The marathon of agony finished 3:36 after it started and questions about Brandon Maurer's future in the rotation surfaced after he lasted just 2/3 of an inning Tuesday night in the Mariners' 16-9 loss to hapless Houston.
When asked if Maurer will make his next start, manage Eric Wedge hedged. Wedge said he needs to first find out how Maurer feels Wednesday after the rookie right-hander took a line drive off his right thigh. Maurer said afterward he was fine, at least in regard to that ding. Then Wedge said, "You love his arm, love his stuff, he deserves to be here."
The bigger issue for Maurer is not the bruised hip he will have, rather the bruised ego. He allowed six earned on seven hits in 2/3. Almost everyone in Houston's lineup contributed to knocking around Maurer, causing Wedge to fetch him from the mound before the first inning was over.
"It's not a great feeling," Maurer said.
Wedge said he told Maurer to keep his head up when he pulled him from the game. Maurer said afterward he talked to Felix Hernandez about how to dispatch an outing like this. He also said this was the first time something like this has happened to him.
"I think I'm going to kind of just let this one go," Maurer said.
After an outstanding spring, the Mariners decided to pop Maurer into the rotation though he had never pitched above Double-A. Now, they have a dilemma with him and the back-end of the rotation. It's Felix and Iwakuma and pray ... for anything. The roof blocks the rain.
Maurer entered the game with a 9.00 ERA after his first start. Blake Beavan will start tomorrow's game with the same bloated ERA.
"He was missing some spots and it kind of steam-rolled there on him," Wedge said of Maurer. "It's the big leagues and sometimes it doesn't matter what you do, you're going to be on the south side of it. He's a student of the game, and he'll learn."
Maurer wasn't the only Seattle pitcher brutalized Tuesday night. Reliever Kameron Loe was also hammered. He pitched 2 1/3 and gave up five earned, including three home runs. He's pitched seven innings and allowed six home runs this season.
Loe is supposed to be a sinker-ball pitcher. Last year, he threw 68 1/3 innings and allowed nine home runs. The prior year, he threw 72 innings and allowed four home runs. The most he has allowed in any season is 13 and that came when he threw 136 innings as a starter for Texas in 2007.
The Mariners used four relievers Tuesday night, which may force them to make a move to get through Wednesday night's series finale with the Astros.
"We're talking about that right now," Wedge said.
Some other quick notes:
> Positives? Well, Jason Bay and Raul Ibanez were 2-for-2, each with a homer. The Mariners scored seven runs against the low-end of the Houston bullpen, which featured Paul Clemens making his Major League debut and Hector Ambriz, who had a career 5.35 ERA coming into the game.
> Mike Morse is tied for the Major League lead with six homers after getting his first at Safeco.
> The eight home runs hit at Safeco on Tuesday tied for the third-most hit in the park. Nine home runs have been hit there twice. All the home runs Tuesday had much more to do with pitch location than fence location. There was also no wind.
> Old friend Erik Bedard started for the Astros and looked very much like we have come to expect. Bedard didn't get the win despite a 13-0 lead because he threw only four innings. A starting pitcher has to throw at least five to qualify for a win in a full game. Bedard was not hurt. He just came out after 66 pitches. Amazing.
> Wedge with the proper summary: "These are days you just forget."