A mightily-challenged offense met a dynamic rookie pitcher named Jeremy Hellickson today, and the Seattle Mariners managed all of four hits in their 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Hellickson was great through seven innings, then gave up a double to Carlos Peguero and was liftred with one out in the eighth. Pinch-hitter Miguel Olivo, batting for Chris Gimenez, homered off reliever Joel Peralta and that was that.
Close, but just another one-run game - and the Mariners are 13-11 in one-run games this season.
Yes, Seattle is still batting .228 as a team, and they have one man regular, Adam Kennedy, batting above .265. That means pitchers like Doug Fister, who had one tough inning and allowed three runs, have almost no margin for error.
Chone Figgins, batting eighth, was booed while going 0-for-3 and is now 1-for-23 on this home stand. His atting average is .184. As much a concern, perhaps, is Ichiro - the right field All-Star who has been batting under .300 on June 5 once in his first 10 seasons, when he was hittin .289 in 2208.
Today, Ichiro will awaken on June 5 with a .261 batting average, having gone hitless in three consecutive games. Clearly, he's off to the worst start of his career.
When Fister allowed three runs in the second inning, the Mariners couldn't muster enough offense to come back - they managed four hits - and Hellickson won his seventh.