In a quest for optimism, that might be the only one on Tuesday night at Angels Stadium.
Then again, maybe it’s not quite as positive as it seems. After all, losing on a walk-off hit to an opponent implies that you have a chance to win the game.
About an inning into Tuesday night’s 12-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, the Mariners victory hopes were slim, and two innings later they were nonexistent.
Seattle starter Aaron Harang had another forgettable outing in a tenure with the Mariners that has seen too many of them.
Harang made it just 32⁄3 innings, giving up seven runs on nine hits with four strikeouts.
He put the Mariners behind immediately in the first inning, giving up an RBI single to Albert Pujols and a two-run homer to the slumping Josh Hamilton, who didn’t look so lost at the plate against Harang.
Down 3-0, the Angels turned the game into a rout in the fourth inning off of Harang. Hamilton led off the inning with a triple and then trotted home as Howie Kendrick followed with a two run homer to right-center. Mike Trout later added a two-out, two-run triple that ended Harang’s outing. Harang gave up a total of five extra base hits in the inning, the most since Jamie Moyer allowed five extra base hits against the Blue Jays in 2006.
The Angels’ two homers give Harang a total of eight home runs allowed in six starts this season.
Of his six outings, Harang has gone six innings just twice and three times worked less than five innings. He’s now 1-5 on the season with an 8.58 earned run average.
The Mariners bullpen has been beaten up in recent weeks and Harang has been a prime culprit for the damage to it.
Could his future in Seattle be fading? The Mariners don’t have a lot of answers in Class AAA though veteran Jeremy Bonderman could slide into Harang’s spot.
Wedge just knows he can’t keep getting sub 5-inning starts from any of his starters.
“We’ll have to talk about that,” Wedge said. “You just can’t keep putting this kind of heat on the bullpen. You want to give everyone ample opportunity, but having said that, we can’t keep doing what we are doing and expect to compete.”
Harang said the stiff back that forced him to miss his previous start in New York wasn’t an issue.
“That might have been the only positive,” he said.
In fact, Harang said he felt solid when he was warming up for the game.
“I felt great, I felt like I could hit all my spots,” Harang said. “You ask any other pitcher and they’ve gone through those same times where they feel great in the bullpen and it just doesn’t translate on the field.”
Down 7-0 after Harang’s exit, things didn’t get any better. Reliever Danny Farquhar gave the Mariners a brief respite from the Angels pummeling — for an inning. But he tired and loaded the bases. Trout unloaded a few runners, lashing a two-run double down the line off of Lucas Luetge to make it 11-0.
Trout capped off his night by ripping a solo home run to complete the cycle — he had an infield single in the third inning.
At the ripe old age of 21, Trout became the youngest player to hit for the cycle since Mel Ott did at age 20 in 1929. The last Angels player to hit for the cycle was Chone Figgins in 2006.
“He’s a special player,” Wedge said. “That last pitch he hit for a home run, he took it off the ground and drove it the other way. He looks stronger. He’s a great athlete. He’s just a young special player.”
The Mariners had just two more hits than Trout on the night and only one extra base hit — a Robert Andino double. Veteran Jerome Williams pitched eight shutout innings, giving up six hits and striking out six. It was his fourth win against Seattle in his career.
“He’s got three or four pitches that really come out of the same arm slot,” said Kyle Seager, who had one of Seattle’s hits. “When you have him locating, he can be tough. He obviously was today.”
Of course, the real question is whether or not that heartbreak in Cleveland — three walk-off losses in a four-game sweep — has somehow damaged the psyche of this team. Tuesday night’s pummeling for the Mariners fifth straight loss certainly didn’t do anything quiet such doubt.
Wedge said after the final loss in Cleveland on Monday that this team wasn’t as susceptible to such an issue. He reiterated it before the game that his team would put the sweep behind them.
“You have to separate from it,” Wedge said. “We’ve always talked about that. You have to wear it for a while but you have to turn the page. When you wake up today, it’s 100 percent Angels. A lot of things happened, a lot of tough things happened, but we will better for it.”
It sure didn’t feel like it when the Angels were continually circling the bases with a crowd of 34,095 cheering them on.
But the Mariners are saying the right things.
“We played pretty well in Cleveland, the record obviously doesn’t show it,” Seager said. “Games like tonight you just have to get past them and get ready for tomorrow. Today was obviously their day. It’s one of the things you learn getting a little bit of experience.”
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