It’s been a rough week.
Just six days ago, the Mariners moved to 59-56 by completing a 6-3 road trip with a 6-3 victory at Oakland. They held a one-game lead over Tampa Bay in the race for the American League’s final wild-card spot.
They head into Tuesday night’s game against Baltimore at Safeco Field with a five-game losing streak. At 59-61, they trail the Los Angeles Angels by 2 1/2 games in the race for the final wild-card spot.
The five-game skid matches a season worst. The Mariners also lost five in a row from May 19-24 as part of a dreadful 1-7 skid that saw them score nine runs and concluded with two shutout losses to Boston at Fenway Park.
Manager Scott Servais called it "rock bottom" at the time and said, "The only way to get out of the bottom is to start crawling up."
Are the Mariners there again?
Servais says no.
"This is a different situation than we were in at the end of May over in Boston," he declared. "Obviously, we have not played well the last five games for a number of different reasons…
"We do need to get it turned around here on the mound and keep us in some games. Offensively, it’s tough. You get behind early in the game like (Monday’s 11-3 loss to the Orioles), you've got to keep grinding.
"We haven’t done a ton offensively on this homestand. That certainly needs to pick up for us to get back on the winning track."
Normally, the Mariners would be handing the ball Tuesday to lefty James Paxton, their emerging ace. But Paxton suffered a strained left pectoral muscle in his last start and isn’t likely to return until September.
The Mariners will, instead, hand the ball to lefty Andrew Albers, who was Paxton’s college teammate at Kentucky. They acquired Albers, 31, on Aug. 11 from Atlanta in a cash transaction.
Albers pitched well this season at Triple-A Gwinnett: 12-3 with a 2.61 ERA in 26 games, including 17 starts. But he’s made two starts (last season at Minnesota) in the big leagues since 2013.
***The Mariners must make corresponding roster moves prior in order to add Albers to their 25-man and 40-man rosters prior to the 7:10 p.m. game at Safeco Field.
***The Mariners will see a familiar face Tuesday in Baltimore lefty Wade Miley (6-9 with a 5.19 ERA in 24 starts). The Mariners traded Miley to the Orioles on July 31, 2016 for left-hander Ariel Miranda.
***Miley was 7-8 with a 4.98 ERA in 19 starts last season for the Mariners prior to the trade.
***Monday’s loss dropped the Mariners behind Baltimore (59-60) in the wild-card chase. That means they trail four teams: LA, Minnesota, Kansas City and the Orioles. A loss tonight could drop them behind Tampa Bay and Texas.
***The Orioles turned Monday’s game into a rout by scoring six runs in the second inning. That follows a pattern. The Mariners have been outscored 65-47 this year in the second for a minus-18 differential that makes it their worst inning.
***Nelson Cruz closed the scoring Monday with a homer in the ninth inning. He has five homers in his last six games and nine in his last 14 games.
***When Albers starts, he will be the 37th pitcher and a club-record 55th player used this season by the Mariners.
***The Orioles are 11-6 in their last 17 games.
***The Orioles hit four homers in Monday’s victory. It was an MLB-leading 13th time this season that they’ve hit four or more.
It was five years ago Tuesday — Aug. 15, 2012 — that Felix Hernandez pitched a perfect game in a 1-0 victory over Tampa Bay at Safeco Field.
Hernandez has 12 strikeouts in a 113-pitch performance, including one against Sean Rodriguez to end the game.
The Mariners scored the game’s only run on Jesus Montero’s two-out RBI single in the third inning against Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners