PHOTO CAPTION: Chone Figgins began today’s game with a leadoff home run, but it was all downhill from there in a 7-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
This wasn’t the best Sunday afternoon to waste following a Mariners team that didn’t do much of anything right after the game’s first two batters got a home run and a double.
The M’s did nothing to move runners over during some early chances off a young Henderson Alvarez and then failed to generate results in other situations after that. They also msjudged some balls in the field to help drive their starting pitcher’s pitch count up and also cost themselves a run during a five-run eighth inning with a bad throw.
The bullpen wasn’t anything to write home about during that eighth inning either.
“We didn’t play very well all day,” manager Eric Wedge said.
And the Mariners didn’t play very well on Saturday either. At least, not offensively.
They battled in some at-bats, yes. And if those battles counted for wins, this team would be right up there with the Rangers atop the AL West standings. But the results did not follow those tough at-bats when the M’s needed them.
It’s only two losses. And certainly, the four victories prior will help cushion the blow. But now, heading into Tampa Bay for four games against a tough Rays squad, the M’s have to make sure they don’t revert to bad habits.
The focus was a little off at times today.
Tomorrow, they’ll have Felix Hernandez on the mound and it would be nice to see them at least secure that .500 record for this 10-game trip. But Hernandez will still need some run support for that to happen.
If it doesn’t happen and the M’s lose, well, then the pitching gets a little more tricky as will securing potential wins. You don’t want this blip to snowball into something bigger and four games in Tampa Bay can do that to teams. So, we’ll see how the Mariners come out tomorrow.
“I didn’t feel like we were giving away at-bats but situationally, we weren’t very good at all today,” Wedge said. “Defensively, we were sloppy…so, we just didn’t play very well today.”
Chone Figgins got things going with that home run on an early change-up, then Dustin Ackley rocked Alvarez with a double off the wall. But Alvarez made the right adjustments when he had to.
“We had some good hacks at him, but he started changing speeds,” Figgins said. “He started taking something off his fastball. I think that he saw we were seeing his pitches pretty good, so I think he started taking something off his fastball.”
Figgins misjudged a flyball to left by Eric Thames that he started backpedaling on before sprinting in again. The ball dropped in for a double and the first Toronto hit off Jason Vargas with two out in the fourth.
Figgins said he was fooled by the heavy swing Thames took and figured he’d made better contact than he actually had.
Another miscue came when a foul pop-up dropped between Miguel Olivo and Kyle Seager. Olivo got charged with the error as he let the ball drop right in front of him with Seager — who had been playing further back at third base — cane charging in.
The players need to communicate better on that. Somebody should have caught it.
It didn’t cost any runs, but it did help run Vargas’ pitch count up higher than he needed it to be at. The little things matter.
The Mariners had been doing many of them right during the four-game win streak. Not today.