Does this feel familiar? Well it should.
The Seattle Mariners were shutout. Yep, that would be the 11th time this season.
The Seattle Mariners were beaten by Matt Harrison. Yep, that would be for the seventh straight time.
Sunday’s 4-0 loss like so many other losses the Mariners have suffered over the past few seasons – decent pitching that gets no run support from a tepid offense, resulting in a non-descript loss that leaves fans shaking their head in frustration.
The aggravation is only heightened when reminded of the Mariners’ decisive 7-0 win on Saturday over all-star Yu Darvish.
But that’s what this Mariners team has been like all season – inconsistent.
All season, manager Eric Wedge has preached and promised that it will get better. It was no different after the most recent time his team was held without a run.
“You can’t give into the fight, you can’t give into the grind,” Wedge said. “You have moments of frustration, but ultimately the belief never changes. It’s not just blind faith. There are real reasons to believe these young men are going to be much more consistently offensively.”
Wedge believed there was reasons in their latest outing against Harrison.
The Rangers all-star lefthander allowed just five hits in nine scoreless innings, and overcame four walks with three strikeouts and some help from his defense. He improved to 12-4 on the season. The 12 wins tie him for the most in the big leagues. Meanwhile his record against the Mariners is even better. For his career, he is now 9-1 against Seattle with a 2.25 earned run average. Seattle hitters are hitting just .231 against him. Harrison is also 5-0 at Safeco Field with a 0.96 ERA.
“I thought it was different today,” Wedge said. “I know we didn’t score any runs. Our at-bats were a lot better against him. I think we only struck out a couple times. We had seven or eight hard outs.”
While it may seem like conjecture, Wedge did have a point. Seattle (37-52) had several hard hit balls that resulted in outs. The most costly came off the bat of Sunday’s surprise lead-off hitter Brendan Ryan in the second inning with the Mariners down 1-0.
With runners on first and second and two outs, Ryan ripped a line drive that seemed destined for the right-center gap. But it was grabbed out of the air by second baseman Ian Kinsler to end the rally. Ryan let out a scream of frustration.
“You do everything right and something good doesn’t happen, it is frustrating,” Ryan said. “That’s about as loud as I’ve ever yelled – just the way things have gone personally. That’s an RBI there. We probably have runners at first and third and you have (Ichiro) up, so who knows what could have happened.”
Hisashi Iwakuma pitched okay, giving up four runs in five innings. The two-run single by Adrian Beltre was a decent pitch that Beltre just muscle though the left side.
The bullpen pitched better. Steve Delabar, Charlie Furbush, Brandon League and Tom Wilhelmsen held the Rangers scoreless for the final four innings. But the problem was Seattle couldn’t get to the Rangers bullpen – not that the Mariners would have fared much better. But it’s clear they can’t hit Harrison.
But the Mariners never could get the key hit to break through. Michael Saunders picked up his second hit of the game – just the second left-hander to have a multi-hit game against Harrison this season – with a lead-off single in the fifth. But he was quickly erased when Chone Figgins lined into a double play to second baseman Ian Kinsler.
“Chances are you won’t get too many opportunities against a guy like that,” Saunders said. “We hit the ball hard, but nothing really fell for us, that’s the way the game goes sometimes.”
Seattle had runners on first and second with one out in the seventh, but Ryan’s hard ground ball to third was gloved by Beltre and resulted in a 5-4-3 double play.
“Once he got through the lineup a couple times, you saw him work the changeup and start getting guys off balance,” Ryan said. “It shows how good his stuff is because he can go to his third pitch and he’s effective. You really want those balls to fall in when you can.”
- Texas is now 25-19 in 44 road games this season, tied for the best record in club history (also: 1977 & 1999)…team was 20-23 after 43 road games in 2011.
- Rangers improve to 9-1 in last 10 series, and win a road series against an AL West team for the first time this season.
- Matt Harrison tossed his 2nd complete game shutout this season (also: 6/8 @SF) and 4th in his career…his 12th win of the season, tied for the most in MLB (R.A. Dickey, Gio Gonzalez, David Price).
