My, oh…my, oh…my gosh. This would be bad if it were the Packers and Seahawks in preseason. But 24-3 in baseball? Even Cactus League baseball…yikes.
Let’s start with the positives. There were two for Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma in Monday’s all-senses-numbing debacle against the Milwaukee Brewers at Maryvale Baseball Park.
One, Iwakuma didn’t get hurt. And two, these games don’t count. Good thing, too. He gave up seven runs in 2 2/3 innings. If this were the regular season, it would be the worst start of his career.
"Overall, my timing, my balance…," he said. "I couldn’t get my lower body to sync to my upper body. I couldn’t the feel for anything. Nothing was working. I have nothing to say today that went well."
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Iwakuma has given up a career-worst seven earned runs twice in 130 starts over his five-year career. But each time he at least made it through the third inning.
As bad as Iwakuma was — and that, as noted, was historically bad — it got worse after he departed.
A lot worse.
"That was as rough as they come," manager Scott Servais said. "They hit a lot of balls hard. We didn’t pitch very well. Kuma didn’t have a whole lot today. The guys behind him, early in the game, not much either."
Ryan Weber faced nine hitters in the fourth inning. The first seven got hits, then a sacrifice fly and another hit before the Mariners summoned minor-league call-up Brett Ash, who gave up three more runs in the inning.
Ash gave up five more runs in the fifth, while getting just one out, before the Mariners turned to lefty Dean Kiekhefer, who ended the inning and kept the deficit at 23-1.
The Mariners actually grabbed a 1-0 lead on Ben Gamel’s one-out homer in the first inning against Junior Guerra before the sewer began backing up on Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ two-out, two-run double later in the inning.
Milwaukee extended its lead to 5-1 in the second inning by scoring three runs after Eric Sogard blooped a two-out single. Keon Broxton and Travis Shaw followed with homers.
Iwakuma appeared is good shape in the third inning with a runner on first and two outs before he reached his pitch-count limit in giving up an RBI single to Orlando Arcia.
In came Evan Scribner, who gave up a double to Manny Pina that closed the book on Iwakuma — but the Mariners were disintegrating at this point.
An error, a double steal in which the Mariners appeared confused — second baseman Mike Freeman held the ball as a run scored — a runner reaching safely on a swinging third strike because of a wild pitch…
It was a mess.
And then it got worse.
The Brewers were on a roll 24 straight runs before Dan Vogelbach lofted a two-run homer to left in the seventh inning against Nick Ramirez.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Broxton’s two-run homer in the second inning against Iwakuma was an absolute bomb to left. It bounced high off the berm and cleared the retaining wall into the shopping center.
PLUS: Lefties Marc Rzepczynski and Nick Hagadone pitched scoreless innings after the Brewers put up a 2-3-3-10-5-1 line score in the previous six frames…Gamel and Vogelbach had nice swings for their homers. Vogelbach’s drive went to the opposite field…Kiekhefer resembled Merlin in limiting the Brewers to one run in 1 2/3 innings after Weber and Ash combined to give up 15 runs in 1 1/3 innings.
MINUS: Pretty much everywhere you look in the boxscore. Team effort.
STAT PACK: The Brewers were 12-for-20 with runners in scoring position.
QUOTABLE: Question to Iwakuma: Anything good in that? Reply: "Nope."
SHORT HOPS: The Mariners put their defensive flexibility into high gear. Mitch Haniger played left field after regular duty in right field. That could happen at times this season when the Mariners want to put Nelson Cruz in the outfield…Danny Valencia started the game in left field…utilityman Taylor Motter started the game at third base but played the final two innings at first base.
UP NEXT: The Mariners return to their spring home for a 1:10 p.m. game Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox at Peoria Stadium.
Lefty James Paxton is slotted for three or four innings in his third spring appearance and second start. Dillon Overton, Nick Vincent, Dan Altavilla and Micah Owings are also scheduled to pitch.
The White Sox plan to start right-hander Lucas Giolito.
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on mariners.com. The game can also be heard on a delayed broadcast on 710 ESPN at 7 p.m.
DAYS LEFT UNTIL OPENING DAY: 20.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners