By John Boyle Herald Writer
SEATTLE — Before Erasmo Ramirez made his 2013 debut with the Mariners, Seattle manager Eric Wedge said the key for the starting pitcher would be his command.
And command was indeed crucial for Ramirez, just not in the way Wedge had hoped.
Ramirez, who appeared to be settling down after a giving up a leadoff home run, lost control in the fourth and fifth innings when he walked two batters and hit one, opening the door for the Red Sox to score six runs in those two innings on their way to an eventual 8-7 victory.
Ramirez, who lasted just 42/3 innings, walked four, gave up six hits and seven earned runs, hardly the performance the Mariners were looking for after having their previous two starters get battered by Red Sox hitters in losses.
“He just didn’t have the command that he needed to have,” Wedge said. “That’s a big part of his game, and when you walk four guys and hit a guy in less than five innings, you can’t do that against any team much less a real good hitting team like the Red Sox. He just made it a lot more difficult for himself and for us in general.”
And Wedge wasn’t willing to let rust be an excuse for Ramirez, who had made seven starts in Class AAA Tacoma after coming back from an elbow injury suffered during spring training.
“He’s pitched enough,” Wedge said. “He’s had quite a few starts down there. It’s his first start up here, so you have to take that into consideration, but he’s been up here before. He’s got to pitch to his strengths, and a big part of his strengths is command of the baseball and using all of his pitches and executing pitches.”
Ramirez, who was expected to be a part of Seattle’s rotation to start the season before suffering the injury, said his arm feels fine, but that he just didn’t execute his pitches. The seven earned runs Ramirez allowed were a career high in 17 appearances and nine starts, and the four walks tied a career high.
“I was trying to make quality pitches, but I didn’t and they made me pay for that,” he said. “I just have to work on my mistakes and try to be better the next time … I had a bad game. I just have to work and come back and do my best.”
Reliever Carter Capps was sent to Tacoma Thursday to make room on the roster for Ramirez, and also to try to work out his mechanics after some recent struggles.
“He only has like 68, 69 innings in the minor leagues,” Wedge said. “This guy got here so quick, and I think he learned a great deal. There are a couple of things mechanically we want him to work on, so it’s the right thing for him to go down right now and work on some things. It’s tough to come up here and work and try to make adjustments and compete at the same time.”
When Kyle Seager homered in the second inning Thursday, it gave the Mariners a home run in 19 straight games, tying a team record set in Sept. of 1999. It is also the longest streak in Major League Baseball this season, and the longest since Toronto had homers in 19 straight games in 2010. The record is 27 straight games, set by Texas in 2002.
Catcher Mike Zunino took a foul ball off of the inside of his knee and appeared to be in considerable pain, but he stayed in the game, and said after that he was feeling fine.
“I got it right on the inside of the knee,” he said. “Just one of those things where it locked up … I just threw some ice on it and I feel a lot better now.”
Endy Chavez left the game in the fourth inning after injuring his groin beating out the throw on a bunt. Wedge indicated that he didn’t believe the injury was serious. Nick Franklin was held out of the lineup Thursday after being pulled from Wednesday’s game with quad stiffness that was related to the knee injury he suffered the previous week. Wedge said he expects Franklin will be able to return to the lineup today.
Jeremy Bonderman, who was designated for assignment Monday, is now a free agent. The Mariners outrighted his contract to the minors and he declined the assignment, opting instead for free agency … Kyle Seager has now hit in 11 straight games, and is hitting .442 over that span. This is his third hitting streak of 10 or more games this season … Rookie Brad Miller went 8-for-18 against the Red Sox this week with three doubles, six RBI and two walks.