Manager Lloyd McClendon is growing increasingly frustrated by the Mariners' weak attack, which managed just four hits Sunday against Dallas Keuchel in a 4-1 loss to Houston.
"I saw average stuff,” McClendon said. “We didn’t swing the bats very good. At some point you’ve got to stop giving credit to average pitchers. That becomes a broken record. At some point, we’ve got to start swinging the bats.”
Keuchel might not be an average pitcher. He is now 6-2 with a 2.55 ERA for a 19-32 club, but the Mariners often-sputtering attack is a problem. They are averaging just 4.10 runs a game, which ranks 11th among the American League's 15 clubs.
That highlights a point that's increasingly obvious: The Mariners need another bat.
Paxton nearing return
Want some good news. All signs point to lefty James Paxton returning to the rotation in the near future...perhaps as soon as this week. He reported no day-after problems Sunday following a rehab start Saturday to test his recovery from a strained back muscle.
It's all part of Christian Caple's notebook that appears in this morning's editions.
Here's the key point:
"I was trying to find my timing (Saturday)," he said. "I feel like it was a good step forward, but still a few things I need to smooth out a little bit. I don’t think it’s a very big jump to where I need to be.”
***Hisashi Iwakuma took the loss on Sunday after yielding a pair of two-run homers in seven innings. It was his loss since Aug. 10, 2010 vs. Milwaukee. In the interim, he went 7-0 with a 1.67 ERA in 12 starts.
***Kyle Seager has one of the four Mariners' hits in Sunday's loss (in three at-bats). He is batting .301 (31-for-100) in his last 27 games. He has six homers and 27 RBIs in that span.
***James Jones went hitless in four at-bats, which ended his hitting streak at 14 games. It had been the longest active streak in the majors.
***Robinson Cano's streak of reaching base at least once ended as a career-best 31 games when he went 0-for-4. He batted .372 (45-for-121) in the streak with 16 runs, 11 extra-base hits and 20 RBIs.
Around the farms
***Triple-A Tacoma lost a 14-12 slugfest to El Paso (Padres). From Mike Curto in The News Tribune.
***Double-A Jackson got a strong start from Cam Hobson and three homers in a 6-1 victory at Jacksonville (Marlins). From the Jackson Sun.
***Hi-A High Desert got two more hist from Gabriel Guerrero, who is batting .335, but lost 10-5 at Bakersfield (Reds) . No story, but here's a box score.
***Lo-A Clinton's bid for a comeback victory fell short when Jack Reinheimer was thrown out at the plate in the ninth inning of a 3-2 loss to Wisconsin (Brewers). From the LumberKings website.