It’s been a rough start to the weekend for the Mariners at the Rogers Centre. With a 4-0 loss Friday to the Toronto, the Mariners are on a 17-inning scoreless streak.
Nelson Cruz hit a two-run homer in the first inning of Thursday’s 7-2 loss. Since then…nothing. That Robinson Cano missed both games because of a strained right quadriceps muscle didn’t help matters.
The Mariners got a competitive effort Friday from right-hander Christian Bergman, whom they summoned May 7 from Triple-A Tacoma after a series of strong starts for the Rainiers.
Bergman scrambled throughout his five innings but limited the damage to three runs. That’s probably good enough for him to stay in the rotation for at least one more cycle.
The Mariners are poaching another of Tacoma’s top pitchers to start Saturday’s game; right-hander Ryan Weber will be promoted Saturday morning after going 2-0 with an 0.85 ERA this season for the Rainiers.
Manager Scott Servais held off confirming Weber as Saturday’s starter after Friday’s game because the Mariners are still planning their corresponding moves to clear space on their 25- and 40-man rosters.
Three takeaways from Friday’s victory:
***Cano’s absence: Maybe it will change overnight, but Cano appears likely to miss the remainder of the series because of his ailing quadriceps muscle. He wasn’t even available the last two games to serve as a pinch-hitter.
Losing Cano not only takes a potent bat out of a suddenly-struggling lineup, it also leaves Servais with a two-man bench of utilityman Mike Freeman (who is batting .074) and a catcher — either Carlos Ruiz (.118) or Tuffy Gosewisch (.077).
The Mariners might normally opt for an extra reserve over an eighth reliever, but the patchwork rotation puts a premium on having a stable of rested relievers.
***Bergman’s outing: Although he threw just 66 pitches in five innings, including 46 for strikes, Bergman pitched from the stretch nearly the entire night. The Blue Jays put their leadoff hitter on base in four of his five innings.
And there were some loud outs.
Even so, it’s hard to see how Bergman doesn’t get at least one more start because the Mariners don’t expect any of their four injured starters to return until after the upcoming seven-game homestand.
***Valencia perking up: First baseman Danny Valencia continued his recent surge by going 1-for-4 with a double in Friday’s loss. He is batting .365 (19-for-52) in his last 14 games with four homers and 11 RBIs.
His overall slash is up to .246/.317/.430.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners