Frustrating. With the Seattle Mariners coming off an eight-game losing streak, it was my hope, along with Mariners fans, that a softer spot in the schedule against the Padres and Twins would led to some success, that they would look more like the team we saw in the beginning of May that clawed to within one game of .500. Yes, five of seven were on the road, and the Twins came into the Seattle series red-hot, but a 3-4 mark over the last seven games is a bit of a disappointment. After dropping the series to the Twins in Minnesota, the Mariners fell to 24-33, already 11.5 games back of the division-leading Rangers in early June.
Good Start. The Mariners got off to a good start with Hisashi Iwakuma on the mound for the series opener. Iwakuma threw 7.2 shut out innings to lead Seattle to a 3-0 victory. Iwakuma moved to 6-1 on the season with a 2.13 ERA, combining with Felix Hernandez for arguably the best 1-2 starter combination in basbeball. Kendrys Morales paced the offense with a two-run home run in the sixth. Morales has gotten hits in twelve of his last thirteen games, raising his average to a team-high .300.
Lousy Finish. The Mariners looked to make it two in a row over the Twins on Saturday. Aaron Harang turned in his second Quality Start of the week (6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER) and, behind two Jason Bay home runs, the Mariners took a 4-2 lead into the ninth. Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen walked the first three Twin batters he faced in the ninth, and he was unable to recover giving up a sacrifice fly to Josh Willingham and Game Winning two RBI triple Ryan Doumit. Wilhelmsen received his third blown save in his last six outings in the 5-4 loss. For the season, Wilhelmsen still has put up impressive numbers with 12 saves and 1.85 ERA. Trying to put a tough loss behind them, the Mariners got off to a good start Sunday with three first inning singles and a 1-2-3 first inning for Jeremy Bonderman, making his Mariner debut in Brandon Maurer’s spot. However, Seattle only got two hits the rest of the game, and Bonderman struggled as the Twins took the rubber match 10-0. The final line on Bonderman was not pretty: 4.2 IP, 9 H, 7 ER. Seven of the nine Twins hits went for extra bases including three home runs.
Three v. the White Sox. Hopefully, the Mariners just need some home cooking. Seattle will play their next ten in Safeco Field, starting with three games vs. the White Sox. The Mariners’ rotation lines up strong with Joe Saunders followed by Hernandez and Iwakuma. Felix Hernandez lost to the White Sox when the teams met in Chicago in early April, Iwakuma had a no-decision in that April series (8 IP, 4 H, 3 ER), and Saunders has yet to face Chicago. The White Sox come into this game icy having dropped six games in a row: three to the Cubs and three in Oakland. Chicago holds a 2-1 series edge this season with all three games having been played in Chicago.