BY SPNW Staff 10:23PM 06/22/2015

Game recap: Royals 4, Mariners 1


Joe Blanton – yes, that Joe Blanton – was the latest starter the Mariners made look like Cy Young. The veteran journeyman out-dueled Felix Hernandez by silencing the Seattle bats on the way to a 4-1 Kansas City win Monday night (box score)  at Safeco Field.

Essential moment

When Mariners CF Austin Jackson ended Blanton’s streak of 16 consecutive outs with a leadoff double in the seventh, it provided a flicker of hope. As Robinson Cano stepped into the batter’s box and pinch hitter Dustin Ackley emerged from the dugout to hit for Nelson Cruz, it seemed a bit odd. Turns out Cruz had a tight hamstring, and Ackley ended up striking out on the way to another runner being stranded on third base.


Hernandez unraveled in the second and third innings but composed himself to some degree. He allowed four runs – the fourth time in 15 starts this season he has given up that many – and was knocked around for nine hits. It wasn’t a typical King Felix performance. .


Mariners fans have seen enough of Blanton over the years to realize that it takes quite an inept offense to make him look like Felix Hernandez. That offense was on display Monday night. After Cano provided a rare home run in the first inning, Blanton mowed through 16 consecutive.  They had a season-low-tying two hits and 13 strikeouts.

The inconsistency of the Seattle bats can best be explained by this nugget: the Mariners have beaten Madison Bumgarner, Dallas Keuchel, Trevor Bauer and reigning AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber this month; they’ve also been dominated by Shaun Marcum, Ryan Vogelsong and, yes, even Joe Blanton.


“What they’re telling me is it’s going to be very short term.” — Manager Lloyd McClendon, on the injurh that required Cruz to have his pelvic bone popped back into place


Cano hit his first home run since May 30. He has three, one fewer than Dustin Ackley . . . Speaking of Ackley, the former No. 2 overall pick in the MLB draft appears to have fallen out of favor again. Ackley has not been in the starting lineup for three games in a row and has started only once in the past eight games – that came as an 11th-hour fill-in for Cano at second base. Seth Smith is the every-day leftfielder, while Nelson Cruz and Mark Trumbo have things covered in right . . . And speaking of underachieving outfielders, the Mariners officially released OF Rickie Weeks Monday, ending his forgettable tenure here. The 34-year-old Weeks, who hit .167 in 37 games, was designated for assignment June 13 and was released Monday after clearing waivers . . . Speaking of guys in limbo, LHP James Paxton (strained middle finger in his throwing hand) still hasn’t been cleared to throw. Paxton’s injury has lingered so long that he’s scheduled to see a team doctor this week.


After facing three Houston starters that had a combined 92 career starts, the Mariners continue their tour of senior-circuit Kansas City starters with 36-year-old Jeremy Guthrie (5-4, 5.55 ERA) and his 261 career starts taking the mound for the Royals Tuesday. Mariners LHP Mike Montgomery (1-2, 2.73 ERA) will get another shot at a team that let him go. He spent his first five seasons in the Kansas City organization without getting a cup of coffee before getting dealt to Tampa Bay in 2012. Montgomery had a solid start against the Rays earlier, only to take the loss in a 3-1 defeat.


  • Sam Base

    This team is inexplicable. High draft picks who play like they’re fresh off the sandlot. Hitters who get hypnotized by journeymen pitchers. Outfielders who don’t understand the fundamentals. Infielders who can’t throw. Just a lovely team. Oh, I’m going to hang in there the rest of the season. But I don’t know why. I guess I’m inexplicable too.

    • jafabian

      The fact that the draft picks ARE fresh off the sandlot is part of the problem. Jack brings players up PDQ. He doesn’t seem to understand or care just when a player is ready to be an MLBer. To compare, Edgar had 2300 AB’s before he joined the M’s full time. Dustin Ackley had 167.

      • Rj Smith

        Well that’s part of the problem. The farm system and the big league rosters are so thin, basically because of bad draft picks/trades/free agents that they feel the need to rush them. But if they were good and/or correctly developed as in places like LAD, the young players would be productive. Unlike Seattle.

