It keeps getting worse for the Mariners. On Wednesday, they blew a five-run lead in a 10-5 loss to the Houston Astros at Safeco Field and dropped to 2-8. Manager Scott Servais called it "disappointing." It was all of that.
Three takeaways from Wednesday’s loss:
***It’s getting serious: Letting a five-run lead turn into a five-run loss left the Mariners grasping for answers. At least they have an open date Thursday to regroup. Will it help? It’s hard to see how it could hurt.
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Wednesday’s collapse makes at least three times in 10 games that the Mariners let a likely win turn in a loss. And at six games under .500, they now likely need to play well for a month to get back to even.
"Go back to what we pride ourselves on," manager Scott Servais said. "Controlling the strike zone. We’re not doing it. We’re not doing it on the mound, and we’re not doing it in the batter’s box.
"The team that controls the line of scrimmage — the strike zone — typically wins most of the time in our game. We’re not doing it. Our guys are very frustrated. They know they’re better than what we’re playing.
"But it’s easy to talk about it. You’ve got to go out and do it."
***Utility plus: Adding Mike Freeman as a second utilityman alongside Taylor Motter provides the Mariners with enormous roster flexibility. Freeman played first base Monday and had two hits in place of a slumping Danny Valencia.
Club officials say shortstop Jean Segura will be ready to play April 21 when he is eligible to be activated from the 10-day disabled list. When that happens, look for the Mariners to clear space by cutting back to the usual complement of 12 pitchers.
***Clock ticking on Martin?: Center fielder Leonys Martin is off to a dreadful start at 3-for-36 with 12 strikeouts. While he’s not the only player struggling at the plate, he’s struggling more than anyone else.
How long will the Mariners tolerate Martin’s punchless bat? A year ago, they had little choice but to endure it when he went into an extended slump because they had no viable defensive option for center field.
That’s no longer the case. By most metrics, left fielder Jarrod Dyson is a better defensive center fielder than Martin (although Dyson is also off to a slow start).
Guillermo Heredia made the roster due to a strong spring but has barely played. That could change over the next week-plus because the Mariners anticipate facing some left-handed starters, including Martin Perez in Friday’s game against Texas.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners