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September 5, 2011 at 10:06 PM

UPDATED: Mariners commit 5 errors en route to fifth consecutive loss

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The Mariners did little to distinguish themselves in the field tonight, booting the ball all over the place in a 7-3 loss to the Angels that probably should have been a lot closer than it was.
In doing so, they took loss No. 82 on the season, confirming that the Mariners will finish 2011 with a losing record.
Seattle jumped all over Angels starter Dan Haren, but had trouble getting the key hits to bring runners home — stranding eight in total.
On the other side, every Seattle fielding miscue seemed to be greeted by a home run, another error or some type of hit to maximize the offense.
“It was sloppy,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “We were just sloppy all day.”
Anthony Vasquez looked better as the game wore on.
“Once I kind of settled in, I was as comfortable as I’ve felt since I’ve been here,” Vasquez said. “It kind of goes back to the confidence and approach that I had in the minor leagues. That was great to just have some success under my belt those few innings.”

Vasquez probably deserved a better fate in the first inning instead of the three runs he allowed when Trayvon Robinson failed to catch a flyball that would have ended the frame. Instead, it prolonged the inning for a Mark Trumbo homer and that was really the pattern of the game.
Any time the M’s inched closer, the Angels would jump on a mistake and start to pull away again.
The season still has more than three weeks to go. Too many guys out there — young and old — played like it was already over and this was an exhibition game. Not one of the team’s better efforts in the field or in key offensive situations.
Ichiro’s play on the Trumbo double and throw that resulted in an error in the big third inning looked about as bad in-person as it must have on TV. Kyle Seager has to get in front of that grounder to third and at least knock it down.
Too many mistakes. Can’t pin this one on Vasquez entirely.
Instead, it was more of what you see from a mostly young team still learning the big league game and fighting the natural urge to pack it in this time of year. Let’s be honest, the AAA season ended tonight and that’s the timeframe a lot of these guys have naturally geared their bodies to endure in a season.
These extra three-plus weeks added on are going to be tough. It was tough to watch tonight and could get tougher.
When Wedge talks about players gearing themselves up to be tough, this is what he’s talking about. No player flat-out wants to quit. Well, no player worth keeping anyway. But it’s easy to lose focus just a little as the fatigue of a long season sets in. And when that happens at this level, the results are there for the world to see.
Now, it’s not all that.
The M’s did hit the ball hard off Haren tonight. That’s a positive.
And some of the mistakes we saw were “learning curve” moments that had best not be repeated too often by guys wanting to remain up with the team.
Robinson admitted he got closer to the wall than he thought he was and couldn’t extend his arm up to catch Hunter’s ball.
“I didn’t think I was that far on the wall,” Robinson said. “I couldn’t extend my arm to catch it. It just went over the top of my glove, to the top of the wall. I was more shocked, because I didn’t know how close I was to the wall.”
Robinson was disappointed in himself. He knows how to play center field and realizes he should have made the play. The fact he went out and got a double and single off Haren later on at least showed he can put the negatives behind him and still contribute.
Seager has had better moments than when he got caught in-between on that double-play grounder by Kendrick. Seager feels he should have turned a double play.
“I should have been charging hard or taking a drop-step back and planting my feet,” Seager said. “I got in a bad position. That’s a play I should make.”
Seager did come back to get a single off Haren. Another positive.
Vasquez couldn’t catch a break early on. He rallied strong at the end.
There were positives here to be found. Wedge noted them all. But in the end, as he concluded, there is still plenty of work to be done.
This team is rebuilding and these are pains you go through. The goal of rebuilding is to eventually win. That’s not going to happen with this group for a while. Not this year, in any event. This year, it’s going to be tough enough to finish the season without another double-digit losing streak, though the Royals coming to town later in the week could salvage that problem.
But these losses are tough. And rebuilding or not, some of these losses have been made too easy for opponents to hand out.
Not a good week to 10 days of baseball by the Mariners. Some of them really do need to find another gear and work on their finish. That has to happen before this rebuilding stage can reach the next level of ascension. Right now, they’re still in the “feet wet” stage. Whether that lasts three more weeks, 10 more months or two more years is really up to them.



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