Start with the obvious. Not much went right Saturday night for the Mariners in absorbing a 16-1 shellacking from the Chicago White Sox at Safeco Field.
Yovani Gallardo gave up 10 runs for the second time in an 11-year career and failed to last four innings. Lefty swingman Dillon Overton wasn’t much better. The Mariners closed the game with infielder Mike Freeman on the mound.
Avisail Garcia paced a thoroughly balanced Chicago attack with four hits, including two homers, and drove in a career-high six runs. Eight different White Sox had multiple hits.
Afterward, Mariners manager Scott Servais pointed out what losing managers usually point out after lopsided losses: "Fortunately, it counts as (only) one loss."
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That’s true, and so is this: Players typically find it much easier — certainly much easier than fans — to shrug off blowout losses. You never had a chance to win. You move on.
The losses that sting are the ones you had a chance to win or, worse yet, the ones you should have won but let get away. Friday’s 2-1 loss to the White Sox in 10 innings was far harder to dismiss than Saturday’s clubbing.
Three takeaways from Saturday’s loss:
***Heston on tap: Servais said the Mariners will start right-hander Chris Heston in Sunday’s series finale after officially recalling him prior to the game from Triple-A Tacoma.
Heston had one rough relief appearance during a brief previous recall when he gave up five runs in two innings on April 25 in a 19-9 loss at Detroit. He is 2-1 with a 3.46 ERA in six starts for the Rainiers.
The Mariners acquired Heston, 29, in a trade last December from San Francisco. He was 12-11 with a 3.95 ERA for the Giants in 2015 but missed much of last season because of a strained oblique muscle.
***Slippage a growing concern: The Mariners (20-24) awaken Sunday occupying last place in the American League West Division after losing seven of their last 10 games.
More alarming: All 10 games were against opponents with losing records.
The schedule turns tougher after Sunday’s series finale against the White Sox: three games at Washington, three games at Boston and four games against Colorado.
The Nationals and Rockies are leading their divisions, and the Mariners have won one series in Boston in the last seven years.
***Valencia’s status: First baseman Danny Valencia wasn’t available Saturday after injuring his hand Friday on a slide at third base. The Mariners don’t believe it’s serious, but they’ll have a better idea Sunday after Valencia is reexamined.
Losing Valencia for any length of time would be another blow to an attack averaging just 2.9 runs over the last 10 games. Valencia has a .316/.388/.539 slash over his last 21 games since reclaiming a starting job after a brief benching.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners