On Wednesday, the Mariners capped off their most difficult road trip of the year: nine games, three contending teams and some brutal starting pitching. Yet the M’s won series against Texas and Oakland and ended up going 5-4 on the trip. That momentum could have easily carried into Friday night, when the M’s took on the lowly Angels with King Felix.
However, in frustratingly typical fashion, the Mariners absolutely laid an egg and looked helpless in a 2-0 defeat. Felix was certainly not his best, but he pitched well enough for his team to win comfortably.
Of course, the Mariners didn’t hit for Felix. He must be getting awfully tired of games like this by now. They managed a mere five hits, and not one of them went for extra bases. They struck out eight times as a team, which actually isn’t horrible, but they made an extremely average if not below average right-handed starter, Garret Richards, looks like a Cy Young Candidate.
Richards hardly out-pitched the actual Cy Young Candidate Felix, but one extra base hit made the difference in the game. The fateful blow came in the second inning, when rookie third baseman Chris Nelson went yard for a two-run blast. That sent Felix into a bit of a tough stretch, but he still pitched admirably, allowing just three hits and the two runs in six innings. He also struck out a stellar 10 hitters while walking just one.
But it didn’t matter, because the Mariners’ offense let that one swing, that one mistake pitch from the King, hold up as the game-winner. Brad Miller had two hits, but outside of him, the offense was anemic. Perhaps Peter Bourjos’ catch against the wall in centerfield to rob Kyle Seager of at least extra bases and an RBI in the first was the writing on the wall for the Mariners.
But with a roster that finally has showed some veteran presence and consistent resilience, catches like Bourjos’ shouldn’t faze them. If this team can go on the road and knock off some of the best squads in the American League, they certainly can provide Felix with three runs on their return trip home. These kind of losses need to stop for the Mariners to claw towards contention in 2014.