There's really not a whole lot I want to say specifically about this game. On the heels of four defeats in five days, there's nothing illuminating about today's 11-3 loss to the Rangers. It was nice to see Kyle Seager continue to play well and clobber his first homer of the season -- one of those well struck flies that still surprises me, even if I've seen him do it 10 times before -- but there's nothing about his day that can salvage a game or a week like that.
Aaron Harang struggled, allowing three homers and eight runs in less than five innings. We always knew that starting a homer prone righty with an 89-MPH fastball in Texas was a recipe for disaster if he didn't have his best stuff, and we saw that play out today.
As for the offense, at least they tacked on a few runs. The broadcast noted that the M's went 1-24 with runners in scoring position this series, and it's pretty difficult to score with that kind of situational hitting. There's nothing predictive about that -- teams usually hit better with runners in scoring position -- so we can chalk part of this scoreless streak up to sequencing. That said, teams that go a week between home runs tend not to score very much, sequencing be damned.
I don't want to spend a whole lot more time talking about this afternoon's contest. It was a lousy ballgame: if you saw it, you probably don't want to read more about it. If you didn't, consider yourself fortunate.
Instead, let's take the opportunity to examine the reality of the team's current situation. Let's start with the positive, or at least, the less negative. The fact is, the Mariners just played a brutal stretch of teams. Texas and Detroit might be the two best teams in the American League right now, and as Dave Cameron outlined last week, we shouldn't be surprised that a club like Seattle struggled against the class of the circuit. Given that they've also played Oakland and Chicago -- two more decent outfits -- a record like this is understandable, if a bit lower than we might have liked.
The Mariners also haven't had the luxury of a full roster. Injuries are part and parcel of the game, but already the M's have dealt with a pretty heavy burden:
- Erasmo Ramirez, arguably the club's third best starter right now, has been sidelined since spring training. In his stead, near replacement-level pitchers have made four starts. The M's have won only one of those games, losing comfortably in the other three.
- Michael Saunders hasn't played a full game since April 9th, thanks to a shoulder injury he suffered crashing into the right field wall on April 10th. He's a big part of the team's offense, and with Franklin Gutierrez unable to play every day, a vital cog in the club's defensive alignment as well. This year, the M's are 4-4 when he plays and 3-9 when he does not (I'm counting the day he injured himself as a 'did not play' since he was on the field for a grand total of one batter). They've missed him badly.
- Michael Morse missed four games with a broken pinkie. He's returned, but hasn't looked like himself at the plate since the injury. Whether it was dumb for him to come back so early is a debate that will probably gain momentum over the next week or so. Either way, Seattle has gone 3-7 since Morse hurt himself.
- Gutierrez has started only 13 of the team's games. This might not have been unexpected, but with Saunders out, there isn't another reliable center fielder in the organization right now. The M's have a substantially weaker team when Gutierrez can't anchor center, particularly after injuries decimated other outfielders.