- Harrison has won 7 consecutive starts vs. the Mariners dating to May 1, 2010, tied for the 3rd longest winning streak against Seattle since they debuted in 1977 (also: Tommy John & Chuck Finley)… 3rd longest streak against one opponent in Rangers history (1st & 2nd: Charlie Hough, 13 vs. CLE & 9 vs. MIN).
- Harrison is 5-0, 0.96 ERA (4 ER, 37.2 IP) in 7 games (5 starts) at Safeco Field, the lowest ERA ever at Safeco Field among pitchers with 5+ starts. In 16 career games (12 starts) vs. Seattle, he is 9-1, 2.25 ERA (22 ER, 88.0 IP) holding batters to a .231 BA (75×325)…3-0, 1.13 ERA (3 ER, 24.0 IP) in 3 starts this season. In 10 road starts this season, Harrison is 8-2, 2.76 (22 ER, 71.2 IP).
- Adrian Beltre went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI, his 575th career multi-hit game and 34th this season…his 564 multi-hit games as a 3rd baseman are 10th among 3rd basemen since 1918 (9th: George Kell, 569)…2nd among active 3rd basemen (Chipper Jones, 622)…146 3+ hit games are 9th among third basemen since 1918, 2nd among active third baseman (Chipper Jones, 153). since June 14th, he is batting .400 (40×100) with 6 home runs, 5 doubles, 21 RBI, and 22 runs.
- Ian Kinsler scored 2 runs…his 65 runs on season are tied for most runs scored in MLB (also: Curtis Granderson, 65).
- Craig Gentry went 2-for-3 with a run scored and is hitting .368 (35×95) in 47 Ranger wins this season compared to .269 (14×52) in 24 losses…Gentry was caught stealing for the 4th time in his last 13 attempts after starting his career with 19 consecutive stolen bases.
- Rangers have scored 4-runs-or-less in 10 straight games, the club’s longest streak since 10 in a-row from June 13- 22, 1999.
- Seattle was shutout for the 11th time this season (last: 6/29 vs. BOS), tied for most in MLB (also: Oakland)…2nd shutout at the hands of Texas (also: 4/10 @TEX)…Mariners were shutout an AL high 16 times in 2011.
- Seattle is winless (0-6-1) in its last 7 series and 2-9-1 in their last 12 series…have now lost 6 of its last 7 rubber matches and are now 7-10 in a MLB leading 17 rubber games this season.
- Hisashi Iwakuma went 5.0 innings allowing a career-high in runs (4) and hits (7) in his second career start. In 2 home starts is 0-1, 6.30 ERA (7 ER, 10.0 IP); to 1-0, 2.20 ERA (4 ER, 16.1 IP) in 7 relief appearances.
- Tom Wilhelmsen tossed one shutout inning, extending his scoreless streak to 22.0 innings, tied for the 4th longest by a reliever in club history…the 22.0 inning scoreless streak is the 3rd longest active streak in the American League.
- Steve Delabar went 2.0 innings with 3 strikeouts and now has 44 strikeouts on the season, the most by any rookie reliever in MLB (2nd: Ryan Cook OAK, 41).
- Charlie Furbush faced just one batter, striking out left-handed hitting Josh Hamilton swinging…on season is limiting left-handers to a .158 (9×57) batting average while striking out 27 and allowing just two extra-base hits (both 2B).
- Michael Saunders collected his 16th multi-hit game of the season going 2-for-3…his 2nd multi-hit game vs. a lefthanded pitcher (also: 6/12 vs. San Diego) this season after only 1 multi-hit game vs. left-handed pitchers in 2011…batting .283 (26×92) vs. lefties this season compared to .143 (8×56) in 2011.
- Brendan Ryan was the 6th Mariner to bat leadoff this season, most leadoff hitters in a season for the Mariners since 6 in 2002 …Ryan’s first time batting leadoff since 2010 (with St. Louis).
- Jesus Montero’s single in the 1st inning snapped a 0-for-25 streak dating back to 6/26 vs. OAK, the longest hitless streak of his career.