(Photo by Getty Images)
Dee Gordon and Tony Gwynn Jr, shown above, had a lot to celebrate on Sunday after an 8-2 Dodgers win, but not so much the Mariners. It was just an all-around lackluster day at the ballpark in front of a crowd of 34,807, second-biggest of the season after Opening Day. And the night before, when 30,287 showed up for an 8-3 loss to Clayton Kershaw, was the third-biggest crowd of the season.
They saw the Mariners continue to struggle to hit, and score, at Safeco Field. The Mariners scored a grand total of six runs in the three games. They hit .181 (17-for-94). For the season, they are hitting .194 at Safeco Field, scoring at a clip of 3.17 runs per game (76 in 24 games). On the road, they are hitting .257 while averaging 4.81 runs per game in 37 outings.
All that positive momentum from their explosive road trip (66 runs in nine games) hasn’t yet manifested itself at home. Granted, they faced a Dodgers staff that has the second-lowest ERA in the major leagues. Kershaw won the Cy Young Award and is one of the best pitchers in baseball. But they also faced a rookie on Friday and scored just one run. On Sunday, they faced Chad Billingsley, who has good stuff, but any Dodgers follower will tell you he has a tendency to blow up at points in ball games. In fact, there’s even a Twitter account, @billsmeltown, dedicated to predicting which inning Billingsley will melt down in each start.
But he never melted down against the Mariners, giving up just two hits (one of them Kyle Seager’s eighth home run in the first) in seven innings.
“He did a good job against us, but I didn’t feel we did a very good job,” manager Eric Wedge said. “Obviously, we’ve proven we’re a lot better than that. We need to get over that hump at home, and get back to swinging the bats like we’re capable of.”
I asked him what it would take to get over the hump at home.
“I think games. Being home more, like we’re going to be, will help. If you can hit, you can hit. I think with what we did on this last road trip, and the confidence these guys gained, some of the things they did against very good teams and some very good pitchers, it’s going to carry over to us at home as well.”
The other burning issue is sure to be the future of Blake Beavan in the rotation after another poor outing. He lasted just two innings, giving up six runs in the second, and now is 1-2 with a 11.77 ERA with four home runs allowed over his last three starts. Beavan’s ERA has gone from 4.38 to 5.92.
Wedge was non-commital when asked whether Beavan would stay in the rotation.
“There’s nothing going on with anything right now,” he said. “We don’t make rash decisions. He’s a young pitcher, he’s had some success up here. He’s a guy that knows what he needs to do to be successful. He’s proven that will work up here, but he has to get back to doing that.”
The Mariners would seem to have two main options to replace Beavan if they decide to make a move — Hisashi Iwakuma, who worked 2 1/3 scoreless innings Sunday in his first back-to-back appearance of the season, and Erasmo Ramirez, who is pitching extremely well in Tacoma. Ramirez had a no-hitter for 7 2/3 innings in his last outing. Danny Hultzen has been dominant at Double-A, but I expect him to make a stop at Triple-A before he comes up to the majors.
My own two cents worth: I’d like to see Ramirez get a look. There’s a lot to like about him, and at age 22, he could be a big part of the Mariners’ future.