Mariners Insider

Angels 7, Mariners 1 — Ackley’s second homer of the season the only highlight in another loss

Post by Ryan Divish on Aug. 25, 2013 at 6:57 pm with 9 Comments »
August 25, 2013 7:38 pm
Dustin Ackley is congratulated after hitting a home run against the Los Angeles Angels in the third inning .  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Dustin Ackley is congratulated after hitting a home run against the Los Angeles Angels in the third inning . (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Eric Wedge is still waiting for wins and runs. Since returning from a month-long recovery from a mild stroke, the Mariners manager has yet to walk out of the dugout at Safeco Field and shake hands with his players following a victory.

It didn’t on Sunday. The Mariners managed just one run once again in a 7-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

“Not a great re-entry for myself here,” Wedge said with a forced chuckle.

Getting swept at home in a three-game series for the first this season, and scoring just two runs in 27 innings is far from enjoyable,

“Our guys are better than what we’ve been seeing,” Wedge said.

It’s difficult to imagine anything beneficial coming from yet another nondescript loss in a season filled with them. But the Mariners’ one run offered a little hope for future success of the team and of its once-promising prospect.

Dustin Ackley was responsible Seattle’s solitary run. He gave the Mariners a brief 1-0 lead, blasting a solo home run to right-center off of Angels’ starter Jered Weaver on a 3-2 curveball.

“It felt great,” Ackley said. “I was telling somebody when I came into the dugout that it felt pretty weird jogging around the bases. I haven’t done that in a while.”

It might not be called jogging with how fast Ackley circled the bases.

“It wasn’t until the ball went out till I realized it was a homer,” Ackley said. “I didn’t think right away that ball was going out, especially when you haven’t hit one in a while. I was booking it around there.”

It was just Ackley’s second big league homer of the season. The other was a grand slam in Toronto on May 5. Since that time, he’s been optioned to Triple A Tacoma for hitting troubles and converted from second base to the outfield.

Ackley also hadn’t homered at Safeco Field since July 31 of 2012.

The Mariners never envisioned Ackley as a big-time power hitter when they selected him with the second overall pick of the 2009 draft. But they did think he might be able hit anywhere from 12-15 homers as he progressed with his ability lash line drives into the gaps. Ackley certainly believes he is more than a singles hitter.

“You definitely want to hit balls into the gap and you want to occasionally hit homers,” he said. “I think that comes with time and barreling up balls.”

Ackley also had a sharp double in the eighth inning to go 2-for-3 on the day. In the 26 games he’s played in since the all-star break, Ackley is hitting .330 (30-for-91) with eight doubles, a triple, a homer and nine RBI. Ten of the 18 extra base hits he has on the season have come in that span.

“It’s been encouraging to see, good for him,” Wedge said. “He’s come a long way and he’s had to do it the hard way. A lot of that is on him, and I’m impressed with the way he’s handled it and fought through it.”

Part of the recovery was fighting uncertainty in himself and in his swing.

“I think before I kind of got caught up in: I’m not trusting in my swing because I’m not hitting doubles, not hitting homers,” he said.

It made Ackley passive and it drove Wedge crazy.

“That’s not his personality,” Wedge said. “I don’t know where the hell that came from because that wasn’t his way when he first came up here. He just got himself into some sort of funk and it’s just taken him some time to fight through it. Liked we talked about, he’s a hitter, and he’s going to be hitter.”

Ackley feels more like the guy that played so well when he was called up in 2011. He’s aggressive and going after pitches and driving them.

“I feel like this is how it used to feel, to be honest,” he said. “It’s just getting up there and expecting to barrel the ball up no matter where it’s pitched. That’s the hitter I believe I was and I believe I am now. If I continue to go on that same path I don’t see any reason it won’t continue.”

Ackley’s homer and 1-0 lead was quickly erased a half-inning later when Seattle starter Aaron Harang fell apart in the fourth.

After getting two quick outs, Harang gave up back-to-back doubles to Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo. He intentionally walked Hank Conger to set up a possible double play. Instead, he gave up a two-run triple to Chris Nelson to right field.

“Off the bat, I thought it was going to slice a little more,” Harang said. “But it landed right on the line. Once you release the ball and it’s not in the spot you wanted, it’s kind of out of your control.”

