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August 8, 2012 at 8:17 PM

Good vibe from last homestand is going, going…

(Photo by McClatchy Newspapers)
The picture above is of Kyle Seager being forced out at the plate when Munenori Kawasaki elected to bunt with the bases loaded and one out in the second inning — a big chance for the Mariners to get back in the game. Instead, his poor (and ill-advised) bunt went straight back to pitcher Steve Johnson, who got the easy force at the plate. Dustin Ackley popped out, and boom, the Mariners had squandered a huge chance.
As I fully expected, Eric Wedge was not pleased with Kawasaki’s decision.
“I don’t want that,” he said. “I told him that. I don’t want him to bunt with the bases loaded there. I don’t even know where that came from. I told him, don’t do that again.”
It was that kind of night, en route to a 9-2 loss to streaking Baltimore (which made news of its own long after the game when word came out they were calling up top prospect Manny Machado. Looks like he’ll be playing third for them).

It’s been that kind of trip. Remember when the Mariners won seven in a row, and were 8-2 on the last homestand, and were 14-6 since the All-Star break? This trip was billed as a good test to see if the progress would extend to the road against three good teams. Well, so far, the answer has been no. They have lost five of the six games in New York and Baltimore, and today they rolled out a real stinker. Kevin Millwood didn’t pitch well, lasting just four innings. In two games since the trade deadline, when there was speculation Millwood would be traded but wasn’t, he has pitched 10 innings, given up 17 hits, and has a 9.90 earned-run average. The Mariners also had some defensive lapses.
“We didn’t help him out at all early,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “Of those first four runs, maybe one of them would have happened. We didn’t make any plays. We didn’t make any errors, but we didn’t make any plays. At the big-league level, we’ve got to make those plays.
“Four or five different things that happened early on just can’t happen. You can’t give them those opportunities and let them take advantage of it because we’re not doing what we should be doing out there defensively.”
The Mariners had just six hits — three by Kyle Seager, two by Jesus Montero, and one by John Jaso. They have scored just 16 runs in the six games on the trip so far (2.67 per game), and seven of them came in Tuesday’s loss.
Dustin Ackley is re-emerging as a major concern (if he ever stopped being one). He was 0-for-5 tonight with three strikeouts. He’s 4-for-27 (.148) on the trip. He’s hitting .186 since the break. Overall, he’s down to .222.
“You see him put a couple of days together, and then he reverts back a little bit, like he did tonight,” Wedge said. “Obviously, we’re a much better club when he’s doing something for us up top. That’s been noted. He has a pretty good idea what he needs to do to be successful. He’s just been inconsistent with it in games.”
The Mariners will have to think hard again about whether Ackley should join Justin Smoak in trying to work out his troubles in Tacoma. The Triple-A season only lasts until Sept. 3, so they’d have to do it quick.

Comments | Topics: Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero


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