Well, it isn’t every day you get to nitpick at the offense when your team gives up four home runs and loses 11-5 to the Texas Rangers.
But the Mariners had Yu Darvish on the ropes in the very first inning like Ivan Drago about to move in for the kill on Apollo Creed. Darvish had thrown 38 pitches to get just one out, had the bases loaded behind him and four runs already in.
And what do the Mariners do? Go up hacking away and let Darvish off the hook five pitches later. I mean, the guy hadn’t thrown a strike in the previous plate appearance in walking Munenori Kawasaki to force home a run.
But Brendan Ryan had a terrible at-bat and swung at some really poor pitches before striking out. Chone Figgins hit a first-pitch groundout to end the inning.
A little more patience up there and Darvish is probably up near 50 pitches and pulled in favor of Scott Feldman, who was warming up.
Instead, it was 4-0 after one inning. And a four-run lead is never safe in this ballpark.
That said, it wasn’t all the hitters’ fault. Hector Noesi was downright terrible, even though Ryan did him no favors by failing to turn that one double play in the first, costing the Mariners two eventual runs when the inning continued.
Ryan then opted to throw home to nab Josh Hamilton rather than trying for a 6-4-3 double play that would have ended the third inning.
Hamilton was called out but should have been ruled safe. No matter, because the inning continued when the double play wasn’t attempted and the next batter, Nelson Cruz, hit a three-run homer.
Noesi probably should have been pulled at 76 pitches through three frames, but the score was tied and so Eric Wedge risked sending him out in the fourth. Wedge quickly regretted that move and had Erasmo Ramirez warming up after a leadoff walk.
But Ramirez couldn’t warm up fast enough and Mitch Moreland hit a two-run homer to give Texas the lead for good before Wedge could get Noesi out of there.
Ramirez gave up a solo homer to Hamilton but otherwise looked solid for three innings.
George Sheriil did not, allowing a three-run homer to Ian Kinsler in the eighth inning on a 3-0 pitch to close out the scoring.
Darvish? He goes 5 2/3 innings and gets the win in his debut. Not quite the way anyone expected, but a win is a win.