The Mariners came into tonight winners of their past three series and riding the rush of Kuma's no-hitter on Thursday night. This game really seemed like it had the potential to be a ton of fun. With Joe Kelly being really bad at pitching and Boston being the worst team in the AL, the Mariners had a wonderful opportunity to extend their recent hot streak.
This felt especially true just eight pitches into the game when Kyle Seager launched a ball over the right field fence for his seventeenth DINGER of the season.
Unfortunately, all of those positive feelings would be short-lived. Very short-lived. In the bottom of the first, Montgomery retired the first two batters but then issued a walk to Xander Bogaerts. This brought David Ortiz up to the plate. Boston's hulking DH fell behind 1-2 but then smashed a meatball into right field, scoring Bogaerts from first. This play is upsetting for a couple of reasons. First of all, Montgomery probably shouldn't be throwing fastballs right down the center of the plate when he has two strikes. Secondly, look at how this play unfolds once Robinson Cano receives the relay throw from Seth Smith:
On this play, Cano's decision to throw home was almost as bad as his actual throw (which had absolutely zero zip on it and just kinda floated to Sucre). If he throws the ball to second base, instead of attempting the much more difficult throw home, there is a very good chance that he gets Ortiz. Also, the throw to second would've beaten Bogaerts touching home plate, so the inning would've been over without any Red Sox runs. Instead, Boston was able to tie the game at one.
To make matters worse, Castillo would homer in the very next at bat, sending Boston up 3-1. Montgomery's pitch count would balloon up to 31 in the first inning and the game would get away from the M's soon after. Boston added six more runs in the bottom of the third, squishing the Mariners chances of winning down to 1.5%, and essentially ending the game early.
Montgomery's problems tonight seemed largely related to his inability to keep the ball down. He left SO MANY pitches up in the zone, and Boston's hitters punished his offerings all night.
Sadly, this isn't really a new trend for Mike, who has had some rough outings lately. To get an idea about just how ineffective Montgomery has been lately, take a look at these splits.
- Mike's first seven starts of 2015: 50 IP, 1.62 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, 0.36 HR/9
- Mike's last seven starts: 32.2 IP, 7.99 ERA, 5.2 BB/9, 2.20 HR/9
Dude has been struggling mightily lately, both walking a ton of guys and giving up a boatload of home runs. That is a not great combination. I hate to say it, but at this point it sure seems like Montgomery has lost almost all of his luster; it's hard to remember that this was the same guy who threw back-to-back complete game shutouts at the end of June. He may be destined for Tacoma soon.
Unfortunately for the M's, Boston's offensive outburst didn't stop once Lloyd yanked Montgomery with just one out in the third inning. True to form, the M's bullpen was also awful, surrendering six more runs and 11 more hits over the remaining 5.2 innings. In total, Mariners pitchers gave up 15 runs, 21 hits, and 11 extra base hits in tonight's contest.
Besides Seager's dinger, the Mariners offense was kept in check all night. Seattle managed just seven hits against the worst ranked pitching staff (in terms of ERA) in the American League. To add insult to injury, Nelson Cruz's hit streak also ended tonight at 21 games. It was a brutal contest and an all-around embarrassing performance.