BY SPNW Staff 11:12PM 04/20/2015

Game recap: Astros 7, Mariners 5


Maybe it’s going to take more than just a rebuilt offense to turn the Mariners into a legitimate contender. Monday’s 7-5 loss to Houston served as another example of the bats doing enough, but not getting the pitching. How things have changed. Watching Nelson Cruz deliver hit after hit for the Mariners is fun for fans. Watching some Astros guy named Luis Valbuena hit two home runs? Not as easy on the eyes.

Essential moment

The 3-4-5 hitters have been everything the Mariners could have wanted. Monday’s game was lining up when Robinson Cano, Cruz and Kyle Seager were set to come to the plate in the bottom of the ninth. But Cano and Cruz went down quietly, Seager walked, and Seth Smith struck out on a pitch in the dirt to give the AL West-leading Astros – that’s not a mistake – their third consecutive win.


It’s safe to assume that the days of Hisashi Iwakuma challenging Felix Hernandez for the title of staff ace are long behind. It wasn’t that long ago that giving up five hits and four runs would be considered a disaster for Iwakuma, but now it’s becoming the norm. Yoervis Medina didn’t do Iwakuma any favors in the sixth, while Danny Farquhar struggled in the eighth. Seattle’s bullpen is already working too many innings, a bad sign this early.


The Cano-Cruz-Seager show continued through the early innings, even if they couldn’t deliver in the end. They combined for six of Seattle’s 10 hits and had a hand in four of the  five runs. That trio is 15 for 26 with 12 RBIs and eight runs scored over the past two games.


“Listen, I love my bullpen, but you keep running them out there, that’s not going to work.” – Manager Lloyd McClendon, on having to over-extend his bullpen because of another short start.


The only opposing pitcher who’s had much of an answer for Cano lately was the Rangers’ Neftali Feliz, who intentionally walked him in Sunday’s ninth inning. Those who have been brave enough to pitch to Cano have regretted it – as evidenced by by his .500 batting average during the current homestand. He doubled in each of his first two at-bats Monday, when he went 2 for 4 to raise his season batting average to .296. Just eight days earlier, Cano was hitting .120.


Taijuan Walker, the Mariners’ 22-year-old pitching phenom, has lived up to the hype . . .   but only when facing the Astros. Walker is 3-0 with a 2.91 ERA in four career starts against Houston; he’s 0-5 with an ERA of 5.44 against everybody else. Walker (0-2, 17.18 ERA this season) could certainly use another astro-nomical performance against Houston if he’s going to stay with the big club much longer. He’ll face one of the best little-known pitchers in baseball in Houston’s Collin McHugh (2-0, 1.54). Since Aug. 1, McHugh has gone 9-0 with an ERA just a shade under 2.00.



  • jafabian

    Really wishing the M’s went after Shields right now. Before he signed with the Padres I thought it was essential that they do before the Angels got him. Kuma’s pitches are up too high and he doesn’t have the control that we’re used to seeing. That might change by next month though I’m also wondering if his age (34) might be catching up with him. Really hoping Jack doesn’t panic and rush up yet another young player who isnt ready.

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    • RadioGuy

      Agreed, although I can’t think of any pitchers in Tacoma who would be considered remotely ready. Joe Saunders is there but they’re trying to turn him into a reliever and from what I saw Sunday at Cheney, a piñata gives up fewer hits.

      • Trygvesture

        Not being truly ready or the Bigs hasn’t been much of an obstacle to Z calling guys up. Let’s hope he resists the Lincolnland temptation to ‘maximize that personnel investment’ by using guys that shouldn’t yet be used in the Bigs. Things can changequickly with Paxton, Wakler and Kuma, but if they don’t, the pitching starts to be paper thin without an acquisition or two to buy time…

        • art thiel

          Cool! It’s already the July trade deadline. Who needs spring?

          • Tryg


      • art thiel

        Thanks for the scout and the line, which I may steal.

    • art thiel

      The young guys are here — Paxton and Walker. Nobody’s close. And 34 is not old for an MLB pitcher, although the wear and tear he experienced as a youngster in Japan is unclear, at least to me.

  • coug73

    Gosh dang it.

  • notaboomer

    chris young signed with the royals for 675k. randy wolf’s still available i think.

  • notaboomer

    trade for russell wilson and let him pitch.

    • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

      Brilliant idea just to get him out of that awful Texas blue uniform…perhaps the Hawks could spare him every 5th day and in return get concessions to satisfy their think out of the box contract they seek.Hire the Big Unit as a consultant/coach.Fly Wilson from Hawaii to Randy Johnson’s estate next week and teach him how to throw mister snappy.Oh?And Call Michael Bennett’s favorite Dallas scribe to write all of this up for ESPN.

      • art thiel

        I knew the legalization of pot would lead to something like this.

        • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

          None of that but a break from reality is already due in this Mariner Season.Losing twice to Houston?It has been a bit of an ugly start.

  • ll9956

    A Mariners fan, or even a baseball fan, I ain’t. But I recall hearing a lot of pre-season hype about how the M’s are going to be competitive this year. It appears to me that, although the offense has improved, they are still overall mediocre. I hope I’m wrong.

    • art thiel

      Only two games out of first.

      • coug73

        You wrote that with a straight line.