The Seattle Mariners don’t play the Cleveland Indians again until July 22nd. After this weekend, that might be too soon. Seattle can now refer to Cleveland as “heartbreak city” as the Mariners lost three times on walk-offs, twice in extra innings. The red-hot Indians posted a four-game sweep, sending Seattle to 20-25 on the season and 2-5 on a road trip that started promising with a series win over the New York Yankees. It is the first lost series for the Mariners since dropping two out of three to Houston nearly a month ago (April 22nd-24th), and it is only the second time this season the Mariners have been swept (at Texas, April 19tth-21st).
Unable to Cool the Indians’ Bats. The Mariners’ strength is their pitching, but the pitching staff had a rough weekend in Cleveland. The Indians put up 6, 5, 6, and 10 runs in the four games. By comparison, the last three Mariners opponents before Cleveland combined for 21 runs in 8 games where Cleveland put up 27 runs in 4 games. The strongest start in the series came from struggling youngster Brandon Maurer who held the Indians to five hits and three ER in six IP on Friday. Joe Saunders continued to struggle on the road giving up eleven hits and four ER in 5.1 IP on Saturday, Felix Hernandez gave up the most ER he had all season on Sunday surrendering eight hits and five ER in five IP, and Hisashi Iwakuma followed suit today giving up the most ER he had all season allowing seven hits and five ER in six IP. Hernandez’s ERA went from 1.53 to 2.07 after Sunday’s loss, and Iwakuma’s ERA went from 1.84 to 2.37.
Walk This Way. The Indians are red-hot, and they overcame some strong Seattle’s rallies to get the four game sweep. Raul Ibanez on Friday continued his strong power hitting on the road trip hitting a two-run HR to tie the game at 3 in the sixth inning. The game Friday went into the tenth inning before Jason Kipnis hit a walk-off three-run HR off Lucas Luetge. Saturday night, the Mariners came back from down 4-0 in the eighth inning. After two in the eighth inning from a Brendan Ryan HR, Raul Ibanez and Justin Smoak hit back-to-back HRs with two out in the ninth of closer Chris Perez to tie it at 4. With the bases loaded, the Indians delivered another walk-off when Brendan Ryan’s throw pulled Jesus Montero off the base giving the Indians a 5-4 win. Seattle looked like today would be the slump buster, but baseball can be a cruel game of inches. With two out in the ninth and a 7-6 lead, closer Tom Wilhelmsen couldn’t handle a flip from Justin Smoak while covering first on a grounder allowing the tying run to score. After Smoak homered in the top of the tenth, his second HR in the series, Cleveland answered the Seattle rally again with Yan Gomes hitting a walk-off three-run HR in the bottom of the tenth.
Two in Anaheim. What state will Seattle be in when they roll into Anaheim for a quick two game set with the Angels? They fought hard in the Cleveland series, but they leave Ohio with four straight losses. It’ll be the back of the rotation with Aaron Harang, recovered from back issues that made him miss Thursday’s start, and Brandon Maurer. Harang is 0-1 vs. the Angels this season, losing in Safeco on April 26th 6-3. Maurer is 1-0 vs. Angels, throwing 6.1 shut out innings in a 6-0 win on April 25th. The Angels, off today, are on the last part of a nine-game home stand. They’ve won two straight vs. the White Sox to pull to 3-4 on the home stand. Seattle is 3-1 vs. the Angels this season, with all four games having taken place in Safeco Field. This will be their first trip to Anaheim.