For the fourth straight game, Seattle received subpar showing from its starting pitcher – this time it was Kevin Millwood – and simply couldn’t recover the from early inning carnage in a 9-5 loss to the San Diego Padres, Friday at Petco Park.
Like Hector Noesi, like Erasmo Ramirez, like Jason Vargas, Kevin Millwood pitched up in the zone tonight and got hit around.
Millwood lasted just five innings – the last two torturous at-best – giving up eight runs (five earned) on eight hits with three walks (two intentional) and striking out three.
You know it was bad when Padres starting pitcher Clayton Richard ripped a huge two-run double to right in the five-run fourth inning that turned the Mariners 4-2 lead to a 7-4 deficit. Richard added an RBI single the next inning after Wedge had Millwood intentionally walked Nick Hundley with a runner on second to get to Richard.
"Yeah, it’s not something that happens very often," Wedge said. "He got a couple of knocks that hurt us tonight. Obviously, those are the guys – the pitchers – that you want up in that situation, but he really hurt us tonight."
What did Millwood think?
“That’s no fun,” Millwood said. “But you tip your hat. He did what he needed to do.”
Some people were wondering why Wedge didn't pull Millwood in the fourth or before the fifth. Well, Wedge couldn't pitch overworked long reliever Hisashi Iwakuma and also didn't want to pitch Shawn Kelley unless absolutely necessary.
“If we would have pitched Iwakuma, that would have been three out of four days,” Wedge said. “We are still building him up in that role in regards to his frequency of use. We have to be respectful.”
So instead Millwood wore it.
As for positives, it starts with Franklin Gutierrez, who went 4-for-5 with a first-inning two-run homer. That's back to back homers for him, having blasted a pinch-hit homer on Wednesday.
“I lost a lot of playing time, and I told you before, it’s going to take awhile to get back in time,” he said. “Right now, I’m feeling I’m seeing the ball a little better. I’m trying to put a good swing, trying to be calm at the plate. It seems like it’s working right now. Just trying to concentrate every at-bat and do my job.”
Gutierrez is finally healthy. And it's starting to show on the field.
"Right now, I’m not thinking about anything. I’m not thinking about injuries, I’m not thinking about nothing. Just trying to go out there, concentrate for the game, seeing the ball, put up good at-bats. It feels great to be back with my team again playing almost every day. It’s a big relief for me to be here again."
Now it's a matter of getting him built up to play every day. The Mariners aren't going to rush it. But Gutierrez feels he's close.
":Yeah, I think I’m getting to that point," he said. "We talk about it. Obviously, I’m still feeling some soreness and all that kind of stuff. But I’m getting to the point I’m feeling better with my legs, and that’s the most important thing for me. As soon as I feel ready with my legs, I’m going to be ready to play every day.
You get in shape in spring training. Obviously, I didn’t have any spring training. I start playing three or four games in a row, and then a day off to recover my legs. Like I said, I’m getting to a point I’m feeling comfortable now, not getting tired at all. Just waiting to do better and help my team."