  • Rj Smith

    Worst team in baseball…… not much inexplicable about that. These clowns failed to sweep out the Astros & then “King” Felix unsurprisingly gets out-dueled yet again by another barely in the big leagues journeyman. The “King” has crapped his pants like this plenty of times before & it will happen plenty more in the future. The M’s actually score first on a HR from Mr single himself & the “King” in totally predictable style goes out & gives up runs immediately. These games are totally predictable. Was anybody surprised these dopes wouldn’t get a hit/baserunner until the 7th inning? I cannot believe people still think this joke of a team has any chance at anything other than the AL West basement. It’s time to deal the “King” to some unsuspecting franchise to re-stock the train wreck that is the Seattle Mariners. Of course everybody is going to say he is untouchable, which is so shortsighted & just plain wrong. Watch what Philly gets for Hamels, the M’s could easily demand more in a deal. Dealing the “King” right now while everybody nationally thinks he is a dominant number 1 SP, is the best option for the M’s.

    • Bayview Herb

      Some of you appear to leap off the bandwagon very quickly. While 27 other teams are fighting the same battle. I attended the first game back in the mid-seventies. I routed for Rupert Jones and many others. I did the same with the Seahawks.

      Maybe you negative people need to find another place to find entertainment. Some of the hitters are starting to get well. If they recover enough to compete,the rest of the season will get interesting. Bur please don’t jump back on the wagon. We, nor the Mariners will see you as a fair wonder friend/FAN.

      • Rj Smith

        A little FYI….. I’m no band wagon fan. Been following them since I was 8 years old, so that would be 1986. I’ve been living in Chicago since 1998 & following everything all Seattle teams do. I spend a fortune on the MLB package, plan my days off around M’s baseball & have to stay up extremely late to watch them lose these games, which are NOT free for me. So yes, I’m frustrated because I want a winner & demand excellence. As far as “jumping off”…… I remember the days of no televised homes games & crowds of 8,000 in the Kingdome. How about the only telecasts being 60 road games on KIRO & KSTW? I remember Joe Simpson being the third wheel. I remember George Argyros trying to move to Tampa. Tampa? Hey, haven’t the M’s been around a lot longer than Tampa, but no WS appearance? What about Miami or Arizona? Bottom line is, I want to see a winner, not this mediocre product they run out there year after year. I’m no fair weather fan, I know as much or more M’s history than anybody else.

        • Bayview Herb

          You don’t even come close to my team followers. since You obviously didn’t read or chose to ignore my comments. I am not a casual fan and have folowed the team since 1976. You however, are just a guy that spreads discontent. It doesn’t make you smarter, nor does it really a through thick and thin. How you can construe my comments a a causal fan suggests that you in fact only care when they win. They have enough talent to spring back. That doesn’t make it automatic, but if the players now on the roster wake up and just play their career averages, they could turn it around. It is unfortunate that you cannot express your opinion with out insulting those you disagree with. For your information I’m about twtice your age and I go back to The Seattle Rainiers in h e1940′s with some real greats played here. In many cases, before major league baseball paid less than Seattle and players like Dick Barrwtt, Al Lyons, Fred Hutcheson and others choae to play here for the mony.

          The best announcer in the nation was Leo Lassen. When you want to brag about how long you’ve been a fan, try finding out who you are talking to. My kids are from 41 to 53. You are not old enough or experienced enough to lecture me.

          • Rj Smith

            Nobody is lecturing you. You called me a bandwagon jumper & Fairweather fan. You accused me of following the team only when they win, which would be impossible because out of the 30 years I’ve been a fan, they have actually finished above .500 around 10-12 times. They haven’t won anything, that’s the problem. You said it yourself, they spent big $ on players like Cano. He is not hitting, most likely will not hit enough for the M’s to contend. They’re throwing $ at the wrong players & not using resources correctly to identify & develop young players. This cast of players that you assume are going to magically turn things around, is not going to get the job done. The roster as currently constructed is seriously flawed. One more thing…… you mentioned Adam Jones being traded under previous administration, I’m pretty sure the current owners were the owners then & had to approve that deal. Not only that, but they hired the clown who orchestrated that disaster of a deal, so this regime is still responsible. The only reason there haven’t been deals like that under the Trader Jack Z watch is because he hasn’t drafted/developed anybody worth anything outside of a few over rated/over hyped pitchers.

