May 22, 2013 at 6:53 PM
Mariners head home facing key decisions as losing streak hits six
This road trip ended shockingly worse than it appeared it would just five days ago, when the Mariners arrived in Cleveland having taken two of three from the New York Yankees.
They haven’t won since.
And while some of the games in Cleveland went down to the wire, the Mariners were simply blown off the field here. This game ended 7-1 in favor of the Angels, so the Mariners were outscored 19-1 in the two-game series.
That’s not going to cut it.
The pitching here from the starters was not up to MLB standard. And while I’m partial to letting the Brandon Maurer thing play out a little longer — given some moderate success he’s had — this is not supposed to be a training school. That’s what Class AAA is for. If he can’t get opposite-handed hitters out with frequency, he’s going to have trouble keeping pace at this level.
As badly as I feel for Maurer today — let’s face it, nobody wants to see somebody lit-up like that in his return to his childhood home — I feel just as badly for the Seattle players who were never given a chance to compete in this game.
Trouble is, the Mariners don’t have a whole lot of options, meaning that they could probably replace one of Maurer and Aaron Harang, but not both. Not with anything that will lead to a real improvement, at least not this early in the season.
But it’s not just the pitching. There are too many black holes in this offense starting to show through and the Mariners might want to make an infield change now, rather than wait for the season to further disintegrate.
The team nearly got shut out for the third time in four games. If there is any hope for an in-house solution to replace one of the struggling middle infielders — be it Robert Andino, or Dustin Ackley — they might consider doing it now.
The Mariners keep saying that the time for free rides and developing at the big league level is coming to an end. That may be true for some players, but others look like they could use seasoning in the minors or someplace else.
The Mariners don’t have a catcher to replace Jesus Montero with, which is why he’s still here and will be come Friday. But they do have Class AAA infielders in Carlos Triunfel and Nick Franklin who may or may not bring something to the table. They do have some options to replace some players who have underperformed all year.
If they keep trotting out the same old excuses while losing the same old games, more and more fans are going to keep tuning them out.
The Mariners were competitive in Cleveland. They got wiped out here. Cleveland is in the rear-view mirror. It’s time to look ahead and deal with some issues.