BY Adam Lewis 06:36PM 07/12/2015

Mariners’ McClendon: ‘We got to change things’

After a lifeless, sloppy 10-3 loss Sunday to the Angels, Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon called it “the worst game of the year” and vowed to make changes.

That’s the look of a manager that just watched his team commit three errors and lose by seven runs. / Adam Lewis, Sportspress Northwest

Win. Lose. Repeat. So it goes for the 2015 Seattle Mariners.

In their final game before the All-Star break, they were a special brand of awful. The sloppy 10-3 loss to the Anaheim Angels Sunday afternoon at Safeco Field (box score) was so filled with miscues that manager Lloyd McClendon issued a post-game challenge to his players. 

Get better. Or face consequences.

“Listen, I’ve given my club a lot of string and allowed them to do a lot of things, but it’s not working,” McClendon said after the Mariners fell to 41-48. “We got to change things.”

“You try to stay positive and encourage your club but maybe it takes prodding of a different nature,” McClendon said. “If that’s the case, then that’s what’ll happen.”

He had reason to be irked.

The Mariners committed three errors, didn’t mount any offense until they trailed by 10 runs and RHP Taijuan Walker wasn’t sharp — seven runs (six earned) in five innings — in what’s been a wildly up-and-down year for Walker and the Mariners.

“It was a very bad performance on our part,” McClendon said. “In a lot of ways, it was very embarrassing. We’re much better than that and we will play better than that.”

The Mariners (41-48) had a chance to enter the break on an uptick after an impressive 5-0 win Saturday night. Instead, they finished another homestand with a losing record (3-4) and dropped to 20-27 at Safeco Field. Instead, they continued an inconsistent July and settled for a series split.

The Mariners are 6-6 this month, with no streaks of any kind: W-L-W-L-W-L-W-L-W-L-W-L.

“That’s been the case for us the entire first half,” McClendon said. “We’ve taken one step forward and two steps back . . . But a lot of that is our own doing. We got to get better. And we got to start stringing together wins. And that’s the message I’m going to start sending my club the second half.”

Asked to specify what must improve, McClendon said “a lot of things.” If the Mariners are to re-enter the playoff discussion, they need more from an AL-worst offense, which went 1-for-6 Sunday with runners in scoring position.

“I still like what we see. We still got a good group in here,” 3B Kyle Seager said after going 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI to extend his hitting streak to six games. “We still go into each series and you like our team. Nothing like that has changed.”

But performances like Sunday give pause to wonder if they’ll be 10 games out by the Julye 31 trade deadline. After four days off, the Mariners begin Friday with a three-game series in New York against the Yankees, then to Detroit for a four-game set against the Tigers.

Sunday, the Angels jumped ahead 1-0 with one out in the second when 2B Robinson Cano, with the infield in, allowed a Matt Joyce ground ball to get by him. Another run scored on Walker’s wild pitch.

“I thought it was going to bounce,” Cano said of the fielding error. “It stayed down. That’s a situation where you want to be able to make a play.”

In the third, Mariners tormenter Erick Aybar hit a two-out double down the left-field line. Mark Trumbo fielded and threw wide of home, allowing Mike Trout to score from first. Walker, backing up the throw, fired wide of the plate.

Cano, backing up Walker’s misplay, threw home and barely nabbed Aybar before he scored a gifted inside-the-park homer. The out call was upheld after Angels manager Mike Scioscia asked for an instant replay review.

“We caught a break because we got a guy out at the plate,” McClendon said.

Still, it was 3-0. The tone was set. The Mariners looked like they started the break a day early.

It came apart for Walker in Anaheim’s six-run sixth. After drilling Trout in the shoulder with a fastball to start the inning, Albert Pujols followed with a single. Aybar then laid down a sacrifice bunt. Instead of taking the easy out at first, Walker fielded, spun and threw wide of third and down the left-field line as Trout came around to score. David Freese then doubled off the top of the wall in center, driving in two to make it 6-0. That ended Walker’s uneven day.

“It was just one of those days,” Walker said after allowing at least five runs in each of his past two starts. “I felt like I had really good stuff. Everything was working really well. I just had that throwing error in the sixth and it kind of went downhill from there.”

He struck out seven, didn’t issue a walk, but fell to 7-7 as his ERA spiked to 4.84.

Angels LHP Andrew Heaney was much better.

The first-round pick by the Marlins out of Oklahoma State (2012) began the season as the No. 1-ranked prospect in the Angels organization, according to Baseball America. Since being recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake, Heaney has four consecutive quality starts.

Sunday was his best. Heaney (3-0, 1.32 ERA) pitched a seven-inning shutout, allowing five hits, striking out six and walking one.

The Mariners trailed 10-0 in the eighth when LF Dustin Ackley checked in with an RBI groundout. Seager added an RBI single to make it 10-2. Pinch-hitter Seth Smith led-off the bottom of the ninth with a homer, his eighth.

That didn’t ease the sting of another botched opportunity.

“We just played the worst game of the year,” McClendon said. “I can’t imagine a better time for a break.”


Injured LHP Charlie Furbush (left biceps tendinitis) will throw during the break and likely accompany the team to New York for the July 17-19 series against the Yankees, McClendon said. The tentative plan is for Furbush to progress to bullpens, then throw a simulated game when the Mariners go to Detroit July 20-23 . . . Before landing on the 15-day disabled list, Furbush was 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA and 0.65 WHIP in 33 games ¬†. . . Injured LHP James Paxton said he still feels stiffness in his strained left middle finger, but he’s making progress and playing catch in his throwing program . . . LHP David Rollins allowed a two-run homer to C Chris Iannetta in the sixth . . . Reliever Danny Farquhar was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma after he pitched 1.2 scoreless innings and allowed two hits Sunday. The Mariners have yet to make a corresponding roster move.


  • coug73

    The Mariners are 6-6 this month, with no streaks of any kind: W-L-W-L-W-L-W-L-W-L-W-L.

    Beat you to it Rj.

    There are going to be some changes made, sounds like a blues song I’ve heard somewhere.

    • Rj Smith

      It would be nice to see these dopes WIN 9 of 11 like when they LOST 9 of 11 on that terrible homestand. Wishful thinking.

  • Topcatone

    As it usually goes in baseball, it is all about the pitching. Some promising players, but no consistency.

  • Kevin Lynch

    The jury is still out on Walker. We’ll see. A wild pitch and two wild throws and no, Zunino did not tag Aybar on the close call at the plate. I think the staff will be fine. The pen is troublesome as far as long relief is concerned and using anyone not named Lowe or Smith. And the holes in the lineup are going to be their undoing. They can’t get on base and they can’t hit with a runner on second or third.

    Is there any of that laughing gas left? I could use some.

  • Kevin Lynch

    Here’s an interesting perspective. The M’s are one game better than the worst team in the league, record wise, the A’s. But principally, that’s because they dodged Sonny Gray who had gastritis and missed his start in the last series. They also missed Price and Cabrera in the Tiger series. So it could be worse. Anything left in that gas canister?

  • Rj Smith

    Seager “likes what he sees”….. that’s a huge problem there. The M’s less than anemic offense & below average bullpen don’t display anything that anybody should like to see except the other teams.

    • art thiel

      What would you expect him to say? “We’re a bunch of schlubs.”

      • Rj Smith

        He could be somewhat close to honest & acknowledge the fact that they haven’t been getting it done & need to do so, not “I like what I see, 2.5 runs per game is great”

  • jafabian

    I look at the Astros who finished 70-92 last season but did only one big subtraction from the team in the offseason in trading Jason Garcia to the O’s and brought in 3 free agents in Jed Lowrie, Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek. Like the Astros and Royals it might be at the point where the M’s need to be allowed to grow. Impatience brings you watching Adam Jones and Chris Tillman in another uniform. I question if all the personnel changes during the season was detrimental to the team cohesiveness as well as tolerating poor play from some players for longer than might have been thought of. What’s done is done at this point. The All-Star break is coming at a good time.

    • Rj Smith

      The Astros have done a good job of drafting well & developing their players. Their big league roster & farm system is far superior to the M’s. Houston might fade down the stretch because of their youth, but it won’t be these jokers in Seattle catching them. They just have too many below average players.

    • Mike

      The Mariners have been ‘allowed to grow’ for about 4 decades now.

    • art thiel

      This team was constructed to win now. Not to grow.

      • jafabian

        I don’t see how that can be realistic when you have Paxton, Walker and Montgomerey and Elias among the starting pitchers and having Zunino, Miller and Taylor as well. The rotation was not realistic to be able to contend on its own.

  • mindful

    Sad day The CEO of nintendo passed away are owner passed away last night . @ 55 years of age.


    He also felt like the other nintendo owner that they owed it to us in the pacific northwest. To have a baseball team .

    • jafabian

      Nintendo has been very good for the Pacific NW and I appreciate that they came forward to save baseball in Seattle.

      • Tian Biao

        But that was more than 20 years ago. The current Nintendo ownership of
        the Ms is beyond stale. They care more about turning a tiny annual
        profit than they do about winning.

        Nintendo should either a) fire Lincoln, or b) sell the team to someone who wants to win. It’s abundantly clear that Lincoln can’t produce a winner. I’m not sure why: I suspect the whole organization is wormy and incompetent, as detailed in the Seattle Times last year. Just look at the W-L records of Lincoln’s last two GM hires, Bavasi and Zduriencik, or look at the number of times a Lincoln-led team has finished in last place.

        Yet Nintendo keeps Lincoln around year after year after year, with no end in sight. what’s up with that? Doesn’t finishing in last place bother these guys?

        • jafabian

          IIRC, Lincoln is retired from Nintendo. So they really can’t fire him if that’s the case.

          • Tian Biao

            I don’t mean fire him from Nintendo. I mean fire him from his current position as CEO of the Mariners and hire someone else. Someone better. Someone competent. Someone who knows what they’re doing. Someone who wants to win. Someone, in other words, different from Howard Lincoln.

          • art thiel

            But he serves as Mariners CEO at the pleasure of the NOA board. It’s a three-member group, and one just died.

        • art thiel

          As the story said, the team appreciates in equity value annually and makes annual profits. The win-loss record is of little concern.

    • art thiel

      You’re right about that. It was a civic duty. Not a passion.

  • notaboomer

    Ms suck at home. win just 5 games at home that they lost and be 2.5 out of first at a-star break. seager’s right. also don’t let trumbo play field. actually i’d trade him.

  • notaboomer

    maybe lloyd’s having a come-to-jesus moment. as in jesus at 1st base every day.

    • art thiel

      Trying too hard, nota.

  • notaboomer

    Ms only have 4 players with ops over what is considered acceptable for mlb players, .700. cruz, smith, seager, miler.(guti over but not enough plate appearances to really count yet).

    • art thiel

      True. That’s how you get seven games out.