The Seattle Mariners’ recent offensive woes aren’t a cause for concern.
Not in acting manager Robby Thompson’s eyes. They’re just a bump in the road.
With the Mariners’ 14-8 record in July and the whiff of wild-card hope in the air, Thompson was quick to shrug off the team’s lack of production in a stretch of three losses in four games.
“We have been swinging the bats good,” Thompson said. “We have to keep some positive energy around here and not give that (negativity) any life and let that grow.”
Although the Mariners were limited to six hits — one for extra bases — in a 4-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Saturday, the bullpen also wasn’t sharp for a second consecutive game.
Seattle pitchers allowed a season-high eight walks in nine innings; five of the free passes came from three relievers after starter Aaron Harang’s exit. Harang left after five innings trailing 1-0 after allowing three hits.
The Mariners’ best opportunity to score came in the second when Kendrys Morales led off with a double and advanced to third on
a wild pitch. Against Twins starter Samuel Deduno, who entered Saturday’s game with 36 strikeouts and 25 walks in 11 starts since being recalled from Triple A, the Mariners struck out six times and half their hits came against relievers.
Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire called Deduno the team’s best starter in recent weeks.
“He’s getting his teeth into games, his ball’s moving all over the place, and, as you see, hitters don’t like to face him. And that’s a good thing for a starter.”
Add Harang’s name to the list of Mariners pitchers who struggle to get run support. In 12 of his 17 starts, including seven of his past eight, the offense has scored two runs or fewer.
Harang said he and new catcher Humberto Quintero got on the same page quickly, but his pitch count crept up on him. A 12-pitch at-bat against Aaron Hicks in the second inning – which eventually led to one of his five strikeouts – didn’t help matters.
“Those (at-bats) add up into our pitch count,” Harang said. “It was definitely a grind today.”
Thompson, meanwhile, got exercise making three trips to the mound, pulling both Charlie Furbush and Yoervis Medina after 2/3 of an inning each. The pair combined to allow three runs on three hits, including back-to-back home runs by Brian Dozier and Justin Morneau off Medina in the seventh inning. That increaded Minnesota’s lead to 4-0.
Medina has given up three home runs in his past two appearances, after allowing Chris Colabello’s two-run home run in the 13th in Friday’s 3-2 loss. He hadn’t allowed a home run in 36 previous appearances this season.
“He’ll be OK,” Thompson said. “That stuff happens. He’s pitched very, very well for us. I’d rather look at it the other way that he’s only given up three. They just happen to be in the last couple of games.”Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @megwochnick