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California Scars

On the heels of an embarrassing sweep at the hands of the Angels down in Orange County, the Mariners were pasted good in a two-game set in the East Bay. The Oakland A's outscored the M's 19-4 in the two games, making the umpiring problem in Tuesday night's contest nothing but a footnote.

Marco Gonzales was pitching well Tuesday, navigating inconsistent ball-and-strike calls to hold the A's to two runs with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning. At that point, facing Oakland shortstop Marcus Semien and with a score of 2-1 A's, Gonzales dropped a 3-2 cut-fastball in above the knees and crossing a good third of home plate. Home-plate umpire Brian O'Nora called ball four, not only extending the inning on an egregious miscall but justifiably frustrating Gonzales. Matt Chapman followed with a home run. Matt Olson followed him with a home run. It was maddening. The outrage was tempered shortly thereafter when O'Nora took himself out of the game during the inning break; he had been suffering some pain and loss of focus from being hit in the head by Domingo Santana's bat on a swing-and-miss back in the third inning. O'Nora had tried to soldier on, but perhaps blowing the crucial not-strike-three call on Semien convinced him he was unable to continue in the game and he left the field. The remaining three umpires handled the rest of the game and there were no further issues, and of course there is plenty of sympathy for O'Nora having been clocked in the head. Nevertheless, Gonzales' ERA now factors in three runs that should be unearned, if not non-existent.

Marco may have been tagged with his first loss against Oakland anyway, as the Seattle bats remained as impotent in northern California as they were in the Southland. The M's would get one more run in the ninth on Omar Narváez's second solo homer of the night, but far too little far too late. Relievers Matt Wiser and the newly-reinstated Sam Tuivailala combined to allow three more Oakland runs by then and the game was well out of reach.

Wednesday afternoon's tilt seemed destined for more failure when Erik Swanson, inexplicably recalled to Seattle after a stint in Tacoma that saw him post a 6.98 ERA over 1913 innings and be moved out of the starting rotation, was named that game's "opener." Oddly, Swanson wasn't bad—as we've previously noted, Swanson's best shot at success seems to be in the role of a short reliever, as once batters have seen him once they have a tendency to clobber him, and here he was used for two innings only and escaped allowing just two runs. Yes, that makes for a 9.00 ERA and is, you know, not good, but really there was only one hard-hit ball (it just went over the fence is all). No, this time it was Tommy Milone who didn't have it; Milone allowed three more A's home runs to score five, and Matt Festa would serve up two more bombs in the eighth to cap the carnage.

The Mariners have another day off before opening their next homestand on Friday against the Angels. Again. (Sick and tired of the Angels? Me, too, but this will be it for the season. No more Halos after Sunday.) Counting the All-Star break, this will be seven off days since July 1st, and they don't seem to be doing the M's any good.


Mariners vs. A's, by the numbers

  • Total runs scored: 23 (SEA 4, OAK 19)
  • Home runs hit: 10 (SEA 2, OAK 8)
  • Bases stolen/attempts: 2/2 (SEA 1 - Smith; OAK 1)
  • Errors committed: 1 (SEA 1 - Gordon)
  • Quality starts: 2 (OAK 2 - Mengden, Bailey)
  • Pitching changes: 10 (SEA 5, OAK 5)
  • Starters ERA (includes “openers”): 4.71 (SEA 9.00, OAK 0.23)
  • Bullpen ERA (includes “headliners”): 8.31 (SEA 12.38, OAK 1.80)
  • Runners left on base: 18 (SEA 11, OAK 7)


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