Mariners Game Recap: The Future Shines Bright Despite 3-1 Loss

Jun 6, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Edwin Diaz (39) throws against the Cleveland Indians during the seventh inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 6, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Edwin Diaz (39) throws against the Cleveland Indians during the seventh inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Mariners were unable to generate much offense tonight during the 3-1 loss to the Indians on Monday night.

The Seattle Mariners couldn’t have been happier to return to Safeco Field after the past week’s disaster back in Texas and San Diego. And to add compliment to recovery, the M’s were relieved to welcome back their everyday shortstop, Ketel Marte. All this overshadowed a James Paxton start that eased the nerves of the Mariners’ fanbase, who were must’ve been shaking in their boots after seeing him give up ten hits and 2 HR in the 14-6 rout in the Padres favor.

Marte stole the show early on, but for all the wrong reasons. On the first ball put in play by the Cleveland Indians leadoff man, Rajai Davis, Marte attempted to backhand a ball just right of second base, but it deflected off the tip of his glove and scooted into shallow center field. The next batter- after Davis stole second- Jason Kipnis hit a dribbler towards the shortstop, and his rust showed again. A stumbling Marte had the ball bounce of his glove once more, as he was trying to regain his footing off a poor jump. This time his mistake was called an error, but the cobwebs needed to be dusted off, and it appeared by the bottom of the third- when he took to the plate for the first time- they had been cleaned off.

The Mariners had narrowly escaped giving up a run in the imperfect first, but in the the next few frames, Paxton settled in retiring eight straight into the fourth and taking down three of the batters via the K. Marte made up for his first inning mistakes when he aggressively went after Cleveland starter, Trevor Bauer’s pitches in the third, eventually knocking a single- the Mariners first hit of the game into the outfield. He continued to impress, successfully stealing second base. Nori Aoki congratulated Marte for his efforts by bringing him home with the team’s second hit of the game. Yet, as the Mariners have done time and time again, they surrendered the lead in the next half inning.

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Carlos Santana started the top of the 4th off with a base knock, but it was his hustle on the double by Jose Ramirez that made the biggest impact in the inning. The ball had been crushed down the left field line by Ramirez and Santana took off; he sprinted, his entirely body visibly flopping around his large frame, and didn’t hesitate as he rounded third. A great relay by Marte seemed sure to beat the rumbling Santana, but the M’s second error- a simple misjudgment on the catch at home plate by Chris Iannetta– meant the runner would be safe, tying the game at one. A sacrifice fly later in the inning would shift the game in the Indians favor, and because of Bauer’s brilliance, it would be for good.

Through the next two-thirds of the game were mostly uneventful, but there were sparks of excitement, once when Davis belted a very high pop just far enough to go over the fence in the fifth, but it was Class AA super-prospect, Edwin Diaz who grabbed the attention of the over 15,000 when he made his major league debut in the top of the seventh.

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Diaz who, since becoming a reliever has pitched masterfully, boasting a 0.00 ERA in his eleven innings of work to go along with the same number of K’s and just three hits given up in Jackson. Diaz dazzled, hitting 100MPH on the radar gun a couple of times. He brought the crowd to their feet when he fanned the first batter he faced in the big leagues, Tyler Naquin. He followed that historic strikeout with a ground-out, getting out of his first career outing unblemished. That excitement didn’t translate to the offense though, as the team failed to score another run, erasing any idea of a comeback.

The 3-1 loss was the Mariners fourth straight- a feat thankfully not achieved by the Mariners since the second week of April. The defeat was the third in four opportunities against the Indians thus far this year, and also the third time they had been held to fewer than two runs. Not a good statistic if you are looking for a turnaround during the rest of the series.

Next: M’s Pitching Themselves Into Limbo

In positive news, Paxton struck out a career-tying ten batters in the loss, Marte’s return was hopeful and Diaz showed that he can handle the big step up from Class AA, meaning this drought may have an end in sight as June unfolds.