The Seattle Mariners Work Out Of Rut

King FelixThe Mariners got back to work after the all-star break this week, facing their AL West opponent, the Texas Rangers. The Rangers lead the American league in scoring, but against the Mariners, they didn’t do too much damage. The Mariners would lose 2 out of 3 games to them, but would actually walk away with more runs, outscoring Texas, 9-7.

The first game was handled by starter Kevin Millwood, who, despite giving up just 3 runs (2 of which came on an Adrian Beltre home run), would again take the loss for the team. In the 6 2/3 innings that Millwood was in the game, the Mariners couldn’t put across a run. He has been winless since beating the Rangers in late May. His ERA is at 3.70.

“Kevin was really good again today,” said M’s manager Eric Wedge. “That one fastball got up to Beltre, but other than that, he was really good and very consistent and executed pitches like he does. He gave us a chance to win the ballgame.” The Mariners could only get the bats going in the 9th, giving closer Joe Nathan a run for his money with back-to-back-to-back singles with 1 out, but missed opportunities on the base paths cost them an out that might have given them enough room to win the game. Two runs were scored by Seager and Smoak, but Dustin Ackley went down swinging, closing the books.

The next game, King Felix took over and really put on a show for his hometown crowd. He fanned a total of 12 batters over 9 complete innings. No one scored on only 3 hits, and he didn’t walk anyone. It was only the Rangers 2nd shutout of the season, and the 12 strikeouts included 3-a-piece by Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz. It was Hernandez’s 4th 10-plus strikeout performance, and the 20th of his career.

“He’s pretty special,” said Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager. “You see great hitters taking terrible swings. Anytime you get a guy doing that kind of thing, you know his stuff is the real deal.”

“Felix was as good as I’ve seen him,” said manager Eric Wedge.

On the flip side of things, the Mariners got to rookie all-star Yu Darvish right away, scoring 4 runs in the first inning. In the 3 games he has pitched against the M’s, Darvish has a 9.00 ERA. The Mariners scored 7 runs on 8 hits, 2 each coming from Casper Wells and John Jaso. Both Ackley and Saunders had RBI doubles, Seager had a 2- RBI single with the bases loaded in the first, and Ichiro scored once.

In Game 3, the Mariners would go up against lefty Matt Harrison, who is tied for the lead in Major League wins. He also has a 5-0 record at Safeco, with a 0.96 ERA. He would shut out the Mariners offense, and the game would make it his 8th straight win against the Mariners.

Despite having lost 7 straight series, manager Eric Wedge was optimistic about the game, saying that Game 3’s at-bats were positive and recounted that there weren’t as many strikeouts. He hopes that his team, who now has the worst record in the AL, will take some positive encouragement from him and the coaching staff. He acknowledges their youth, saying, “They’re going through growing pains, but they’re coming to the ballpark, they’re playing with a lot of energy. They show up, they play hard and they work hard. It’s going to pay off for them.”

Now the Mariners will be on a 7-game road trip against the Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays.

About Arran Gimba