BY Steve Rudman 03:33PM 06/08/2015

Mariners on edge of dubious offensive history

Never in the designated-hitter era (since 1973) has a team played 13 consecutive games while scoring three or fewer runs. The Mariners could become the first Tuesday night.

Robinson Cano has hit into 10 double plays, tops in the American League. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Twenty-seven years ago this month (June 1988), and five days after the brief managerial tenure of Jimmy Snyder commenced, the Mariners embarked on a string of 12 games against Minnesota, Milwaukee and Texas. To Snyder’s consternation, and detriment, they lost 10 and didn’t score more than three runs in any. In six, the Mariners tallied only once or suffered a shutout while batting an Ackley-like .183.

By the end of those 12, the Mariners were 19 games out of first place. Jimmy Snyder never managed in the majors again after the club straggled home 68-93.

That 27-year-old stretch of 12 games scoring three or fewer runs stood as a franchise record until Sunday, when Lloyd McClendon’s debacle of a ball club matched it by falling to David Archer and the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 at Safeco Field. The loss also completed a 2-9 home stand, worst in club annals of 10 games or more.

The Mariners scored 21 runs while dropping three of four to Cleveland, all three to the Yankees, and three of four to the Rays. In the process, the Mariners struck out an astonishing 133 times, including 13 (11 by Archer) Sunday.

Try this for a comparison: During Seattle’s franchise-record, 17-game losing streak in 2011 (July 6-26), the Mariners whiffed 142 times, including 18 in a 4-1 loss at New York on the final day of the losing streak. During the 17-gamer, the Mariners struck out in double digits four times. They had seven such games in the 2-9 home stand.

Now the Mariners must face reigning Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber Tuesday night. Kluber, who recorded 13 strikeouts against the Mariners May 28, has 105 this season, ranking second in the American League to Archer’s 108.

The Mariners eked across 11 runs against the Indians last week – 2.7 per game – and will make dubious history if they don’t get to Kluber for at least four. Without four, the Mariners will extend their streak of three or fewer runs to 13 games. That would break a tie with three other clubs, including the 1988 Mariners, to rank as most in the AL in the era of the designated hitter (since 1973).

Year Dates Team Gms. Skinny
1986 Sept. 20-Oct. 2 Detroit Tigers 12 Went 6-6, scoring 24 runs
1988 April 4-17 Baltimore Orioles 12 .186 BA vs. KC, Clev, Milw
1988 June 10-22 Seattle Mariners 12 .183 BA vs. Tex, Milw, Minn
2015 May 27-June 7 Seattle Mariners 12 .227 BA, K’d 133 times
1978 May 21-29 Detroit Tigers 11 Went 2-9 vs. Red Sox, O’s
2007 July 3-16 Oakland A’s 11 .183 BA vs. Tex, Minn, Sea
2010 Aug. 27-Sept. 6 Seattle Mariners 11 Daren Brown interim manager

Excluding this year’s Mariners, only two of the six other teams on the list finished with a winning record, two lost more than 100 games, and none reached the postseason.


The Cleveland series launches an eight-game road trip that will include three at Progressive Field, three at Houston and two at San Francisco. The Mariners, who have scored three or fewer runs 34 times in 56 games (AL-high 60.7 percent), are 1-3 against the Indians, 1-6 against the division-leading Astros and have been outscored 56-37 in those games.

Given the negative trend, the Mariners, currently 8.5 games out, could return to Safeco Field June 17 staring at a double-digit deficit in the AL West. Come September, the next eight might be viewed as the juncture in the schedule where the Mariners jumped the rails for the 2015 season – if they haven’t already.


  • jafabian

    Last season the M’s had 136 HR’s to finish 10th in the AL, 1232 strikeouts to finish 7th and 96 stolen bases to finish 8th. (Thank goodness for James Jones.) The Royals were dead last in HR’s with 95 and had 985 K’s as a team, best in the AL. They also had 153 stolen bases, tops in the AL. The offensive efficiency of the club is a telling statistic on what their problems are currently. I’m not sure if it’s Lloyd, hitting coach Howard Johnson or the hitting philosophy down in the farm but it isn’t working on the big club. The fact that prospects seem to hit well in the farm system but fail when they join the club suggests to me a culture within the M’s that isn’t conducive to hitting, especially when you see Cano having problems It can even be pointed out that the productive Kyle Seager was an outstanding hitter in college, hitting .393 his senior year and never hit below ..312 while in the M’s farm system but can’t seem to get over .269 as a pro. This has held true all during the Jack Z era for players, both prospects, free agents and players acquired thru trade.

    Despite the fact that he signed an extension in the offseason, if the club doesn’t make the playoffs management needs to take a hard look at how things are getting done.

    • art thiel

      This club has to make the playoffs for Jack Z to keep his job. 7 years and no postseason with $120M payroll?

      • jafabian

        Unless someone among the players and gives a Jay Buhner-like speech to the team (Wild Card? We’re aiming for the division title!!!) I feel as though this season will be a step backwards much like season after Wakamatsu’s first season was. Won’t lose 100 games but the team he’s assembled isn’t getting it done. And when this season is a repeat of what’s happened in the past it’s obvious the coaches and players aren’t the problem. Not when he’s been the constant. (Along with Howard)

  • Lodowick

    Best marriage to a pitcher’s park in a pitcher’s era is team speed, solid fielding and small ball hitters. Guys who nurture walks, bunt, double steal, hit in back of runners, etc. M’s don’t have that makeup. And they will pay a price for that.

    • art thiel

      True. Jack Z loves him some big lumber. Missed that era by about 20 years.

    • dingle

      Yep. See the San Francisco Giants for an object lesson.

      • Lodowick

        I’ve been a Giants fan for 53 years. Buster Posey was the biggest addition since Mays, Marichal and McCovey because he makes everyone around him better (unlike Bonds). Last night he caught his third no-hitter. Only one catcher has ever caught four (Varitek). He makes everyone better and has three rings and three no-no’s to prove it. M’s need someone like him. A glue guy.

        • dingle

          Agreed. I’ve only been a Giants fan for the last 15 years or so, but Posey is one of those special guys: great talent combined with great leadership skills.

          The Mariners could use a Buster Posey. They could also use a couple guys who hit for average, have some power into the gaps, and play above average defense. If you look at the Giants defense, they are at least average-plus in nearly every position, and above average in most.

          Giants management has built a team that can succeed in the expanses of AT&T park. The Mariners keep trying to shove square pegs into round holes.

          • Lodowick

            Right. The Giants started a lineup recently where all 8 players were hitting .290 or better. And they are a pitching rich team. Decent GM – Sabean. I seem to remember the Giants were at or near the bottom in home runs last year but still won the title.

          • Lodowick

            Justin Smoak’s on base percentage with Toronto is 14 points higher than anyone in Seattle’s starting lineup tonight.

  • David Michel

    Mariners are 23 out of 46 on steal attempts, 50%. that is pathetic. When will McClendon realize this team is not a stealing team, or at least some of the players. I am losing what little faith I had in him.

    • art thiel

      I understand trying to manufacture runs, but Lloyd doesn’t have the personnel for that.

  • notaboomer

    attendance is up. must be the weather.