A quick note: I’ve confirmed that Mike Zunino, the Mariners’ top draft pick, is indeed in Seattle. It looks like he will undergo a physical exam on Monday, which would put him in line for an introductory press conference on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Zunino is flying to New York for the Golden Spikes Award ceremony. He’s a finalist for the top honor in collegiate baseball along with Stanford’s Mark Appel and North Carolina State’s Carlos Rodon. Zunino’s parents and fiancee are said to be in town as well.
As for the game, well, you’ve seen it before, many times. The Mariners blew some scoring chances, let the Red Sox hang close when they had a chance to pull away, and ended up losing late, 2-1, in 10 innings. Once again, Eric Wedge was not happy afterwards. It wasn’t the tirade of Friday night, but his irratation was evident.
“We had multiple opportunities, I felt, innings in which we should have pushed at least one across. We had plenty of guys had an opportunity up there to have a big hit for us. We let that one inning slip away. We didn’t get the bunt down, and other things got away from us, too.
“When you make the starting pitcher throw 100 pitches in an inning and a third, you have to do a hell of a lot more than that. This is a game we should have been in a better position to win in the end. Vargas pitched a great ballgame. With a chance to take three out of four from a pretty good ballclub, you’ve got to finish those games off. We most definitely did not today.”
Dustin Ackley was the one who didn’t get the bunt down in the fourth with runners on first and second and no outs. He ended up striking out, and the rally fizzled. Add “failure to execute bunts” to Wedge’s list of grievances.
“I’ve not been pleased with that. It’s something we work on daily, but obviously we have to do more than that. When you’re in those situations, especially when you’re struggling to score runs like we are, you have to execute even more to get runners in scoring position.
“But we had other opportunities with runners in scoring positions, we just didn’t come through. Just that one sac fly. We have to do better than that.”
Brandon League, meanwhile, continues to be a concern, giving up the winning run in the 10th. On this same weekend a year ago, League was named an All-Star, but now he’s a former closer struggling to regain his form.
“He’s just been inconsistent,” Wedge said. “Today’s another example of that. This is a guy who should be pitching with more confidence. He had 37 saves last year, he got off to a good start this year. He struggled a little bit. Every time he goes out there, it’s another opportunity for him.”
That goes for the entire team, which is hitting .197 at Safeco FIeld after 38 games. Here’s what Wedge said when asked about his second-half goals. With a 34-47 record after 81 games, the Mariners are on pace for a 68-94 record — not exactly inspiring confidence in the efficacy of this rebuilding program.
“Obviously, I want to play better here at home. That’s the first thing that comes to mind. I want to be more consistent offensively, and those two probably go hand in hand.
“We have works in progress with a lot of individuals. Every player we have, to a man, needs to be honest with themselves and assess where they are, physically, fundamentally and mentally, and work to be that much better in the second half. If everyone takes care of their own backyard, the wins will take care of themselves.”
Thus far, it’s the losses that have been taking care of themselves.