The Mariners have lost three of four. During those, they have scored one run total. As a New York Yankees’ wordsmith once said, it’s like deja vu all over again.
Seattle had just three singles, two from Robinson Cano, Sunday in a 3-0 loss to Oakland. The Mariners dropped to 6-5.
The calendar contends the last four games should be viewed with caution. So does Cano.
“It’s 162 games. We only played (11) games, we won already (six) games,” Cano said. “You don’t want to look for anything negative right now and try to figure it out. You’ve just got to turn the page and be ready for tomorrow. We lost this series at home. Now, we go away, face Texas and see what can happen.”
Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon joined that thought process. He was asked if he was worried about the offense.
“I was today,” McClendon said. “When I wake up tomorrow, I’ll be just fine. When you get two or three hits, nobody looks good.
“Winning games at this level is tough. (Scott) Kazmir’s been on fire. He chewed us up pretty good today. We’ll bounce back. We’ll be fine.”
There is validity to his claim about Kazmir. Kazmir appears to have reverted to the lethal form he showed while with the Tampa Bay Rays. From 2005-08, Kazmir had a 3.51 ERA and struck out 9.7 batters per nine innings for the Floridians.
He soon lost his way with Tampa Bay, however, and was traded to the Los Angeles Angels, where he was abysmal. Kazmir’s ERA was 5.94 in 2010. He was released in 2011. Eventually he joined the vaunted Sugarland Skeeters of the Independent League, grasping to find that former version of his pitching self.
Kazmir was able to get it together last season with the Cleveland Indians. Ten wins and a 4.04 ERA were sufficient to earn the American League Comeback Player of the Year Award.
Sunday, he put the Mariners on a discombobulating teeter-totter. When they thought they saw Kazmir’s 95-mph fastball, it was actually a slider or curve. When awaiting something off-speed, Kazmir zipped his fastball from edge to edge. It was a pitching how-to that squeezed his ERA down to 1.40 in three starts this season. He threw six innings — leaving after experiencing some triceps tightness the A’s said afterward was not a future concern — allowing two singles and striking out nine.
Cano is hitting .333, but it’s a light .333. He has two doubles and 15 singles. He’s also walked six times.
Yet, he’s the only regular hitting more than .300, so it’s a quibble. Justin Smoak is down to .220. Kyle Seager is hitting .121. Abraham Almonte .217 from the leadoff spot and Brad Miller .224 behind him. Corey Hart is doing a Rob Deer impression with a .188 average supplemented by three home runs.
The Sunday upshot: Six scoreless innings from Chris Young in his first start in the major leagues since Sept. 29, 2012. Young says he hasn’t felt this good in five years. His shoulder is finally pain-free after doctors figured out he had a nerve problem. He’s going to continue to push to build arm strength and find better touch with his off-speed stuff.
“I feel like I can throw the ball better,” Young said. “The three walks were too many. For a first start, it’s not bad. Certainly, I want to build on it.”
There is one issue, however.
“We lost the game, so that’s all I really care about,” Young said.