The Seattle Mariners (18-13) dropped a 14-1 loss in their series finale against the Texas Rangers on Sunday afternoon at T-Mobile Park.
Here are three takeaways from the loss.
1. ERRORS PILE UP
The Mariners committed four errors in Sunday’s loss — and three led to eventual runs scored.
Shortstop Tim Beckham, who leads the majors with 11 errors this season, overthrew Edwin Encarnacion at first base in the fifth, allowing Elvis Andrus to reach.
Later that inning, left fielder Domingo Santana bobbled a fly ball, allowing Danny Santana to advance all the way to third base on a sacrifice fly.
Both Andrus and Danny Santana eventually scored, giving Texas a 9-1 lead.
“When we’ve made an error, they’ve tacked on runs right behind it,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It’s got that snowball effect right now. It’s something we’ve got to get right, otherwise we’ll be in other games like this. In this league, it’s 27 outs, no more. … You give teams extra outs, and it really comes back to haunt you.”
The Mariners committed two more errors later. Dee Gordon’s in the eighth also led to a run, and center fielder Mallex Smith dropped a fly ball for the second time in as many days to bring the club’s MLB-leading error total to 37.
2. SWANSON STRUGGLES
Rookie right-hander Erik Swanson (0-3, 6.62 ERA), making his third start of the season in place of injured lefty Wade LeBlanc, trudged through four-plus innings, allowing nine runs (six earned) on 11 hits, while striking out two.
He threw just 69 pitches before he was pulled in the fifth, and couldn’t find command of his secondary pitches to play off of the elevated fastball that he used so successfully in his first two starts.
“Both of my secondary pitches — my slider, changeup — I left them too far up in the zone pretty much every time,” Swanson said. “I think I threw one quality slider tonight. I got away from what I’ve been doing a little bit here the last couple outings where I’ve been having success, and paid the price for it.”
Swanson gave up four consecutive hits in the third, including two-run shots to Andrus and Hunter Pence. He allowed four more runs in the fifth, and left with no outs in the frame.
“(Swanson) made a lot of mistakes with off-speed stuff today,” Servais said. “His slider really wasn’t doing much at all, left the ball just kind of spinning at the plate and gave up the home run to Andrus.
“His fastball is his pitch. It’s got to be located in the right spots, and they were on it when he didn’t get it in the right spots. When you make mistakes to a good hitting club with power, they took advantage of it.”
3. SMITH IN A FUNK
Smith continues to work through both offensive and defensive issues he’s struggled with during the past several games.
“You go through bad stretches,” he said. “Things are tough for me right now. … It’s OK. I’ll bounce back. I’ll get up out of here sooner than later.”
Smith hasn’t recorded a hit in his past 24 at-bats. He has gone hitless in the last nine games he’s played in.
“Maybe thinking a little too much but not pressing,” Smith said. “It’s still April. Things happen. If I have a good May, we’ll never even think about this again.”
In his past 15 appearances, he is hitting just 3 for 46 (.065) with 18 strikeouts during that span. His .165 season batting average is the lowest of the Mariners’ active position players.
“He really cares,” Servais said. “He’s a good player. He’s had a track record of doing well in this league. We’re going to do what we can to get him back in a good spot.”
Smith has also recently struggled in the field, missing a pair of fly balls in the past two days. Sunday, he got caught in the sun trying to make a routine catch in center in the ninth, and the ball dropped just in front of his glove.