Well, the Seattle Mariners have lost 13 games in a row.
“The first time this season, I’m probably speechless,” said shortstop Brendan Ryan about the streak. “It’s embarrassing. It’s certainly not fun. I don’t know what to say.”
Really, you look at the starting pitcher matchup and you thought this was the Mariners best chance.
You have the reigning Cy Young Award winner - Felix Hernandez - going against a candidate for most Most Overpaid Pitcher in baseball - John Lackey.
But it didn't happen. They lost 7-4 in a game that was at times closer than the score indicates and at other times not close at all.
The Mariners (43-56) can now tie the franchise record for most consecutive losses of 14 on Saturday when they get the luxury of facing all-star right-hander Josh Beckett and counter with Blake Beavan and all of his three big league starts of experience.
How did it go so wrong?
Well they were only down 2-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh. But things went south in a hurry.
With temperatures near 100 degrees at game time and the humidity leaving no shirt dry, Hernandez had made it through the first six innings allowing just two runs – thanks in large part to four double plays.
But when Hernandez really needed a double play ball the most in the seventh, it was simply out of reach like most wins in the last few weeks.
The Sox loaded the bases as Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled to lead off the inning. Jacoby Ellsbury came up with a one-out single and Dustin Pedroia drew a walk to load the bases and bring up Gonzalez, who might be the best hitter in baseball.
Hernandez went to the sinker - the pitch that got him the previous four double plays - in hopes of getting a ground ball to turn another.
“It was a good pitch, sinker down and away,” Hernandez said. “He just hit it up the middle. That’s hard luck. It’s just unbelievable.”
But the ball was hit just enough to get by Hernandez and past shortstop Brendan Ryan and second baseman Dustin Ackley, who were both furiously trying to glove it.
“It was on the other side of the bag,” Ryan said. “I would have had to dive and jump. Those guys just seem to hit those grounders, and you are like, ‘how does that get through?’”
The soft single scored two runs and basically put the Mariners’ victory hopes somewhere to between bleak and impossible with a 4-1 deficit.
Having thrown 117 pitches in sweltering heat, Hernandez was done, having made it 6 1/3 innings and allowing 10 hits. But he left the game disappointed that he couldn’t do what all No. 1 starters and Cy Young Award winners are supposed to do – stop losing streaks.
“That’s what I wanted to today – try to win the game, I didn’t know how, but I wanted to win the game,” he said. “I could have done it. I’m disappointed.”
Things only got worse after Hernandez exited.
Reliever Jeff Gray came in and promptly gave up a double to Kevin Youkilis that scored a run and another run-scoring single to David Ortiz. When the last out was recorded in the seventh, the Mariners were down 7-1 and the game was all but over since they are 3-44 this season when trailing after seven innings.
In the search for positives, Seattle did score a run in the first inning as Ichiro led off with a single, stole second, stole third and then scored on Dustin Ackley’s hard single to right off of Red Sox starter John Lackey.
In the eighth inning, the Mariners took a sizable chunk out of the lead when Mike Carp ripped a 2-2 slider off of lefty reliever Franklin Morales for a three-run homer to right field.
“He’s up there hunting the baseball is what we want all of our guys do,” Wedge said. “He was aggressive on the first swing and aggressive on the second swing and worked his way through the at-bat. I’ve been really impressed with his at-bats since coming back up here.”
Carp was down 0-2 to start with and then didn’t bite on two sliders down and away before Morales hung the third straight slider for his first homer of the season and second of his career.
“I’ve been working really hard on getting better against lefties because I’ve struggled the last two seasons against them,” Carp said. “I’m working on just staying back and taking what they give me.”
But in between the Ackley RBI single and the Carp homer, the Mariners made Lackey – a mediocre and inconsistent pitcher since joining the Red Sox – look like a Cy Young contender. Though that wouldn’t be the first time or the last time Seattle was overwhelmed by the an otherwise underwhelming pitcher. Lackey pitched seven innings, allowing one run on eight hits, with a walk and four strikeouts.
“We didn’t do a very good job with two out RBI situations, we had multiple opportunities throughout the course of the game,” Wedge said.
The Mariners were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and they stranded eight runners. Conversely, the Red Sox – even with the four double plays turned – still were 4-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
“You look at their at-bats, and what they did with guys in scoring position – working counts, getting counts in their favor,” Ryan said. “Double plays aside, they still did things when they had to.”