BY Art Thiel 07:51PM 04/10/2016

Thiel: Sweep by A’s leaves Mariners in full shrug

The Mariners had a throwback weekend against the Oakland A’s — to the offense in 2015. A 2-1 defeat Sunday to another obscure starter left a clubhouse full of shrugs.

A rare glimpse of a Mariner running on the basepaths this weekend. / Alan Chitlik, Sportspress Northwest

After the epic collapse by Jordan Spieth on the back nine of the final day of the Masters, the dull thud registered Sunday afternoon at Safeco Field will be little noted nor long remembered.

Especially by Robinson Cano. He greeted the three-game weekend sweep by the Oakland Athletics, completed with a 2-1, 10-inning victory (box) that wasted a seven-inning, two-hit shutout from Felix Hernandez, with a shrug stronger than anything produced by the Mariners offense.

“For me, I don’t worry about anything,” said Cano, who went 0-for-4 Sunday, ending a 21-game hitting streak with a 2-for-12 weekend.  “We lost the series. Gotta go home get some rest and be ready for tomorrow.

“We got 156 games left. We just got to be positive, not worry about what happened last three days.”

Pragmatically speaking, he’s right. That’s how baseball players have to think. Emotionally speaking,  at least from a fan’s perspective, it’s  . . . EAAAAGUH!

Probably the three worst carryovers from the the untidiness of the past season clouded up what had to have been the best opening-series weather in club history (although the Kingdome was always 68 degrees).

The Mariners failed again to support another quality outing by Hernandez, which put pressure on a suspect bullpen to be perfect, because the Mariners offense went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Look familiar?

In the three games, the Mariners had 15 hits and four runs, three earned. The only run Sunday was unearned: A sixth-inning error when A’s 2B Jed Lowrie butchered a fairly routine grounder by SS Ketel Marte.

That was good for a 1-0 lead and allowed Hernandez to at least leave after seven innings with no chance for the loss. He came out after 10 strikeouts and 99 pitches, which, in light of events, was about 20 pitches too early and a shame.

As A’s manager Bob Melvin put it, “You almost feel like there’s momentum in your dugout, just by the fact that he’s out of the game.”

His point was made when reliever Joel Peralta, who came on in the eighth because usual set-up man Joaquin Benoit wasn’t available, gave up a game-tying solo homer to No. 9 hitter SS Marcus Semien to tie.

In the 10th, reliever Nick Vincent broke the tie when he did same with leadoff hitter Coco Crisp, a booming shot to right that sent many in the crowd of 30,384 into the traditional pre-scurry ahead of the bottom half-inning. It was Crisp’s 118th homer in his 15-year career.

Manager Scott Servais nailed the offense’s malaise in his post-game summary.

“A lot of empty outs,” he said. They couldn’t even try anything because they had multiple baserunners in an inning only twice. Even more aggravating for the Mariners was that the A’s starting pitcher, Chris Bassitt, was no more accomplished than his immediate two obscure predecessors, Rich Hill (Saturday)  and Eric Surkamp (Friday).

Without warning, they turned into Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson, the A’s Big Three of 20 years ago.

Or, more reasonably, the Mariners offense reverted to 2015.

Asked whether there was debate about letting Hernandez pitch the eighth inning, Servais said it was discussed.

“We had a plan going in and we talked about it,” he said. “We all agreed it was the best direction.”

Hernandez offered no complaint.

“It’s my second start, I had thrown 99, and didn’t want to go to 115 in my second start,” he said. “He asked me how I felt, and I said I was almost there” at his physical limit.

In fact, the sweep — the first at home from the A’s since 2012 — didn’t turn on Hernandez’s unwillingness to go 200 pitches or until the A’s next run-allowing error, whichever came first.

It turned on an offense as futile as the 2015 version. Still, the moment is kind of weird, even for the Mariners’ long history of weirdness.

They can’t fire the manager six games into his career. They certainly won’t fire the hitting coach, because he’s Edgar Martinez. They can’t have a closed-door meeting this early. Servais can’t change much in the lineup when he barely knows the team under real-game conditions.

“We’re just not getting it done with the bats right now,” Servais said, shrugging. As Cano shrugged.

It’s April 10. Shrugs are all they have.



  • bugzapper

    How many times over how many years do I have to say, “SAME OLD SHIT!” ? Pathetic.

    • SeaRaays

      Then don’t watch. If it only makes you emotionally insane.

      • bugzapper

        Easy for you to say. Not so easy for me after 15 seasons of $11 beers.

        • 1coolguy

          I stopped buying tickets 9 years ago – try it, there’s a lot to do in Seattle other than bother with the M’s.

          • Jamo57

            I love the game of baseball and bought MLB.TV last year to be able still enjoy the sport and avoid the Ms inane broadcasts. And I’ve saved my money by not going to the Safe to take in MLB games when traveling. It’s allowed me to stay somewhat connected to that love of baseball established in 1962 as a 5 year old. Otherwise Howard Lincoln would have squashed it years ago.

            And yes, there is much to do in Seattle in the summer as well!!!

          • art thiel

            Geoff Baker’s story in today’s SeaTimes speaks to your lost loyalty. But if you’re standing on principle, you have to stay away in September when M’s are in the division lead.

          • Jamo57

            Indeed. Already had that conversation with my son two years ago when the Ms were in the hunt down to the final weekend. It’s been so many years now, I’ve actually moved on and don’t think of them that much (outside of arena rage, LOL). Kind of like an ex-spouse.

            The trend in the thread of comments inspired me to jump in though.

          • Jamo57

            Having said that, there is one part of the summer that is tough. That being, baseball is best as a radio sport. Having it on while doing yardwork or rattling around in the garage. I grew up with that connection with baseball (as so few games were on TV) along with studying the box scores in the paper.

            I guess Howard Lincoln isn’t the only reason I’ve drifted off. Losing Dave Niehaus compounded the problem. (And I’ve seen the future of Dodger broadcasts sans Vin Scully on MLB.TV. The trend towards the mundane will strike that franchise as well. :-( ).

          • MrPrimeMinister

            rick riz is an acquired taste and sorry to say after all these years I have not captured it. Still enjoy laying out in the hammock in the backyard on a warm summer night with the radio.

          • Jamo57

            A friend who also has MLB.TV says the subscription enables one to also pull in the radio broadcasts via smartphone. I haven’t checked it out but may try sometimes. Especially when in the cars. Rizz makes my ears bleed.

          • art thiel

            I understand the sentiment, but any franchise needs to build loyalty beyond single personalities. And 2.2M bought in last year, so there’s a lot of garage work going untended.

          • Jamo57

            The year Jacobs Field opened I had to go to a training seminar in Cleveland. Never missing an opportunity, bought two tickets via Ticketmaster and found another rep at the meeting who was a baseball fan. There was a commuter train that went to the stadium from near the hotel (imagine that!!!) and there was a passionate blue collar Indians fan on the train sitting near us. We struck up a conversation and I mentioned he must be excited about the massive upgrade the stadium was over the Mistake By The Lake. His happiness was tempered by the fact that the jump in cost of attending was going to reduce the number of games he could afford each year from about 45 to 10 or 12. He was a single guy too (or appeared to be). With a family I’m thinking 1 or 2.

            I’ll stay out in the garage I think. LOL.

          • bugzapper

            And the sidebar speaks to the M’s being the 4th Most Expensive Day At The Park in all of baseball. Remember that on Fan Appreciation Day.

          • art thiel

            But it is in line with Seattle becoming a top-five city in cost of living. They just have to beat the A’s once in a while to justify it.

          • jafabian

            That would surprise me. If the M’s are in a pennant race they’ll need to do a trade to improve over the other teams and they have no Marc Newfield, Ron Villone or Jose Cruz Jr. to trade.

        • SeaRaays

          So it gives you pain ..yet you still watch and complain? I have been a fan since 1990. Been to many a year. I given up the love hate agenda and take it as it comes. I enjoy the sport and stats.
          Can’t complain when you willingly paid the money. Nobody makes you go. It would be nice if they lose they give u a free beer.