        • Bayview Herb

          Many years the ariners hVW S

        • art thiel

          Thanks for the bio and the bona fides, R,J. You’ve earned your bitterness. Some fans love M’s win or lose, and they’re entitled to that too. A lot of them are showing up — 26,000.

          But as someone who is emotionally and financially invested, you have a right to demand quality, especially this year. To have so many established players under-performing is appalling. You go.

          One nit: Argyros wanted to buy the Padres and sell the Mariners. MLB busted his chops. It was Smulyan who wanted to move to Tampa. His pal in Chicago, Jerry Reinsdorf, had it all arranged. While you’re in big shoulders, ask Jerry how that tasted.

  • Larry Gahlhoff

    Coming up, we will be able to look back in a year from now and wish the M’s had as many wins as they have right now. Plenty of parking available

  • Lodowick

    Wow. Look at that run differential! Oakland, currently a game and a half back of the M’s has an 86 run advantage over the Mariners. How are they in last place? It suggests they won’t be as much of a pushover as it may appear. But nobody is a pushover for the M’s, that is their problem and that was apparent in April. They were struggling with what appeared to be weaker teams. There are in fact only four other teams now in the American League with a losing record. Big time parity and that will make a big run difficult. They don’t play a series of teams with losing records until late July. By then the fires may be raging.

  • jafabian

    On the plus side the M’s had no errors. This season the fielding hasn’t been as crisp as last season’s. Beimel and Rodney did not give up any runs either. Hopefully the bullpen is beginning to come around. On the downside when you get only 2 hits and 1 walk you’re probably going to struggle in the game, especially when your pitcher can’t go past 6.5 innings.Felix looks like he might be beginning to tire which is understandable. He’s been a horse, carrying the team until recently. I’m sure Lloyd has him on a pitch count right now. Have to tip your hat to Blanton, he had a quality start.

    The Royals continue to successfully play small ball, getting 2 stolen bases. They were very aggressive on the paths last night, testing Zunino every chance they could. Dyson stole 2nd and came around to score but they kept Gordon from scoring after he stole a base. Have to give the Royals respect when you play them. They went to the World Series and lead their division after being projected to finish as low as 4th. A few hits in this game could have made this a completely different game.

    • Rj Smith

      Yep a few hits would have made a difference in this game & the others they have lost & will lose. They can’t & won’t hit. They’re done.

  • ll9956

    “Paxton’s injury has lingered so long that he’s scheduled to see a team doctor this week.” An expert I ain’t, but it seems to me that Paxton should have seen a doctor long before now.

    • Rj Smith

      It goes back to what I’ve been saying about the inability of this franchise to properly scout, draft, develop & handle players in general. Paxton & Iwakuma are hurt every year for some reason. These guys are clueless.

      • Bayview Herb

        Ain’t it great to be an expert? You are a ball player?

        • Rj Smith

          Wow…… another enormous ONE game win streak! The M’s love the easily satisfied casual fan such as yourself. Keep drinking the Jack Z 7 year process Kool-Aid. Do you realize under his tenure, they are about SIXTY games UNDER .500? Of course not, that would be “negative”. He would have been gone 2 years ago in any other organization, but not here. The M’s have a losing culture. They cater specifically to fans who do not demand excellence. You go on & keep enjoying the 1 game win streaks. The M’s are making $ hand over fist off fans who eat up the silliness that is the “Kings Court”.

    • Bayview Herb

      Look for Paxton odd man out when our Iwakuma @2 pitcher comes off the list

  • Bayview Herb

    Just finished tonight’s game winning over KC. With the rookie Montgomery pitching great ball, I’d hate to choose who will go to Tacoma when our Japanese ace comes back.