Things had been looking up for the Mariners after they won series on the road against two good ballclubs, Texas and Cincinnati, then came home and opened up with an 11-4 win over the Red Sox, the team with the most wins in the majors.
They even held a 5-1 lead over Boston through two innings last night. But over the next 13 innings, the Mariners were outscored by the Red Sox 17-3, losing 11-8 last night and 11-4 tonight. Suddenly, they are back to 11 games under .500 and counting on Erasmo Ramirez, making his first start in the majors this season, to get them back on track tomorrow afternoon.
Actually, Ramirez still hasn’t been officially announced as the starter, but all signs point to it, just as all signs point to Carter Capps heading to Tacoma to clear a roster spot. Capps didn’t give up a run tonight in 1 2/3 innings but walked two, and has a 6.37 ERA.
One other things to watch for: Nick Franklin had to leave the game after six innings when his sore knee (he fouled a ball off it in Cincinnati) began to bother him. He’ll be re-evaluated tomorrow.
Manager Eric Wedge said, accurately, of this one, “It wasn’t a very good ballgame at all. We didn’t play well at all.”
It was a particularly poor effort for Aaron Harang, who had pitched pretty well in his previous two outings (14 innings, five earned runs). But he was in trouble virtually from the start (Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single) and gave up eight hits (including a homer and two doubles), walked three and hit a batter, giving up seven runs in five-plus innings. Tellingly, he didn’t strike out any.
“They made me work,’’ Harang said. “I was falling behind in the count early on, and you can’t do that with a lineup like that.”
The Mariners cut loose Jeremy Bonderman earlier this week after two poor outings, but I don’t see that coming with Harang. He’s pitched two complete-game shutouts this year and no doubt has a little more rope than Bonderman. Besides, with Ramirez already coming up and Danny Hultzen on the DL again, it’s hard to see who would replace him in the rotation. The Mariners don’t seem inclined to call up 20-year-old Taijuan Walker yet despite three strong starts at Triple-A.
David Ortiz warrants mention after getting a double, homer and sacrifice fly. He’s hitting .413 over his last 21 games and is 8-for-10 in this series.
“He’s still a force,’’ Wedge said. “I’ve seen too much of him over the years. He’s about as professional a hitter as you can be. Still has the bat speed, still has the power. Commands the strike zone probably as good as anyone in the game.”
Wedge dismissed the notion of pitching around Ortiz.
“It’s tough,’’ he said. “You have guys behind him, too. They have one of the best offenses in baseball. You put someone on, they have someone else coming. I’ve been through this time and time again. You’ve got to make pitches. You make pitches, you can get anyone out. You make a mistake to him, he’s going to make you pay for it.”
The Red Sox have made the Mariners pay repeatedly over the past two games.