Where to start?
It was a brutal Tuesday for the Mariners at Comerica Park. They lost their top hitter, Mitch Haniger, to a strained right oblique. They lost their staff ace, Felix Hernandez, to a some sort of shoulder problem.
And they got annihilated 19-9 by the Detroit Tigers. It’s a bad game when you score nine runs and lose by 10.
"Right now, you’re not thinking about the game," second baseman Robinson Cano said afterward. "You’re hoping things don’t get worse with Felix and Haniger."
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Three takeaways from Tuesday’s loss:
***Haniger’s strained oblique: He’s been battling some tightness for a few days but believed he took all the necessary precautions. Even so, Haniger felt his right oblique muscle grab when he fouled off a pitch in the third inning.
He then lined a single into center but was clearly in pain as he ran to first.
For now, Haniger chooses to be optimistic. It doesn’t seem too bad. He’s hopeful the twinge will dissipate overnight or in a few days. But that’s the cruel nature of oblique strains. They rarely seem bad initially, but they linger.
Often for four-to-six weeks.
Losing Haniger would be a major blow for an attack that is just starting to find its footing. Shortstop Jean Segura returned Tuesday with a bang. Nelson Cruz is on a roll. Cano shows signs of becoming Cano. But it’s tough to lose your best hitter.
***Felix’s shoulder: The most worrisome aspect of Hernandez’s shoulder ailment is that he bolted the clubhouse without talking to reporters. He never does that. He is as accountable as any player, certainly any star, in the game.
With Hernandez’s shoulder, the odds are better that it’s a minor problem than Haniger faces with his oblique. (But these are early odds, subject to change.)
The King’s shoulder has a lot of mileage on it. And as manager Scott Servais noted afterward, "Anytime it’s a pitcher and a shoulder, you’re concerned." So, yes, the Mariners are concerned.
***What’s next?: Look for some roster moves prior to Wednesday’s game. Even if Haniger isn’t immediately placed on the disabled list, the Mariners are going to need another outfielder.
Ben Gamel is the likeliest candidate, but Boog Powell is also off to a good start at Triple-A Tacoma. The situation surrounding Leonys Martin, who was designated Sunday for assignment, could also be clarified.
It’s also likely the Mariners will shuffle their bullpen for some fresh arms. Chris Heston and Evan Marshall each pitched multiple innings in Tuesday’s shellacking and neither was particularly effective.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners