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Box score: 07.06.14 Box Score
The Mariners were Noesi’d once again.
This time Hector Noesi wasn’t pitching for them, but pitching against them. The one-time Mariner pitcher, tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings to help the White Sox pull out a 1-0 win.
Really, it shouldn’t be a complete surprise. It’s happened before this season. The list of lesser-known, “average” pitchers that have shut down the Mariners this season isn’t small or exclusive. Names like Robbie Ross Jr., Collin McHugh, Nick Tepesch, Jesse Hahn and Josh Tomlin are penciled on there.
With an offense that is can be inconsistent and prone for scoring droughts as the Mariners, an opponent’s fifth starter can suddenly look like an all-star on any given start.
But Noesi? That one stings.
After all, the Mariners endured countless Noesi starts and relief appearances where his above average stuff was crushed because of less than average focus. In 36 appearances (19 starts), Noesi was 2-14 with a 6.13 earned run average.
Noesi, who the Mariners designated for assignment in April, has always had the talent. Blessed a mid 90s fastball, natural movement and good off-speed pitches, he’s got the ability to be good. It’s why he’s managed to stay in the big leagues despite a career 5.74 earned run average. Every team believes they can fix him.
“He’s always had really good stuff,” Seager said. “That’s never been the issue.”
The issue has been actually using that stuff to his advantage. Instead, he’s been hindered by mental lapses, shaky command and free base runners.
The Mariners never forced him into any of those situations.
Noesi allowed just five hits, walked two and struck out five. If you couple this outing with a relief appearance against the Mariners for Texas, Noesi has thrown nine scoreless innings against his old team.
“You have to give him some credit,” said Robinson Cano. “But we chased a lot of pitches out of the zone. That’s what makes the pitcher even better. When you start chasing it, he doesn’t have to throw your strikes.”
Manager Lloyd McClendon wasn’t about to give Noesi any credit and was clearly frustrated with his team.
“If you’re looking for accolades from me, you’d probably be better off going to talk to them about that,” McClendon said. “We swung at a lot of balls today. If we were patient, we probably should have walked seven or eight times. We just didn’t have good at-bats.”
The White Sox only managed two hits, but scored a run on a wild pitch off of Seattle starter Taijuan Walker in the first inning for the only lead of the game. It was the ninth time in club history the Mariners lost a game despite giving up two hits or less.
Walker struggled with his fastball command for the second straight start.
“It just wasn’t there,” he said. “The last two games I haven’t felt comfortable with my fastball and that’s my best pitch.”
Walker will spend the days leading up to his next start trying to find it.
“I’m going to go back and watch video and get it figured out,” he said. “I just get too quick and get excited. I think it’s something small and I think I once I find it. ”
McClendon pulled Walker after 83 pitches and four innings. He’d given up two hits, walked five batters (one intentional) with three strikeouts and two wild pitches.
“They didn’t do any damage off of him, he did the damage to himself,” McClendon said. “For me, it was a disappointing outing. We’ve got to shore some things up. He just didn’t have command of the strike zone.”