Jeremy Bonderman just flat-out didn’t have it Sunday and paid a huge price.
The Chicago Cubs unleashed a doubles barrage against Bonderman, with four in the second inning alone, and another in the fourth inning before he was finally yanked. In the end, the four earned runs he allowed – two more were unearned – equaled the number he’d yielded in his last four starts combined.
“I just never really got anything going,” Bonderman said. “It was a battle all day and it definitely wasn’t how I anticipated the outing going. No excuses. I sucked.”
As good as Bonderman’s totals had been – he was 1-0 with an earned-run average of 1.42 in the four starts since his debut at Minnesota – his peripheral totals raise some red flags. For one, he has struck out just 12 of the last 143 batters he’s faced, meaning he relies on some luck when hitters do make their frequent contact with his pitches.
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There was little luck to be found Sunday. Third baseman Kyle Seager didn’t help in the second inning, when he let a routine grounder through the wickets to cost a pair of additional runs.
But the Cubs also squared up on balls from the get-go as Bonderman could not command his pitches.
“I just didn’t execute,” he said.
“The bottom line is, you’ve got to execute pitches, and location is key to everything. When you’re missing, guys can put good swings on balls like they did.”
Thames traded to Baltimore
Another outfielder that didn’t work out has been dealt away by the Mariners as they continue to revamp their rebuilding plan.
Just 11 months ago, the Mariners acquired outfielder Eric Thames from the Toronto Blue Jays for relief pitcher Steve Delabar. Sunday, the Mariners shipped Thames, 26, to the Baltimore Orioles for minor-league infielder Ty Kelly.
Thames joins a growing list of failed Seattle outfield projects and prospects – including Trayvon Robinson, Casper Wells, Mike Carp, Alex Liddi and Francisco Martinez – to have been traded away or released since the end of last season.
Thames played in 40 games for the Mariners last season, batting .220 with an on-base-plus-slugging percentage (OPS) of .695 and underwhelming with his defense.
Kelly, 24, plays third base, second base and some outfield and will report to AAA Tacoma. He had been playing in Class AA in the Orioles’ system, hitting .283 with an OPS of .771, one home run, 21 doubles and two triples.
• When Joe Saunders flied out to end Saturday’s game, he became the first Mariners pitcher in 23 years to have an at-bat in a non-National League city game. Mike Schooler had an at-bat in the 13th inning of a game at Boston on Aug. 11, 1990. Saunders is the fourth Mariners pitcher to bat in a game played under AL rules.
• All 10 of Jason Bay’s homers this season have been solo shots.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @gbakermariners. Read his daily blog at www.seattletimes.com/Mariners.