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June 14, 2011 at 10:48 PM

Ugly first inning sinks Mariners in loss to Angels

(Photo by Associated Press)
This game was over practically before it had begun. The first inning was one of the Mariners’ ugliest of the year, and it cost them. The Angels scored the only four runs that would be scored all night at Safeco Field and won 4-0.
The way Jered Weaver pitched, and the way the Mariners have been hitting, you just felt they never had a chance, even when Doug Fister righted himself and pitched great for the next six innings. It’s admirable that Fister turned things around, just as he did in Detroit in his last start (all four runs he allowed were in the fifth inning) and the time before that against Tampa Bay (all three runs he allowed were in the second). But Fister is going to have to find a way to avoid those big innings in the first place. Then again, the Mariners never score when Fister pitches — he has the worst run support in the American League, with the Mariners scoring two or fewer runs tonight for the 11th time in his 14 starts. That adds up to eight losses, tied with John Danks, Jeremy Guthrie and Fausto Carmona for most in the American League.

This is a crucial time for the Mariners to keep this nice run they’ve made so far this year from unraveling. They have now lost six of their last nine games, with one more against the Angels on Wednesday and three against the Phillies looming. As Geoff has stressed, they had a chance to put away the Angels that they’ve already let get away. Now the Angels will be going for a sweep on Wednesday that would cut their deficit with Seattle from 3 1/2 games to start the series to one-half game leaving it. If the Mariners can win behind Erik Bedard against Ervin Santana), it would at least build back their cushion to 2 1/2 games.
Here’s what Wedge said about the cutoff by Chone Figgins in the first inning that backfired when the M’s botched a rundown play between first and second. It looked like Mike Carp’s throw had a chance to nail Erick Aybar at the plate, but Wedge didn’t have any issue with Figgins’ play.
“I know what he was doing. You’ve got a chance to have one run in and get an out there with nobody on the bases, but we just didn’t execute the rundown. Early in the ballgame that’s fine. It was probably going to be a bang-bang play. I couldn’t tell if it was going to be on line or not. But taking the out there and really controlling the damage, obviously you saw what the flip side of that was. If we control the damage right there, it’s very feasible to believe that it’s one run and it’s a whole different ballgame.
“We’ve got to execute. The last couple of days,, we’ve made some mistakes and you see what happens.”
Indeed. The Mariners don’t hit well enough to give away any runs.
A couple of positives for the Mariners: Carp had two hits off Weaver and played decently in left (though he did have a ball clank off his mitt for a double by Mark Trumbo on a diving attempt in the eighth). And Ichiro, after a first-inning error when he mishandled a base hit by Howie Kendrick, made two excellent running catches. He also had two hits, including a ringing double in the ninth. No question, he’s hitting the ball with much more authority since his day off in Detroit. In the four games since, he is 8-for-17.

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins


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