BY SPNW Staff 03:55PM 08/27/2014

Horrid start by Erasmo, Rangers rout Mariners

If the Mariners fail to become the first American League team since the 1974 Oakland Athletics to finish with an ERA under 3.00 — they started the day at 2.92 — they will probably point to Wednesday’s abomination by Erasmo Ramirez. Summoned from AAA Tacoma to make a spot start against Texas, Ramirez hurled the Mariners to an ugly 12-4 defeat, needing only 59 pitches, mostly fastballs over the heart of the plate, to get booed off the mound.

His brutal line: three innings, nine hits, 10 earned runs, grand slam, hit batter. By the time manager Lloyd McClendon mercifully applied the hook, eight of the nine Texas batters had a hit, and all nine had scored a run.

It marked the most earned runs allowed by a Seattle starter since Jason Vargas yielded 10 against Arizona June 20, 2012, and came within one of matching the franchise record of 11, shared by Jamie Moyer Aug. 9, 2000 vs. Chicago and Ryan-Rowland Smith July 27, 2010, also against the White Sox.

“It was just not very good,” McClendon generously said of Ramirez’s start. “He was up in the zone. I was encouraged after the first inning (three up, three down), but for some reason he started getting the ball up and that’s not a good thing against any team. He threw bad strikes. He just did not have it.”

Ramirez, whose ERA soared from 4.06 to 5.21, received the start when McClendon decided to push Felix Hernandez’s next outing to Friday, when The King will face the Washington Nationals, the first-place team in the NL East.

“It was the right thing to do,” McClendon said of starting the wildly inconsistent Ramirez, who has been up and down five times this season. “You can say I was a dumb SOB for doing it, but it was the right thing to do.”

Before Wednesday, the Mariners (72-60), whose wild card hopes took a hit (they are tied with Detroit for the second spot), had not allowed 10 or more runs in a game all season after doing so 21 times in 2013. They allowed three or fewer runs in 14 consecutive Safeco Field contests. Had they extended that streak to 15, they would have tied the 1967 Chicago White Sox for the longest such run in the American League since 1960.

Ramirez, who opened the season as Seattle’s No. 2 starter with Hisashi Iwakuma on the disabled list, made sure that didn’t happen. After the first, he unraveled. Tomas Telis ripped a three-run double as part of a four-run Texas second and Rougned Odor walloped a grand slam in the third as Ramirez yielded seven hits and eight earned runs before his pitch count reached 50.

“When you are home in front of your own crowd you don’t want it to get any uglier than that,” said McClendon. “The game’s over with, we got our butts kicked, it happens, and it hasn’t happened very often.”

The Rangers continued their bombardment of Ramirez in the fourth when Leonys Martin and Elvis Andrus singled and doubled, Martin scoring on an error in left by Dustin Ackley. That did it for Ramirez, forcing McClendon to give an inning each to a succession of five relievers to get through the game.

The only blemish on the pen: Martin’s two-run blast off Joe Beimel in the sixth.

Mike Zunino’s solo homer in the second, his 19th, briefly sliced Seattle’s deficit to 4-1, but that was buried by Odor’s grand slam. The Mariners collected two more runs in the sixth on a Kendrys Morales double that scored Ackley and Robinson Cano, and another in the ninth on Kyle Seager’s 20th home run. Otherwise, the Mariners didn’t have much offensively, seven hits off Colby Lewis, who entered with a 5.54 ERA, but threw his second complete game in a month.


James Paxton, a 5-0 winner Tuesday, was sent to the Rainiers Wednesday to make room for Ramirez on the roster, but will be recalled in time to make his next start, probably Tuesday in Oakland . . . Zunino’s 19th home run tied Seager for the team lead and matched Miguel Olivo’s 2011 single-season franchise record by a catcher. But Seager reclaimed the lead with his 20th, the third year in a row he has belted 20 or more . . . By dropping the series to the last-place Rangers, the Mariners fell to 21-18-5 in all series this season . . . McClendon said the Mariners will add six to nine players to the major league roster when Tacoma’s season ends Monday . . . The Mariners are 6-9 against Texas.


After an off-day Thursday the Mariners host three with the Washington Nationals. RHP Felix Hernandez (13-4, 2.07) Friday opposes RHP Jordan Zimmerman (9-5, 2.93).


  • Big

    I think for some of these guys going back and forth between Seattle and Tacoma is wearing on them.

    • RadioGuy

      It’s been wearing on some of us who are only watching. I can’t imagine what it must be like for a guy who may go from playing in Reno on Tuesday to a game in Seattle on Wednesday before heading off to a series in Colorado Springs on Thursday. Guys like to know where they stand with the organization they play for but that doesn’t happen here. Oh, well, it’s not like they’re human or anything.

    • jafabian

      Maybe for an everyday player but for a starting pitcher it’s about staying on a schedule and that’s what Lloyd’s been doing with them, as well as playing with pitching match ups. I don’t think Ramirez will be used again after this game though. Can’t afford implosions like this during a penant race.

      • Big

        Painful game to watch.

  • Oliver Stone

    The Felix switch was an interesting move. I think it cost him (and the ballcub) a regular season start by him, so I’m wondering what was so “right” about it. Maybe Lloyd got a memo from up top that Felix needs to pitch on Friday because it would fill a lot more seats than than in the middle of the week.

  • Edgar Martinez

    This is the 5th! time the M’s have pushed him back so they can have him
    start on Friday night this season. This is all about ticket sales, not
    the “extra rest” BS reason they claim. 6 days rest between starts is
    ridiculous. He would have had an extra days rest between his next start anyways because of the off day tomorrow. I’m afraid the FO is putting ticket sales priority above winning a series. This is the kind of crap that Geoff Baker exposed in his article before the season. This is not how a franchise in a playoff race is supposed to act. I guess they just don’t know how to act when winning since they’ve been losing for so long. This stuff really grates on the smart baseball fans and risks alienating people like me and causes me to think twice about buying a ticket. Stop milking your fans and make winning the top priority. I don’t even blame Z, this has the stench of Lincoln all over it.

  • Kevin Lynch

    Bad loss. Here’s why. They just played 9 consecutive games against teams with losing records. They went 5-4. The rest of the way they have 16 games against top clubs – Nationals, Angels and A’s. If they split those 8-8, probably a best case scenario, they must go 10-4 against everyone else to get to 90 wins. Now check the schedules for Detroit and Kansas City and you’ll see it’s easier for both of them to get to 91. Kansas City in particular has an easy road. I don’t see Detroit collapsing.