BY John Hickey 06:07PM 04/10/2011

The future looks grim for 2-7 Mariners

Seven-game losing streak propels Seattle to bottom of the barrel in American League West.

It was a tough day for lefty Erik Bedard Sunday as he lasted just four innings and fell to 0-2. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

They say that losing can help build character.

If that’s the case, the Mariners will soon be challenging St. Francis of Assisi and Dr. Albert Schweitzer in the character derby.

After starting the season with consecutive wins in Oakland, Seattle has now lost seven games in succession after a late rally Sunday couldn’t avert a 6-4 loss to Cleveland. No one can see just how deep the yawning cavern swallowing Seattle is.

The Mariners have fully encamped in last place in the American League West, and there’s no telling if there is any path that will lead to prosperity from where Seattle sits now.

Only Boston and Tampa Bay came into Sunday with fewer wins than Seattle’s two, and in both instances you can make a case that it’s just an early-season stumble and that things will get better for the Red Sox and Rays, both of whom could contend.

It’s not at all clear you can talk about the Mariners that way.

In two of the last three seasons Seattle has lost 101 games, and despite a change of managers (Don Wakamatsu and interim skipper Darren Brown have been replaced by Eric Wedge), the play on the field is mostly the same – occasionally decent pitching, questionable defense, rotten offense – and how that changes no one seems to know.

“We’re just going to see what kind of character we have,’’ Adam Kennedy said. The veteran backup infielder, who had one of Seattle’s five hits Sunday, has played the last three games after starting second baseman Jack Wilson took himself out of Wednesday’s game.

“You want to win every game, every week, every series,’’ Kennedy said. “We’ve lost the last seven games, but we shouldn’t let that define our season. We’re led by a good guy, Wedgie, and I think his leadership is what we need.’’

Wedge talks the talk, putting the best spin he can on things mostly out of his control – the six runs allowed in four innings by starter Erik Bedard, for example, or for the need to play all four of his backups – Kennedy, outfielders Ryan Langerhans and Michael Saunders and catcher Chris Gimenez – in the same lineup just nine days into the season.

Langerhans hit a two-run homer and Saunders a solo shot in the seventh inning, but the Mariners were down 6-1 at that point thanks to Bedard having been pounded for six runs in four innings. There is a limit to how much catching up this roster is up for, and on Sunday, the Mariners weren’t capable of erasing an early 6-0 deficit.

“If we’d started 0-6 on the road trip and had won two of three in this first home series,’’ Langerhans said, “there would be reason for optimism. The fact is we have to get it done. No one in here is going to panic.

“We’ve got to do better.’’

No argument here.

Only one of the players in the opening day lineup is hitting over .250, and that is Wilson (.333), who has sat out the last three games after committing errors on consecutive plays Wednesday in Texas and subsequently removing himself from the game.

Wedge suggested before the game that Wilson might be back in the lineup soon. If he is back Monday, he’d replace the only other player on the roster averaging over .250 in more than a handful of at-bats – Kennedy (.312).

It’s not a pretty picture. The seven-game losing streak makes one think about 2010’s 101 losses. The seven-gamer is the second of its kind in Seattle’s last 32 regular season games. There was a similar seven-game skid Sept. 8-15 last year.

The team has hit four home runs; two in the season’s first 78 innings, then two in the seventh inning Sunday. Langerhans has two of the homers, Saunders one, leaving only one starter, third baseman Chone Figgins, as the only starter with a homer. The 3-4-5 spots in the lineup, where most of any team’s power is expected to be concentrated, have yet to produce any long balls.

“I’d trade the (team home run leadership) if we could flop the record around and be 7-2 instead of 2-7,’’ Langerhans said.

Trades like that can’t be made, but if this goes on, trades of players seem inevitable.

Even nine games into the season, that kind of prognostication isn’t difficult to make.

Twitter: @JHickey3


YourThoughts

  • Nightslider

    Oh dear god they are really doing it this soon, swooning after the first two games zapped them for energy? OK lets hear what the excuse will be when they fire this coach and pray tell what will replace him? Perhaps we can get the experts up in the front office< Ya know HOWARD LINCOLN, GEORGE ARMSTRONG to leave their seats and act like they knew something about what they were doing and fire themselfs.
    This team will remain as it is till that old Jap dies in japan and fires LINCOLN. and or tells Ichiro to move on, there aint nothing happening here but fattening up his Stats so he can go home and coach.

  • Bruceb

    I think the simple fact many of us (and especially those of us who have been linemen) have long known is that the Seahawks have only been good when they’ve had enough good-enough linemen, on both sides of the ball. Nothing else for starts or duration really matters as much for any playoff-bound team. Not high-draft QB’s, or LB’s, or receivers and safeties…but linemen.