BY John Hickey 09:25PM 04/09/2011

Anemic offense does in Mariners again

Fister solid, but inability to deliver with men in scoring position Saturday sends Seattle to sixth consecutive loss.

Doug Fister vs. Cleveland 4-09-11

Doug Fister was stuck with a second consecutive loss despite allowing Cleveland just one earned run. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Seattle manager Eric Wedge came to the Mariners saying he believed the offense had more potential than it showed in a dismal 2010 campaign.

Eight games into the 2011 season, you have to wonder if Wedge isn’t reassessing that philosophy. The Mariners are 2-6 – same as last year at this time – and that team went on to set records for offensive futility en route to 101 losses.

It may be a new season, but the Mariners are at it again. Seattle went 1-for-11 with men in scoring position Saturday — getting runners into scoring position with less than two outs for four consecutive innings from the fifth through the eighth — and took a 2-1 loss to Cleveland, the Mariners’ sixth loss in succession.

“We must fix our mistakes,’’ right fielder Ichiro Suzuki said, after having had one of the game’s big at-bats.

At bat with one run home in the eighth inning and men on first and third, he tried to drag a bunt for a single that would have tied the game. He couldn’t steer the ball away from reliever Rafael Perez, and the pitcher easily picked up the ball and threw out Ichiro.

An inning later, Chone Figgins’ second straight hit (ending an 0-for-26 streak) was a double. With Seattle still down one but having a terrific opportunity to tie, Milton Bradley flew out, Jack Cust struck out and Justin Smoak grounded out.

“We had our opportunities again,’’ Wedge said. “We’ve just been a hit short too much of the time. We’ll get better.’’

One would hope. On the other hand, the 2010 Seattle offense didn’t get better, scoring 513 runs, which was the worst offensive output in baseball in a couple of decades.

In case you’re counting, the Mariners’ current pace, 25 runs in eight games, will get them to 506 runs by season’s end.

Progress? Not hardly.

There were some positive signs Saturday. Figgins singled and doubled, collecting his first hits since the second game. Michael Saunders took over the club lead in RBIs (four) with a two-out single in the seventh that cut the deficit to 2-1. And Smoak and Adam Kennedy doubled.

None of it was enough to help starter Doug Fister, who kept the Indians shut down, but still fell to 0-2. He gave up six hits and two runs (one earned) in six innings.

“Doug Fister pitched one whale of a ball game,’’ Wedge said. “He was good the last time out, and I thought he was better today.’’

The Indians, who hit at will Friday, had trouble doing much of anything against Fister. Their runs came in the fourth inning when a pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases. Orlando Cabrera got a run home with a sacrifice fly to left, but when there wasn’t a Seattle defender anywhere near third base and Bradley’s throw in wasn’t anywhere near the base either, all hell broke loose.

Wedge said shortstop Brendan Ryan was supposed to be covering the base, but Ryan was serving as the cutoff man. He said he thought the job was Fister’s. Although the Bradley throw was wide, if either player had been in position at third, the ball would have been caught.

No one was, however. Backing up third, Fister raced to get the ball, but kicked it into the dugout, allowing in the second run  — unearned.

“We’ve got to keep looking forward, looking in the same direction,’’ Ichiro said in a quiet Seattle clubhouse. “We don’t want to look back now.’’

Twitter: @JHickey3


  • paul baker

    Alot of ugly baseball, again M. Bradley is in the middle of it. When will this team hit its 3rd homerun. Pitching and defense is so over rated, you still need the long ball….

  • Bill Grevstad

    No one, and I mean not one player on this team is an offensive threat. We need a new owner and a new General Manager, or we will always be one of the worst teams in MLB, unfortunately with strong fan support!