis—a pinch-hitter with a .185 average on the season—to load the bases with Brett Lawrie at the plate. Lawrie lashed a double to left field, Miguel Olivo’s failed pickoff attempt scored Davis, and Jeff Mathis released a two-run homer, effectively leaving the Mariners black-and-blue by the second out.
I’m not sure which is more disappointing—the ineffectiveness of Seattle’s bullpen in this series, or the failure to capitalize on scoring situations. In 7.1 innings of relief, the Mariners struck out 7, but allowed 11 hits and 11 runs. At the plate, the team showed impressive power, hitting 4 home runs to account for 7 of 11 runs, then went 3-for-33 with runners in scoring position. Most disappointing, however, is the news that lefty reliever George Sherrill is scheduled for Tommy John surgery on May 4, ending his season after just two appearances with Seattle.
Tomorrow, the Mariners finish off their road trip with a four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Next game: @ Rays | April 30 | 4:10pm