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Wasted efforts

Stop me if you've heard this before: The Mariners lost to the Padres.

What is it about San Diego? Going back to last year, the Mariners have lost six straight games to the Padres, a rebuilding team with low expectations. The arbitrarily-contrived Interleague rivals have been some form of Kryptonite to the M's since the schedulemakers decided they weren't an every-season rival, just a rotating one. That's only been three years, but even looking as far back as 2012 we see that the Mariners have lost ten of fifteen in San Diego and seventeen of twenty-eight overall.

It defies easy explanation. Yes, Scott Servais is less-than-adept at managing the National League game and ran out lineups in this series that were not well-structured, but that isn't enough to blame the losses on (to his credit, he actually employed a double-switch properly in Tuesday night's game). Yes, the M's are inherently at a disadvantage in any NL park because without the DH they have a bat in the lineup at pitcher that is less experienced than the home club's pitcher and much too thin a bench for NL games, but weird things just happen in San Diego. Like Mallex Smith squeezing his glove around a deep fly ball only to have it squirt out of his hand an over the fence for a two-run homer. Or Felix Hernández pitching a brilliant game and getting absolutely no run support. Oh, wait, that second one isn't weird at all.

The bats went silent against the Padres this week, even when facing unremarkable Padre middle relievers. When there were runners in scoring position, the M's were 2-for-10. Poor lineup construction didn't help them in those RISP situations, but still, 2-for-10. Today the M's mustered just two hits, and neither of them was hit at all hard.

Credit where it's due, San Diego's rookie pitchers threw outstanding games in this series, particularly Chris Paddack, who now has an unreal 0.67 WHIP to go with his terrific 1.67 ERA.The 23-year-old hit his spots, it seemed, every time on his way to a nine-K effort. He was very nearly matched by Hernández, who's only mistake was one fat first-pitch fastball to Ian Kinsler that went for a solo homer; Felix threw outstanding curveballs and changeups over his seven innings (removed for a pinch-hitter in the 8th, otherwise he would have continued) in a very encouraging showcase of what may well be The King 2.0. New Felix, however, apparently gets the same support from the bats that old Felix did.

The losing streak is now at three. Next up is a four-game home series against the overperforming Texas Rangers, themselves riding a three-game losing streak after getting swept by the A's but still a game over .500 in the standings. Marco gets the ball tomorrow. Let's turn this around.

M's vs. Padres, by the numbers

  • Total runs scored: 10 (SEA 3, SD 7)
  • Home runs hit: 4 (SEA 0, SD 4)
  • Bases stolen: 1 (Mallex Smith)
  • Errors committed: 2 (Haniger, Healy)
  • Quality starts: 2 (SEA - Hernández, SD - Paddack)
  • Pitching changes: 9 (SEA 3, SD 6)
  • Starters ERA: 2.55 (SEA 3.55, SD 1.50)
  • Bullpen ERA: 2.16 (SEA 2.70, SD 1.50)
  • Pitcher batting average: .143 (SEA 0-for-4; SD 1-for-3, 1 sac)

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