Grant Green followed with an infield single to score another run.

When Harang finally struck out Peter Bourjos for the elusive third out, the Angels had scored four runs. And with the way the Mariners have been hitting, it was four runs too many.

Any foolish thoughts of a Mariners’ comeback were crushed in the seventh inning. Once again, Harang got the first two outs of the inning quickly and couldn’t get the third without damage. Grant Green singled, Peter Bourjos scored him with a triple and then Harang (5-11) served up a two-run homer to Kole Calhoun on a 3-2 change-up to make it 7-1. Wedge couldn’t watch any more and lifted Harang.

“The problem was all the runs came with two outs and nobody on in both of those innings,” Wedge said. “He’s a veteran pitcher and he has to be able to shut that down and get that final out. Some bad misses in the middle and they squared up some balls.”

Harang didn’t’ allow a run for the first three innings, striking out five batters. But the Angels changed their approach and starting swinging early in the count.

“They started to be aggressive and swing at first pitches,” Harang said. “I was throwing first pitch strikes early in the game and getting them behind and then getting them to chase pitches. I think once the line-up flipped over they came out swinging early.”

Weaver (8-7) got the win, pitching eight innings and giving up the one run on three hits with eight strikeouts and no walks.

Leave a comment Comments → 9
  1. Skysport says:

    What a godawful series.

    Great to see Ack pop one tonight and hitting a lot better overall. He just has way to much talent not to succeed, especially now that he’s getting out of his own way.

  2. Quinault says:

    The biggest cheers came for the bad dancer – with a troupe of kids.

    Hate to go all negative: but 12 games to a losing season. Next up – Texas.

    Who all is on the waiver wire? Time to ship Ryan and Perez.

  3. wabubba67 says:

    Perez isn’t going anywhere. The guy gets LH and RH batters out. His only problem is that he has been overworked this season.

  4. Quinault says:

    My point is that he is the best trading chip left in our stack. The trade deadline came and went with no movement. Now teams preparing for the post season have to set their rosters before Sept 1, so there is one last chance to prepare for the off-season for us. Many of the deals that expire after this season will not be renewed given the performance / value. Baseball is a business.

  5. bbnate420 says:

    Yeah, there’s no guarantee Perez will be back. He did pitch well this season until he got run down. I sure wouldn’t mind him coming back to be a setup man. Farquar, Capps and Pryor are probably the key to this bullpen in 2014. Wilhelmsen is just a disaster right now. Pitching terribly in AAA.

  6. Palerydr says:

    I would also throw Furbush in the mix his splits aren’t as good as last year but still pretty good overall. Perez is not pitching well lately maybe that’s overuse or maybe he’s just not that good. He is a LH reliever however, who seem to have 9 lives in the baseball world look at Darren Oliver for instance. Yoervis Medina also has some decent numbers and he’s only 25.

  7. bbnate420 says:

    Palerydr, I wasn’t trying to suggest that they don’t have some good pieces right now. Furbush is pretty good. The type of pitcher you need. Medina has been very good. I just mentioned Pryor, Capps, and Farquar because they are question marks and the ones most likely to close in 2014 IMO. Pryor has the most talent IMO. I think he is potentially a very good closer. Obviously he needs to get healthy. Capps has great stuff but has struggled with command and his secondary stuff. Farquar has good stuff and has pitched well as the closer, but he’s still really an unknown. Those 3 guys being right in 2014 would be a big boost to the bullpen.

  8. Palerydr says:

    Ok Nate I see your point and can agree to that. One of those guys Pryer or Farquar most likely, need to step and grab that job. It’s not a bad thing to have 2 or 3 guys in a pen who can close. I believe next years pen will be at worst avg and hopefully very good.

  9. wabubba67 says:

    Why are you guys in such a hurry to unload valuable pieces of a Mariner bullpen for next year….for next to nothing in a minor end of August deal that will likely yield a AAA or AAAA outfielder or another young arm that is not quite ready yet?

    Everybody else knows that Perez is not pitching well right now, likely due to overuse. If you were the other team making the deal, what would you give? Not much.

    Furbush is a LH (like Perez) that has decent numbers against both LH and RH batters…and can also spot start. The others are young and about to come into their own.

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