THE FACTS: Listen, as a great man might say, the Mariners are wobbling to the finish in Cactusland. James Paxton took a beating Wednesday from the ChiSox, one day after Felix Hernandez took a beating from the Tribe.
The Mariners, at 11-17-2, have lost seven of their last eight, and nine of their last 11. What’s it mean? Hard to say. Fourteen years ago, the Mariners finished the spring at 13-19-1.
You know what came next, right? That 2001 club didn’t lose its 19th game in the regular season until June 23. By that time, it had 54 victories and a 17 1/2-game lead in the division. (Just saying. That’s not a prediction.)
Paxton needed 31 pitches to get through the first inning, when he gave up two runs on three hits after a leadoff walk. It never got much better. He gave up seven runs and 10 hits in 3 1/3 innings.
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“It wasn’t a very good outing,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He threw a lot of pitches in a little amount of time. I was a little disappointed. We’ve got to get him ready.
“We certainly got the pitch count up. That’s for sure.”
PLAY OF THE GAME: Right fielder Seth Smith, playing for the first time since rolling his right ankle on Saturday, appeared to misjudge Jose Abreu’s one-out fly in the first inning. The ball got over Smith’s head for a double that ignited a two-run inning.
PLUS: Fernando Rodney pitched a scoreless fifth inning. He has yet to allow a run in 7 2/3 innings over seven outings…Austin Jackson was 2-for-3 and is batting .351 (20-for-57)…Yoervis Medina worked around two hits in a scoreless seventh. He has yielded just one run in 12 innings over 11 appearances.
MINUS: Dominic Leone replaced Paxton and, if anything, had a tougher time. He gave up four hits and a walk to the first six hitters faced. McClendon said: “He’s up in the zone. Not very good. Very disappointing outing.”…Charlie Furbush had a second straight rough outing when he gave up two runs and three its in the sixth inning. He has allowed four runs and six hits in his last 1 1/3 innings after a streak of four scoreless outings.
JOB BATTLES: Lefty reliever Tyler Olson was picked by the Peoria Diamond Club as Rookie of the Spring. He has not allowed an earned run in 12 2/3 innings over 10 appearances.
QUOTABLE: “It’s spring training,” Paxton said in shrugging off his poor outing. “A lot of people forget this is Arizona and spring training. These numbers don’t matter.
“All that matters is how you feel and if you’re ready to go for the season. A game like this happens in Seattle, then we’ve got a problem. But right now, I feel good about where I am.”
EXTRA INNINGS: Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma will work on the open date Thursday to stay on schedule for his first regular-season start. Plans call for him to pitch for Triple-A Tacoma against El Paso (Padres) at 7 p.m. on a practice field of the Peoria Sports Complex.
UP NEXT: The Mariners have their final open date prior to the regular season on Thursday before closing their spring schedule with two games against Colorado.
They play the Rockies at 7:05 p.m. Friday at Peoria Stadium and on 12:05 p.m. Saturday at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale.
Lefty J.A. Happ and right-hander Taijuan Walker will start the two games. Colorado plans to start right-hander Jordan Lyles on Friday but hasn’t announced its starter for Saturday.