BY John Hickey 09:04PM 07/17/2011

Hickey: Mariners find nine-game skid ‘maddening’

After averaging .186 for July, and scoring two runs in four losses to the Rangers, the nearly vacant post-game clubhouse says it all.

Eric Wedge says he saw worse in Cleveland, but the Mariners' current woes are painful in the extreme. / Getty Images

Eric Wedge’s favorite saying of late is that the Mariners have no place to go but up.

Seattle keeps proving the manager wrong, though. The Mariners keep going sideways.

The offense, which is primarily to blame for a losing streak that reached nine games with a 3-1 loss to Texas Sunday, can’t get any worse. But there’s no sign any hitter is getting better, either.

The Mariners came away from a four-game series with Texas with 19 hits, seven walks, two runs and no wins. In the space of nine games the Mariners have gone from 2½ games out of first place in the American League West to a staggering 11½ out.

Seattle began the game with a .188 batting average for the month that, almost unbelievably, fell  to .186  after just five hits, including a single in the eighth inning by Jack Wilson that gave the club its second and final run of the series.

The deranged part of the losing streak is that, from a certain point of view, the Mariners crushed the Texas offense. The Rangers came into the series having won seven games in succession, averaging 7.57 runs per game.

The Seattle pitching staff stopped that foolishness. The Mariners shackled one of the best offenses in the big leagues, allowing 4.25 runs per game. The runs that were stripped from the Rangers made absolutely no difference, however, because the Mariners offense scored twice — once in the third game, once in the fourth.

How bad is that?

Through it all, the Mariner clubhouse has become quieter than the reading room at the Library of Congress. At first, it was just after games. Now,  it’s all the time, because players have just about run out of things to say that make any contribution to understanding the depth of the problem.

“It’s almost to the point of (being) maddening,’’ backup catcher Josh Bard said He had Seattle’s only extra-base hit, a double, scoring when another seldom-used player, infielder Jack Wilson, delivered an RBI single in the eighth.

It was only the second run scored in 36 innings since the All-Star break.  The time  before the break wasn’t good, either. The Mariners are averaging 1.86 in 14 July games, and six were on July 1.

Wedge talks about the turnaround that he’s sure will come. But it’s like trying to find dry land from a raft after the shipwreck.

In one breath, he says he likes some of the things he sees in the offensive approach, but then adds, “The last place you see it is in the field.’’

“This is a tough stretch, no doubt about that,’’ Wedge said.  “What we’ve started to build isn’t going away. But what we’ve seen is a tough pill to swallow.’’

Wilson, a one-time starter who plays so little these days that his last hit came June 15 and his last RBI  June 1, said the only option is to look forward.

“You just can’t wait for the next day to get here,’’ he said.  “So 7 p.m. (EDT) in Toronto two days from now can’t come soon enough for us. The only way you get out of this is to play.’’

The Mariners have off Monday, then open a three-game series against the Blue Jays  Tuesday. After that the Mariners visit the Red Sox and Yankees. Seattle will be home against Tampa Bay to close out the month. After opening August with three games against Oakland, the Mariners have back-to-back road series at the Angels and the Rangers, the teams that handed Seattle eight of the nine losses in the current streak.

Mariner starter Blake Beavan hung a second-inning change-up that Texas first baseman Mitch Moorland turned into a three-run homer. Beavan didn’t allow the Rangers anything else. But, thanks to the Seattle offense, the one mistake was enough.


  • jerryj

    Maybe Sweet Lou could become hitting coach.

  • jerryj

    Maybe Sweet Lou could become hitting coach.

  • If Jamora recovers nicely from his knee injury, I bet he and Sean Parker will make All Pac-12 at some point!