The Mariners had a one-run lead in the ninth, but, three runs later, they were down by a pair and wound up taking a 6-4 loss.
Brandon League gave up a leadoff single, then a walk, then threw away a bunt attempt at third base. The ball bounded around left field and past Chone Figgins and the game was tied and two runners were in scoring postion.
Howie Kendrick then laced a League fastball into center field and that was it.
Two runs scored, the M’s went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth and are now sitting in the clubhouse dealing with another tough loss. League was pretty upset with himself, as you might imagine.
More so for what happened on the bunt play than anything else.
“I thought if I made a good throw then I had a chance to get him at third,” League said. “But it went into left field. Then, it’s like all hell broke loose. I don’t know how else to explain it.”
What isn’t tough to explain on the events prior is how League once again found himself in hot water, with two on and none out in a one-run game. His fastballs were coming in too high and hitters were jumping on them — both Trumbo to lead the inning off and Kendrick to finish the rally.
The walk to Alberto Callaspo also hurt bad because it moved a run into scoring position and meant the Angels could tie the game up without the benefit of another hit. League has already walked 11 batters this season compared to just 10 all of last year.
“That’s been one of his issues,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “When you do that, you’re going to put yourself up against it, especially with one-run saves.”
Wedge now faces some decisions about what to do with League. The Mariners clearly need one of their bigger trade pieces to get himself back to success mode on the mound or else they’ll see little offered their way come July 31.
There is also that thing about winning and losing now.
The team can’t keep blowing games with League on the mound. This is his third blown save in the last five chances. Though those opportunities came about 3 1/2 weeks apart, each loss has an impact that risks carrying over to other games.
They are rather demoralizing defeats, as many of you watching at home probably feel in your own gut.
So, I asked Wedge what happens now. He’s going to talk it over with pitching coach Carl Willis first.
But does Wedge send League back out there in a save chance tomorrow? Or does he have to see him do some things in a non-save situation first?
“You can’t just make a move without having somebody else take on that role,” Wedge said. “Brandon League is our closer. We’ve got to get him going. We’ve got a lot of young kids down in that bullpen. But Carl and I will continue to talk about everything.
“The most important thing obviously is to win ballgames here,” Wedge said. “We’re not going to make a reaction decision right after the ballgame.”
Not right after, no. But this can’t keep happening.
The Mariners had some positive things go their way tonight with four RBI from Justin Smoak and a strong seven innings out of Blake Beavan.
But nobody will be talking about it tomorrow.