This was not the kind of game you’re going to boost television ratings with. The Mariners were thoroughly outclassed, 9-2 by the Texas Rangers, in a game that the visitors never really seemed to be in.
Even when the score was tied 2-2 in the fourth inning.
You just got the feeling the Rangers were going to tee-off against Charlie Furbush and company. They came close in the first three innings, then loaded the bases with none out in the fourth.
Furbush was fortunate to give up only two runs, notching a pair of groundouts to avoid the big inning.
But he loaded them up again in the fifth and that was it. Two of the three baserunners that inning reached on walks.
Furbush walked four on the night and lacked the command he showed last week against Oakland.
“Clearly, I didn’t,” he said. “I didn’t get ahead as much as I wanted to, and make quality pitches throughout the whole game,” Furbush said. “It’s just something you work on going into the next start.”
This Rangers squad was a complete opposite kind of test than the first one Furbush faced versus Oakland last week. The A’s are at the bottom end of the offensive spectrum, while the Rangers are up near the top of the food chain — even though they already fired their hitting coach this season.
Furbush said having to adjust to starting again isn’t that big a deal after he’d spent time in Detroit’s bullpen. He’s done the bouncing back and forth thing before.
“I’m not really worried about the transition back and forth,” he said. “It’s something I’ve done my whole career. Right now, it’s something I’ve just got to keep working at.”
Texas can hit pitches that aren’t top quality and we didn’t see many tonight from the M’s.
Jamey Wright came on in the fifth with the bases juiced and none out and couldn’t stop the damage.
In the end, the final score flattered Seattle. Texas actually left 11 guys on base.
Tom Wilhelmsen was a disaster in the sixth inning, when he gave up two RBI doubles and couldn’t throw strikes. But he then allowed just two singles in the seventh and eighth, striking out a pair. It was a nice adjustment that pleased manager Eric Wedge.
A patient Wedge is trying to take positives out of games like these, though the losses clearly grate on him after the season began so promisingly. It’s tough to watch things slide downhill in the loss column but he’s trying to stay focused on the future.
He liked the way Furbush competed tonight, though he admitted that the control was off. Furbush did a good job in that fourth inning situation to limit the damage.
And Wedge liked how Wilhelmsen bounced back. So did Wilhelmsen, who hadn’t pitched in over a week and went in there too strong.
“It felt good to settle down and start throwing strikes again,” he said. “I was pretty amped up the first inning, trying to be too perfect and fine. That’s what happens when you try to do that.”
Play of the night went to Mike Carp, who saved about three runs by snagging a liner that would have been at least a bases-loaded double. Carp stepped on his bag for a crucial second out that inning, or else we might still be playing it.
Jack Wilson doubled home a pair of runs. It was his second multi-run game in as many seasons. The last one came on April 21, 2010 versus Baltimore. Been a while.
Franklin Gutierrez had a pair of hits, including a double, getting him back over the Mendoza Line at .202. Gutierrez has to keep this up in order to salvage something from this season.
Not a banner night. This game was over early. Chalk it up to another learning experience. There should be a few more on the way before this season is done.