          • art thiel

            Nothing wrong with attending if you can afford/enjoy. You don’t have to justify your passions. Sports are discretionary.

        • art thiel

          Bugz has actually done more damaging things to hisself than following M’s. Remember Tyrone Willingham?

          • bugzapper

            Of course. I was at his introductory press conference. He already looked like he was praying for guidance. Guess God was busy figuring out how to pay off Neuweasel.

  • Kevin Lynch

    88-68 from now to the end to get 90 wins. That’s 20 games over. it’s a long season and anything could happen. But yeah, these are key days to build the new marketing plan and the last thing you’d want is a slow start.

    • art thiel

      Then again, if they sweep Texas, all is lollipops and rainbows.

      • Kevin Lynch

        They were one inning away from blowing that first series with Texas. But they most always have a tough time out there and do much better against the Rangers at Safeco. Baltimore is 5-0. Anything can happen.

  • Sam Base

    Last year’s last place losers punk the M’s 3 straight games in the first home series of the season. The King goes home hungry and all the fans go home exhausted from doing the wave with no results.

    • Samantha Pearson

      “my room mate Maria Is getting paid on the internet 98$/hr.”….i!171two days ago new Silver McLaren P2 bought after earning 18,512 Dollars,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k Dollars Last month ..3-5 h/r of work a day ..with. extra open doors &. weekly. paychecks… it’s realy the simplest. work. I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months. ago. and now making over. 87 Dollars, p/h.Learn. More right Herei!171➤➤➤➤➤ http://GlobalSuperJobsReportsEmploymentsBusinessGetPaidHourly98$…. .❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦::::i!171…….

    • SeaRaays

      Still 156 games left..I believe it is going to be a rough month. Yet the M’s will get it going.

    • bugzapper

      I blame the wave.

      • art thiel

        Winner. We just can’t help ourselves.

    • art thiel

      What wa troubling was the A’s starters were just guys. None were Sonny Gray.,

  • Bayview Herb

    Well, management predicted a lot of one run games. YH, 3-2, 0-1

    all won by the A’s. Well, they didn’t lie, did they. Let’s hop the 10 new Mariners had their minds on where they would live and will settle down.

    • art thiel

      One-run games are a fact of MLB life in a pitching-dominant era. That’s part of why Dipoto built th team the way he did. Patience required.

      • tor5

        I know I shouldn’t get emotional after just 6 games. And I honestly
        don’t care at all about losing at this point, especially if it’s close. I’d just like to see the M’s score more than 2 runs at least semi-regularly. Am I being “impatient”?

        • art thiel

          They went big twice in Texas. But I guess that was soooo last week.

          • Sonics79

            Games at home last season (and this one too) in which the Mariners scored more than 8 runs: Four.
            I enjoy watching Little League more, at least there’s some offense.

          • tor5

            What do you expect me to believe: two games scoring 9+ runs, or five games scoring 3- runs? Don’t get me wrong. I love the team, the hires, the changes. But the perennial offensive futility is freaky.

  • bugzapper

    (AP) “Hernandez has allowed one run or fewer 90 times since 2009, the most in
    baseball. He has 26 no decisions in those games, and the Mariners have
    lost 19 of them.” And KIRO reported 38 Felix losses in ~130 such games.

  • bugzapper

    “We’re just not getting it done with the bats right now,” said Servais and every manager since Lou Piniella.

    • art thiel

      There was one week under Hargrove . . .

    • Jeannettejtorre4

      “my room mate Maria Is getting paid on the internet 98$/hr.”….i!264two days ago new Silver McLaren P2 bought after earning 18,512 Dollars,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k Dollars Last month ..3-5 hours of work a day ..with. extra open doors &. weekly. paychecks… it’s realy the simplest. work. I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months. ago. and now making over. 87 Dollars, p/h.Learn. More right Herei!264➤➤➤➤➤ http://GlobalSuperJobsReportsEmploymentsAnonymousGetPaidHourly98$…. .❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦::::i!264…….

    • Thelma Cooper

      “my room mate Lizette Is getting. pay on the laptop 98$/hr.”….!i342two days ago an awesome black McLaran P3 bought after earning 18,512 DoIIars,,,this was my previous month’s payscheck ,and-a little over, 17k DoIIars Last month .,,3-5 hours job a day..with. extra open doors &. weekly. payschecks…it’s realy the simplest. job I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months. ago. and now making over. 87 $, p/h.Learn. More right Here!i342➤➤➤➤➤ http://GlobalSuperJobsReportsEmploymentsGreenGetPayHourly98$…. .❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦::::::!i342………….

  • bugzapper

    Piling on should be illegal, but I didn’t write this.

    “For the first time ever, the New York based consulting firm Brand Keys ranks Mariners dead last among 30 major-league teams in its annual Sports Fan Loyalty Index,
    continuing a drop that started for the Mariners in the survey in the last decade.

    “When you look at them, what have they really done that would make fans stay loyal?’’ said Brand Keys president Robert Passikoff. “They’ve never won a World Series. They’ve never won a pennant. They haven’t been to the playoffs in over a decade and they’ve had a revolving door where they change managers every other year. This isn’t some New York guy going ‘I hate the Mariners!’ This is what their own fans have told us.’’

  • David Michel

    not exactly a wonderful start to the home season. Hitting with runners in scoring position, was atrocious, if not pathetic. This team needs to get off to a fast start, and this is not it.

    • art thiel

      A’s series capable of being forgotten as fast as the Texas series,

  • notaboomer

    wouldn’t playing the percentages have dictated a sac bunt by cano in the 10th with seager on 2nd and no outs hopefully followed by a sac fly by cruz to tie the game. cruz hit a deep fly as needed but only after cano whiffed. i thought the Ms are playing moneyball now?

    • art thiel

      Moneyball doesn’t include sac bunts, especially from $240M players.

      • notaboomer

        could have been cano’s chone figgins moment.

  • MrPrimeMinister

    Never has the annual deflated feeling struck so early in the season.

    • art thiel

      You probably weren’t around for the 1970s and 80s.

  • Paul Harmening

    Until the M’s make some really big noise, and I mean REALLY BIG like well into October, some teams pitchers, like the A’s for instance, put on the superman capes of the Hall of Fame ghosts from their teams past, like those Art mentioned, whenever they play the M’s.

    Baseball is sort of like a woman. If a guy really loves em, you can’t really leave them alone when they’re nice to you, even though you’ll gripe about them and threaten to ignore them when they’re otherwise. That probably goes vice-verca with the gals too.

    As Art so ingeniously put it…EAAAGUH ——

    • art thiel

      To carry the analogy one step,further, Mariners fans had a year-long fling with a hottie in 2001, and have spent the rest of their lives chasing that feeling.

      • Paul Harmening

        That hottie…Ah yes, the one that got away so long ago. And all we can do while we get closer to the grave is to pine away…Thanks for reminding me once again Art, of those two that should have been, but got away anyway…The gal and that 2001 team.

        As Dave N. would have put it: My oh my! Sigh——

  • wabubba67

    Does anybody in this organization since Pinella and Gillick abhor losing? (Like, I would rather lose 5 years of my life than get swept by the A’s at Safeco kind of losing.) Cano is talented, but a joke as a leader. He’s sooooo cool. Not who I would want young M’s to learn from.

    • art thiel

      I think you need to consider that it’s early April.

      • wabubba67

        For the last 13 years. So…kind of like our own Game of Thrones in Seattle? Early spring is coming! I have sensed a lack of emotion and disdain of losing for years.

  • Rj Smith

    So it’s the 6th inning of the opener against Texas. And of course the M’s are losing again…. typical. I see loss number 4 in a row very soon as they need to score at least 3 more runs tonight, which everybody knows the M’s can’t get in one game at home. Once again another mediocre to average pitcher is mowing down M’s mopes. Thanks Trader Jack Z.