On a 1-5 trip that follows their seven-game winning streak, the Seattle Mariners hit the low point - they hope - tonight, playing badly enough to lose, 9-2, to the Baltimore Orioles and rookie right-hander Steve Johnson.
Johnson is a command specialist whose father, Dave, won his first major league game 23 years ago to the day. Weird history?
“He was a sneaky 88 mph,” catcher John Jaso said. “We got ourselves out a lot tonight. I know my first at-bat, I struck out. I saw one strike and swung at two balls out of the strike zone. That happens when you try to do too much.”
Defensively, the Mariners handed Baltimore its first three runs with poor plays that weren't errors but should have been outs.
“We’ve been a good defensive club all year but we weren’t one tonight,” manager Eric Wedge said. “Four or five things happened tonight that can’t happen. We’ve got a couple of new guys and we’re seeing what they can do …”
One of those would be right fielder Eric Thames, who chased but dropped a two-out, two-run double in the first inning, then got all tangled up in the right field corner on what was charitably ruled a third inning triple.
Kevin Millwood (4-10) allowed seven earned runs, although they had fingerprints all over them. He didn't pitch particularly well.
“It’s not fun stinking,” Millwood said. “We played well in New York and got beat a couple of times. We didn’t really play well here at all.”
There were offensive fouls up, too - including a bunt back to the mound with the bases loaded and one out from shortstop Munenori Kawasaki. Did Wedge tell him to bunt in that situation? He did not.
“We don’t want that in that situation,” Wedge said. “I told him, ‘Don’t do that!’”
Kyle Seager hit his 13th home run, produced RBI No. 67 and 68. Jesus Montero had two hits. Other than that, the only Mariners highlight was likely Carter Capps.
The rookie right-handed reliever worked two scoreless innings, hitting 100 mph with his fastball and, in the second inning, running out a 91 mph changeup. Yes, 91 mph.
"It doesn't have to be slow to be a changeup, just slower than your fastball," Capps said.
That made his changeup three miles per hour faster than Johnson's fastball. Today, the Mariners have an off day before opening a three-game series in Anaheim.