After the Mariners lost to to the Texas Rangers, 6-4, despite out-hitting them - and while giving up two unearned runs - Seattle manager Eric Wedge talked about the team 'not finishing innings.'
What he meant was taking advantage of scoring opportunities, something the Mariners didn't do against the Rangers. Or for that matter, didn't do against anyone in 2010, when leaving men in scoring position became something of an ugly art form.
In Erik Bedard's return to the rotation, he pitched five innings and gave up four hits and three earned runs. An Ichiro dropped fly ball set up two unearned runs.
Errors happen, even to 10-time Gold Glove winners.
What disturbed Wedge was his team leaving runners at third base twice and at second base twice. The runners at second both got their with no one out. And in the fifth inning, Ichiro was at third with one out for Milton Bradley and Jack Cust.
A year ago in May at a game at Safeco Field, the Mariners loaded the bases with no one out. Kirby Arnold, the talented and observant beat writer for the Everett Herald, turned to me and asked "How are they going to not score this time?'
And then they did just that.
Anyone who watched last season saw at-bats, innings and games not finished. The cast has certainly changed since then, from the manager to the batting coach to much of the Mariners lineup, but giving themselves opportunities still isn't quite like ... well ... actually scoring.
"We're not looking for moral victories," Wedge said. "It will come. We'' get better at it."
It would be easier to believe if we hadn't all seen last season. Maybe Wedge can turn it around. Perhaps the Mariners will become a clutch-hitting team. Most of the known world didn't pick Seattle to finish fourth in the American League West without reason - but what would the game be without surprises?