My gosh…the Angels scored seven runs in the ninth inning Sunday in a 10-9 victory over a shellshocked collection of Mariners at Angel Stadium.
The Mariners are 1-6 as they enter Monday’s home opener against Houston at Safeco Field. Three takeaways from Sunday’s fiasco:
***This scar will last: There are losses, bad losses and unimaginable losses. Even the Mariners admitted Sunday that this loss will be tough to shake. Robinson Cano admitted it will be in his head until Monday’s game.
He and the rest of the Mariners will be lucky if it’s only that long.
What Sunday did was raise all sorts of doubts. What lead is big enough?
Manager Scott Servais said: "When you have teams like that down, you’ve got to squash them."
They had the Angels squashed. The Mariners led by six runs in the ninth inning. It wasn't enough.
***Cano breaks out: One of the many numbing aspects of Sunday’s loss is the Mariners wasted a breakout game by Cano, who had struggled through the first six games. He drove in five runs with a three-run homer and a two-run double
The best gauge for success over the last three-plus years is a productive Cano.
The Mariners are 106-56 since Cano’s arrival when he drive in a run. That’s a .654 winning percentage. They are 139-180 (.436) when he doesn’t have an RBI — and he had no RBIs in the season’s first six games.
***Questions about Diaz: The sophomore jinx is a real thing because clubs study opposing players in the offseason. You can bet that other clubs, particularly those in the American League West, put Diaz under a microscope.
When the Angels saw Diaz couldn’t command his slider on Sunday, they simply sat on his fastball. They still couldn’t catch up with it, but they put it in play. Yunel Escobar and Albert Pujols each had two-run hits to the opposite field.
It will be interesting, too, to see whether Diaz can display the short-term memory required of all closers. While Casey Fien created a mess in the ninth inning, the Mariners were still in reasonably good shape when Diaz entered the game.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners